Wood Fire Treatments:  Pressure Treated vs Topically Applied

Posted on: February 24, 2023

Wood Fire Treatments:  Pressure Treated vs Topically Applied

Natural wood is a beautiful and versatile building material that has been used in construction for centuries. However, its flammability makes it vulnerable to fire damage, which can be devastating. To mitigate the risks associated with using natural wood in construction (and on exterior applications), there are two approaches to fire protection that are available: pressure-treated fire treatment and topical fire treatment. This article will discuss the differences between these two treatments, their benefits, and their compliance with Class A Fire Rating and Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) regulations.

Benefits of Utilizing a Fire Treatment

As already mentioned, natural wood has been used as a building material for centuries. However, with the increasing concerns of wildfires threatening properties, some have chosen to use alternative building materials that are manufactured for fire resistance.

Some even try to look like wood.

However, although these materials try to appear like the real deal, they can’t replicate an authentic wood product’s natural warmth and beauty.

Now, with the development and use of these cutting-edge fire retardants, you can utilize wood and have the confidence your project is protected the next time fire is threatening.

Additional benefits include:

  1. Code compliance. In many jurisdictions, fire treatments are required by building codes for certain types of construction. Compliance with Class A Fire Rating and WUI regulations can help ensure the safety of the building and its occupants.
  2. Durability. Pressure-treated fire treatment provides long-lasting protection against decay.

Why Is The Treatment’s Fire Rating Important?

The rating of the fire-retardant solution you decide to use reflects its effectiveness against flame spread and smoke development. The higher the rating in each of these categories the more protective the material is in a fire event so long as the materials are installed in accordance with the International Build Code.

A specific fire rating or designation may be required in some jurisdictions. In that case, you want to ensure the fire solution you choose on meets the requirements for your area. Consulting with local fire code officials is the best practice to ensure compliance and to make sure your structure is safe.

What Are The Fire Rating Classifications?

The following is a basic overview of the fire rating classifications. The index values measure how fast and how far flame will spread over a certain material.

Class 1 (or Class A) Fire Rating

A “Class A” or “Class 1” fire rating is a material’s best fire rating. Materials with this rating do not burn well and have a flame spread index of 0-25.

Class 2 (or Class B) Fire Rating

A “Class B” or “Class 2” fire rating is a material’s second-best rating. The flame spread index of materials with this class rating fall between 26-75.

Class 3 (or Class C) Fire Rating

A “Class C” or “Class 3” fire rating is the third best rating a material can achieve. The flame spread index of materials with this class rating fall between 76-200.

Note: The above rating classifications are established through specific testing processes established by the American Society of Testing and Materials. The ASTM E-84 is the standard test method for assessing the surface burning characteristics of building products to explore how the material might contribute to flame spread in the event of a fire. The test reports the tested product’s Flame Spread index and Smoke Developed index.

Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Compliance and Standards

In specific areas under higher than normal threats from wildfires, materials and the application of fire retardant chemicals that meet WUI standards may be required.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, “The WUI is the zone of transition between unoccupied land and human development. It is the line, area or zone where structures and other human development meet or intermingle with undeveloped wildland or vegetative fuels.

To achieve both a Class A rating and meet WUI standards, a material must be ignition resistant. Having the ability to resist ignition from flying embers or fire radiation during a wildfire.

california mountain home - wildland urban interface (WUI) compliance area - montana timber products

Pressure-Treated Fire Resistance Treatment

The process of applying a pressure-treated fire treatment involves placing the wood in a vessel, then injecting the chemical preservative under high pressure. This process forces the chemical deep into the wood fibers, providing long-lasting protection against decay, insects, and fire.

The result?

A highly durable and fire-resistant material that can be used in a variety of construction applications.

Materials armed with pressure-applied fire treatment are an ideal choice for applications that require either Class A fire rating compliance, or Class A fire rating in combination with Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) compliance requirements.

For instance, the products we offer (in combination with our Fireline treatment) have been a popular solution to meet these requirement needs.

Is “Pressure-Treated” the Same as Fire-Treated?

Note, the use of pressure is a part of this fire retardant application process; but, “pressure-treating” wood doesn’t necessarily make it a non-combustible material. For instance, the “pressure-treated” wood at your local lumber yard might have a higher resistance to rot and decay; but, it doesn’t mean it was additionally treated for fire resistance.

Topical Fire Treatment

Topical (or spray-applied) fire treatment involves the application of a fire-retardant chemical to the surface of the wood. This chemical creates a barrier that prevents the wood from catching fire. Topical fire treatment is generally less expensive than the pressure-treated alternative.

