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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a "preserved" post?


The pressure preserving process forces chemical preservatives into the wood cells in an enclosed cylinder. The preservative provides protection from decay and insects. Marks-Miller chemically preserves its products to American Wood Protection Assocation (AWPA) specifications. AWPA is the agency that sets the quality standards that are used in the preserving industry. 

What is sapwood?

Sapwood is the living outer portion of a tree. The heartwood is the dead inner wood. In some species of wood the distinction between sapwood and heartwood is obvious. But in most species it is necessary to use a solution of heartwood/sapwood indicator to make this determination ( see picture below).


Sapwood is the preservable portion of the wood because the cell structure of the live wood makes it susceptible to the migration of the preservative. Although the heartwood cannot be preserved, it is naturally resistant to decay.








Cutaway of post treatment

On the left is an unpreserved post

On the right is a properly preserved post.

The heartwood is in the center.

Is preserved wood safe?


preserving is accomplished in an enclosed, heated containment facility that conforms to all State and Federal regulations. Dry wood is placed in a metal cylinder, sealed shut and then run through a series of vacuum and pressure cycles. The wood preserving chemicals are ultimately pushed deep into the wood to provide a product that conforms to American Wood Protection Association guide lines. 


The preserved wood is then removed from the cylinder and placed in a contained, impervious heated area called a drip pad until fixation occurs. Fixation is a complex series of chemical reactions where the preservative becomes locked to the wood fibers in a highly insoluble state. With completion of this process, our customers are assured of a product that is durable, safe to handle when following Consumer Safety Information Sheet guidlines and will not harm the environment.


Do preserved posts look good?


Wood posts can offer an aesthetically pleasing finished product. High quality, properly preserved round-wood posts and poles should be clean, free of bark, smooth, and straight. preserved wood appears green / tan but can still be stained or finished.


Are they consistently sized?


All of Marks-Millers posts are sized correctly. If you are purchasing 4" posts, all the posts will measure 4" or larger on the small end. This applies to all our sizes of posts and rails.


What is the lifespan of your product?


The lifespan of a properly preserved round-wood post/rail can increase by tenfold over an unpreserved product. An unpreserved post can rot in three to seven years depending on soil conditions and climate. A properly preserved version of the same post can last over 35 years.


This reduces your total cost on materials, installation and replacement  work - over time. This also conserves our valuable timber resources. When properly preserved, your fence will see decades of use instead of just a few years for unpreserved product. 


How strong is a wood post opposed to a metal post?


A force of 63 pounds applied 48 inches above the ground line will cause steel posts to fail, but it takes at least 225-250 pounds to cause the failure of a 2 1/2" wood post. The strength increases exponentially as the diameter of the wood post increases.





































































How easy is it to install a preserved wood post?


Properly manufactured posts are straight, have minimal taper and are easy to use. Wood posts can be installed using a tractor-mounted post pounder, auger, or by hand digging a hole. Soil conditions and terrain determine the difficulty or ease of installation. If the ground proves to rocky or hard you can install a jack-leg fence


How well do wood posts stay in the ground?


Wood posts stay in the ground better than steel because they have more surface area in contact with the soil. Steel posts do not hold as well as wood posts in wet or sandy conditions. 


Will preserved posts require maintenance?


Preserved posts require very little maintenance. They will age over time but structurally they are still sound. You do not need to worry about bugs, fungi, and they will not rot away like unpreserved posts.


Will I like the look of my preserved fence?


Properly manufactured and preserved posts look good and enhance the natural beauty of the landscape. They blend into the surroundings and look natural. There are many different styles of fencing that you may like. You can use that preferred style to make your ranch or pasture look great. 


Why should I buy Marks-Miller Post & Pole products?


 When purchasing materials for your fencing there are several factors to consider - 


               Is the product preserved properly so you will get long service life?


               Are you getting the size that you are paying for?


               Is it straight, uniform and peeled smooth so it will be easy to use?


               Will your finished project be functional and look good?


Marks-Miller has built a reputation over the 38 years we have been in business that assures you that all of these concerns have been properly addressed and that the quality of our products is second to none. Our customers will attest to this and they are our best advertisment. 




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