Post-layup protection of mass timber elements in above ground protected exposures: 2-year results
M E Mankowski, T G Shelton, G T Kirker, J J Morrell
Mass timber has seen increased use as a building material for low and mid-rise construction in recent decades. The durability of mass timber elements has not been fully examined and the effects of wood destroying organisms on this these materials merits attention. The effectiveness of currently labeled soil termiticides and passively applied biocides at post-construction or as remedial agents needs to be evaluated for mass timber used in structures, particularly in areas with elevated risk of termite attack. The ability of soil insecticidal drenches or spray-on insecticide/fungicide treatments for protecting mass timber in service was assessed with a modified AWPA Standard E21 above-ground test using three ply Douglas-fir or southern pine cross-laminated timber as well as Douglas-fir mass plywood panels. Samples of each material (305 x 102 x 102 mm) were installed in an above ground protected test at the Harrison Experimental Forest (HEF) (Saucier, Mississippi) in September, 2019. Six replicates of five treatments including soil termiticide, no treatment, spray-on borate at initiation, borate rods and remedial treatment, using spray on borate of attacked material after two years, were tested. Samples were left undisturbed for two years and then examined and rated. Near surface moisture content increased to levels approaching the fiber saturation point over the two-year non-disturbance period. Untreated control samples were attacked by both decay fungi and termites. Samples treated with borates at test initiation showed limited decay or termite attack. Soil termiticide treated plots showed no sign of termite attack, but some samples had heavy decay compared to non-soil termiticide treated plots.
Keywords: cross laminated timber, mass panel plywood, AWPA Standard E21, above-ground testing, soil termiticide, borate, field test, durability, decay, termite