The topical treatments are applied to the surface of the wood after it has been milled; but, before it has been finished and installed.  

Some topical treatments carry a Class A Fire rating and are accepted in wildfire-prone areas of the country. 

For instance, the spray-applied fire resistant treatment that we offer carries a Class A rating, is environmentally friendly, and is applied by our in-house production team.

Ultimately, the local authority having jurisdiction mandates code compliance pertaining to fire resistant building materials and what is required in your building area.

wood fire resistance testing - wood fire treatments - montana timber products

Will Fire Treatments Affect The Look Of Our Wood Siding?

As a result of the treatment process, we do see a slight finish variation after it has received the pressurized fire treatment.

How noticeable?

Maybe a shade or two darker when finished as compared to the material of the same product line and finished color that wasn’t treated.

Our spray-applied treatment can have a very subtle color change when combined with some of our stains. With that in mind, control samples may be needed.

This is great for areas where only Class A is required; however, if WUI compliance is required in your area, the pressure-applied solution is your only option.

Which Fire Retardant Solution is Best For You?

Choosing the best fire retardant-treated wood solution for you and your project depends on a few factors.

  1. Your budget. Pressure-treated fire retardant is more expensive than the spray-applied option.
  2. Your location. A fire retardant with a Class A rating is the only requirement in some areas. WUI compliance (in addition to a Class A rating) is required in other areas. You need to confirm with the authority with jurisdiction in your building zone.
  3. Your timeline. When it comes to fire protection treatments that we provide, we apply the spray-applied protection in-house whereas pressure-treated is completed in another facility. So, ordering material with our Fireline treatment will affect your lead time.

While eliminating wildfires is not possible, there are viable options, while still using a renewable product like natural wood to help protect your property. Home hardening, which includes implementing fire-resistant exteriors and defensible spaces around structures, is a great first plan of action.

Constructing With the Many Different Types of Timbers

Posted on: November 30, 2022

Constructing With the Many Different Types of Timbers

Here at Montana Timber Products, we fabricate and pre-finish a broad range of timber-frame materials for our clients.  The appeal of our process is delivering handsome heavy framing materials to you without any onsite staining required.  We custom mill and factory pre-finish all products, so they are ready for installation (after acclimating) at your jobsite.

Timber construction has its own unique glossary of terms and definitions, that many folks have not come across.  For those that have admired a beautifully crafted home with timber components and are interested in better understanding this type of construction we have compiled a list of terms below.

Timber: A squared off length of wood that is used structurally.
Post: The primary vertical timbers.
Beam: The primary horizontal support timbers.
Rafters: Series of timbers that are used to support roofs.
Brace: A diagonal piece of timber used to support beams.
Joist: Horizontal timbers used to support floors and ceilings.
Gable: The triangular upper part of a wall that connects to a pitched roof.
Purlin: A horizontal roof beam that supports rafters and spans the distance between gable ends.
Chord: The bottom horizontal timber in a truss.
Corbel: A bracket that projects from a wall to support a structure above it.
Mortise:  A notch, hole, or cut in a piece of wood into which a tenon is fit to join two timbers together. This is the female part of a joint.
Tenon: The cut end of a timber that fits into a mortise to join two pieces of timber together. This is the male part of a joint.
Collar Tie: A horizontal beam between roof rafters that reduces spreading or sagging of the rafters.
Glulam: Layers of 1 or 1-1/2 inch boards that are glued together to form a beam.
Truss: An assembly of wood members used to create a rigid structure.
King Post: A truss with a center vertical beam with an angled support beam on each side of the vertical beam.
Queen Post: A truss with two vertical beams that each have an outer angled support beam.
Joinery: Two or more timbers that are connected. The combined components of a timber frame.
Rough Sawn: Timber that has not been sanded or textured but is used as originally cut.

All Montana Timber Products timbers are hand-crafted to meet your specific needs.  We’ve got you covered whether you are looking for 4×4 posts, wide-span glulam beams, or fully prefabricated decorative truss packages.   You can view more examples of our timbers in the links below.

AquaFir™ Timbers Catalog – (montanatimberproducts.com)

ranchwood™ Timbers Catalog – (montanatimberproducts.com)

To get a quote or more information call 406-215-4961 or fill out the contact form at:  http://www.montanatimberproducts.com/contact/



How to Pick the Top Exterior and Siding Contractors on Houzz.com

Posted on: June 30, 2020

How to Pick the Top Exterior and Siding Contractors on Houzz.com

Ranchwood™ house

Ranchwood™ brings a timeless, rustic character to homes. Varied wood grains in each board are accentuated by proprietary finishing processes. “The result is as unique as one’s own fingerprint.”

