Popular Science's Best of What's New: TimberSIL
Popular Science recently published their Best of What's New 2005 — a round-up of what they consider the year's most innovative products. Grand Winner under the "Home Tech" category is a wood treatment system called TimberSIL. TimberSIL is a non-toxic, non-corrosive, fire retardant, arsenic free wood treatment that is also free of heavy metals. In 2002 the Environmental Protection Agency started phasing out the longtime standard additive, green chromated copper arsenate, for residential use because it leached arsenic into the ground. Its replacement, alkaline copper quaternary, was less toxic but had a bad habit of eating away at metal fasteners, like nails. The TimberSIL treatment employs sodium silicate, a mixture of sand and soda ash used since the 1800s in detergents and as an egg preservative. Lumber soaks in it under pressure, then bakes until an insoluble matrix of amorphous glass hardens throughout the wood. It makes the wood highly resistant to rain, bugs, and general wear. It costs $4.50 per 8-foot 2x4.