Research Your Dream Home on Houzz.com

Just as it is common sense to do due diligence when buying a car before appearing in front of a hungry salesman, the same could be said for exterior siding and remodeling if a customer would rather avoid buyers’ remorse.

Doing research makes a huge difference. Call a contractor without a plan, and what a customer wants versus what is delivered is often a vast divide; not because a good contractor won’t have a catalogue worth of ideas, but rather the reasons listed out below.

Time for Remodeling

Anytime a family or business starts a project on the home or place of business, there’s a considerable amount of preparation that should occur. Exterior siding and trim projects might take several weeks to complete, and that could mean living in a hotel, or shutting down operations for a while. From a contractor’s point of view, timing is a huge deal when planning workforce allocations among their different projects. One of the first questions to ask a contractor should be “when could they start” (if offered) and “how long the remodel will take.”


Decide What Materials To Use on the Exterior and Siding:

The difference between various sidings might be substantial not just in price, but also availability, how long it will last,…and then, there’s the aesthetic.

Standard siding such as vinyl or hardie is differently priced from say ranchwood™, AquaFir™, Charwood™, and Corral Board. If a customer is on Houzz, chances are the “look” of the house is one of the first considerations, followed by value, and 3rd, whether it fits in the budget.

During the budgeting process it’s important to note that most projects do go over in cost before all is said and done. Even if it’s expected that the plan will proceed perfectly, prepare to put in at least a 5% buffer over the estimated cost for unexpected contingencies. Factor these extra costs in both building materials and contractor estimates.


ranchwood™ 2×12 Tackroom Channel Rustic with Chinking (horizontal), 1×6

Filter by Location

Special deliveries of materials such as Montana Timber Products, or “travel charges” incurred for bringing in remote contractor work needs to be factored into the equation. Proximity is important, but it’s not everything…some companies like “Montana Timber Products” can both deliver and service anywhere in the US, and even have projects as far as Western Europe.

Reviews and Stars

Top contractors, like restaurants, understand the need for positive reviews. This is how customers often make their final decisions between 2-3 services, and bury the rest. There’s a lot of places to leave reviews online, so it might be helpful to check google and facebook reviews. However, remember most contractors are not digital experts, so a good reference can stand in, especially when there are limited reviews to go by. The best contractors leave positive impressions in both quality and value for the client’s investment.

Pictures of Finished Work:

While not a deal breaker, it’s not unreasonable to ask a contractor for real examples of finished work. Whether a consumer wishes to see completed projects showing the most popular sidings like those made from reclaimed wood such as barnwood, or perhaps something more contemporary, all established contractors should have photos of prior work easily accessible. Sometimes one man shops do offer discounts, but don’t be surprised when other corners are cut (see below in “choosing a contractor”).

AquaFir™ Charcoal color cedar 1×6 vertical shiplap (circle sawn texture), 1×8 horizontal shiplap (wire brush)

Choosing a Contractor:

ranchwood™ Tackroom reverse board and batten 1×12, 1×6 with 2×8 and 2×10 trim.

Any contractor needs to have a physical address. Period. After work has started, a customer needs to be able to locate a contractor to follow up on both completed projects and work in progress. Don’t forget to have (in hand) a physical contract signed before work starts. If something goes wrong like a misunderstanding on the scope or duration of the project, a signed contract will be invaluable.

Exclusions in the contract will help protect a customer and contractor from a job expanding and in turn costing more to complete, while warranties (sometimes a lifetime for siding) will ensure the work is done properly.

Finally, licenses, certifications, and insurance are a must. Licenses can be gained in some cities just by paying a fee, but it also shows, at least in a small way, an effort was made to be compliant. Insurance protects both parties from an accident on a customer’s property, potentially damaging structures, cosmetic appearance, or even a life.

If a house was built pre-1978, a contractor will need to be certified in lead safe practices by the EPA.

Multiple Quotes from Different Contractors:

Even if a home/business owner wants a proprietary or artisanal wood, it’s best to shop around for the contractor. Price is only a small piece of the puzzle. There are certain costs that can be hidden by contractors, and without research in hand–a lot of cloistered study from their inside catalogues may leave a customer open to more than they budgeted for, and feeling somewhat committed to signing because of the “design help” they just received.

Bottom line, check out multiple contractors on Houzz.com; look at their work and qualifications, call to get a quote, and know the right questions to ask before signing anything.

According to wikipedia.com: “As of August 2015, there were more than 7 million high-quality photos of interiors, exteriors and gardens. Houzz now has more than 17 million home photos on its platform”

Decks and Rails: Do you prefer Rustic or Modern?

Posted on: May 10, 2018

Decks and Rails: Do you prefer Rustic or Modern?

Spring is a good time to refresh the exterior of your home.  Refreshing or upgrading railing and decking can make everything look new or even change the exterior elevation of the home.  When deciding on what look you want to achieve for your outdoor refuge, think about what style you want:  modern, contemporary, country, or rustic look.  Outdoor space can be an extension of your home, make that space cozy and visually interesting to complement your home and style.   

When selecting the wood for your project, keep in mind Ranchwood™, gives a rustic look in more natural colors and AquaFir™, gives more of a modern/contemporary look with color choices for a vibrant appearance.  Both products offer many textures to complete a beautiful design and even compliment the homes siding/trim.  Mixing color choices can add a twist to a simple design and bring visual complexity to the deck and railing with no added work, all the products come prefinished.   Adding outdoor living space can also make the home look and feel larger all while being aesthetically pleasing.

Ranchwood Eastern circle sawn product brings the rustic look to the contemporary design using the horizontal railing slats.  The sturdy horizontal pieces make for a nice modern country look, while giving plenty of air flow and light to the space all while allowing for privacy.  This is a very economical way to build over a day light basement and also insures safety.


2×6 decking material is No.2 grade or better quality which minimizes knots and provide structural integrity.  The ranchwood and aquafir products provide durability and strength from either Douglas Fir or Cedar allowing for the balance needed to build a budget friendly deck with characteristics to compliment the home.

This traditional barn added some flair with a balcony off the living quarters to extend living space.  The railing is traditional vertical slats to stay in the rustic style of the barn.  Using Ranchwood in Tackroom color to create a rugged well-built extended living space.  The 2×6 decking was prefinished on both the top and bottom to meet the customer’s needs.  Ranchwood is an economical solution instead of using reclaimed barn wood for many projects while still achieving the weathered appearance..

This mixed material railing keeps the rustic look, but allows for some additional texture to compliment the wood by using metal mesh.  This combination compliments the building and allows light through, keeps the view unobstructed, but the space is also enclosed for safety.  Using wood balusters in a darker color than the siding keeps within the barn style for a natural look and the mesh just allows for some creativity in the finished design.


Whenever a project is being planned out having the peace of mind that all the wood is protected with a No VOCs, eco-friendly, water based formula of Seal Once, you know family, animals and the environment are not impacted by the project.   All of our wood comes prefinished to preserve the natural beauty and long lasting waterproofing.  Prefinished wood also allows for completing the project faster, no waiting on stains or paints to dry.  Leaving more time to enjoy using the deck.


Wood Fences from Rustic to Modern make a good neighbor

Posted on: April 27, 2018

Wood Fences from Rustic to Modern make a good neighbor

Spring can be a great time to find inspiration for making changes to your property.  Natural wood products bring a warm look to anyone’s home.  Various applications can change how you feel about your property or spruce it up to sell.

Fencing can tie together the entire home package, Robert Frost said “Good fences make good neighbors”.  Fencing is part of the landscaping, it can add character and something of interest as well as function to every home.  A well designed fence can add texture, interesting patterns and enable a home owner to have a sense of security and privacy from a fence all while enhancing the homes curb appeal.  Wood fencing can allow you to be creative with spacing, heights, board widths, color, and even mix with stone or other natural materials.

Corral Board products are recycled repurposed wood, giving a rustic look for any home.  We’ve been building with wood for over 10,000 years, recycling wood for projects like fencing is the perfect way to incorporate something old into something new.

Charwood™  is a Japanese style charred wood called Shou-Sugi-Ban.  This can give a modern contemporary look to create a beautiful fence that morphs into art.  Mixing the wood with rock creates texture and interest to the landscape. The 1×6 shiplap board creates the perfect interlocking pieces for a clean look.


Creating a privacy fence was not a challenge for this beautiful Sun Valley, Idaho hotel.  Making the space functional, yet cohesive with the hotel design allowed the builder to use a mixture of stone, steel and Ranchwood.  The channel rustic profile on the gates helped refine the look and keep it fully enclosed and sturdy.

Wood has always been valued for its beauty, practicality and value proposition.  Investing in the right fence for you will increase property value and allow you to enjoy your home to its fullest.  All materials are pre-finished and come ready to install.  Montana Timber Products feature Seal-Once allowing the beauty of the natural wood to shine through while being protected from the elements for many years to come.