To summarize, creosote and creocote are two different products with specific applications. Creosote is a traditional product for use as a preservative on wood surfaces such as fences, decks and log homes, while creocote is a more modern alternative designed to provide superior protection against the elements in harsher climates.

What is Creosote?

Creosote is a dark brown to black coal tar residue that is produced when wood is heated in the absence of air. It is composed of many different compounds, including phenols, quinones, and aromatic hydrocarbons. Creosote has a strong, unpleasant odor and is commonly used as a wood preservative.

What is Creocote?

Creocote is a wood preservative that has been used for many years. It is made from coal tar, which is a by-product of the coking process. Creocote penetrates deep into the wood and helps to protect it from rot, decay and insect attack. It also gives the wood a dark colour which can be very attractive. Creocote has been used for many years on fence posts, railway sleepers and other timber products that are exposed to the elements. However, it is now widely recognised that creosote is a carcinogen and as such its use is being phased out.

Creosote Vs. Creocote – Key differences

(Photo by Antoine Beauvillain on Unsplash )

Picture of a railroad

Creosote and Creocote are two different wood preservatives with some key differences.

Creosote is a type of oil-based wood preservative that has been used for many decades to protect wood from rot, insect damage, and weathering. It is made from the distillation of coal tar and is known for its dark color and strong odor. Creosote is typically used on railroad ties, utility poles, and other outdoor wood structures that require long-lasting protection. Creosote is a restricted-use pesticide in the United States due to its potential health and environmental hazards.

Creocote, on the other hand, is a newer wood preservative that is designed to be a safer and more environmentally friendly alternative to creosote. Creocote is made from a combination of natural oils and synthetic waxes, and it is free from the harmful chemicals found in creosote. Creocote is typically used on garden sheds, fences, and other outdoor wood structures that do not require the same level of protection as railroad ties and utility poles.

In summary, while both creosote and creocote are wood preservatives, creosote is an oil-based product made from coal tar and is used for heavy-duty applications, while creocote is a newer, more environmentally friendly product made from natural oils and waxes, and is used for lighter-duty applications.

How to Apply Creosote and Creocote

When deciding whether to use creosote or creocote, it is important to first consult the manufacturer’s instructions. Creosote and creocote products contain varying amounts of active ingredients, and some products may be more appropriate for certain types of wood than others. In general, however, the application process for both creosote and creocote is similar.

Before applying either product, the wood surface should be clean and dry. If necessary, old paint or other finishes should be removed. The wood should then be sanded smooth. Once the surface is prepared, the wood should be treated with a primer designed for use with either creosote or creocote.

Once the primer has dried, the chosen product can be applied. For best results, multiple thin coats should be applied rather than a single thick coat. Creosote and creocote products have strong odors, so adequate ventilation should be provided during and after application. Finally, once the product has had time to cure properly, any remaining excess should be removed from the surface of the wood.

Safety Precautions When Using These Products

There are a few safety precautions to take when using products containing creosote or creocote. Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions before using these products. Wear gloves, long sleeves, and face and eye protection when handling or applying these products. Avoid contact with skin, eyes, and clothing. If contact does occur, wash thoroughly with soap and water. These products can be harmful if swallowed. If swallowed, call a poison control center or doctor immediately. Do not use near heat or open flame, and do not smoke while using these products. Ventilate area well when using indoors. Store in a cool, dry place out of reach of children and pets.

The advantages and disadvantages of Creosote

Advantages of Creosote:

  • Effective Wood Preservative: Creosote is an effective wood preservative that can protect wood from decay, rot, and insect damage.
  • Long-Lasting Protection: Creosote-treated wood can last for decades without the need for re-treatment or replacement.
  • Weather Resistance: Creosote-treated wood is highly resistant to weathering, including exposure to rain, snow, and sunlight.
  • Fire Retardant: Creosote has a natural fire-retardant property, making it a good choice for use in structures where fire safety is a concern.

Disadvantages of Creosote:

  • Health Risks: Creosote contains chemicals that are potentially harmful to human health, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are known to cause cancer.
  • Environmental Concerns: Creosote can leach into the soil and groundwater, contaminating the environment and potentially harming wildlife.
  • Odor: Creosote has a strong, unpleasant odor that can be difficult to remove from clothing, skin, and other surfaces.
  • Restricted Use: Creosote is a restricted-use pesticide in many countries, including the United States, and can only be applied by licensed professionals.

While creosote is an effective wood preservative with many benefits, its potential health and environmental hazards mean that it is not suitable for all applications and should be used with caution.

The advantages and disadvantages of Creocote

Advantages of Creocote:

  • Environmentally Friendly: Creocote is a more environmentally friendly alternative to creosote as it is made from natural oils and waxes, and does not contain the same harmful chemicals.
  • Easy to Apply: Creocote is easy to apply with a brush, spray, or dip, and can be used on a variety of outdoor wood structures, such as fences, sheds, and pergolas.
  • Water-Resistant: Creocote is water-resistant and can help protect wood from damage caused by moisture.
  • Low Odor: Creocote has a low odor compared to creosote, making it a more pleasant product to work with.

Disadvantages of Creocote:

  • Less Effective: Creocote may not be as effective as creosote in providing long-lasting protection against decay, rot, and insect damage.
  • Shorter Lifespan: Creocote-treated wood may require more frequent re-treatment than creosote-treated wood.
  • Limited Uses: Creocote may not be suitable for heavy-duty applications, such as railway ties, where creosote is typically used.
  • Cost: Creocote may be more expensive than other wood preservatives on the market.

Creocote is a good choice for outdoor wood structures that do not require the same level of protection as heavy-duty applications, such as railway ties. While it may not be as effective or long-lasting as creosote, it is a more environmentally friendly and easy-to-use alternative.

How long does Creocote last?

The lifespan of Creocote-treated wood can vary depending on a range of factors, such as the type of wood, the application method, and the weather conditions. In general, Creocote is designed to provide a long-lasting level of protection against decay, rot, and insect damage.

However, the exact duration of protection provided by Creocote can vary depending on several factors. Typically, Creocote-treated wood can last for around 5-10 years before needing reapplication. The lifespan of the treatment can be extended by ensuring the wood is well maintained, such as keeping it clean and free of debris, and ensuring it is not constantly exposed to moisture.

It is also worth noting that the manufacturer’s instructions should be followed when applying Creocote to ensure that the wood is properly protected and to maximize the lifespan of the treatment.

Why is creosote not used anymore?

Creosote is still used in some parts of the world, but its use is becoming increasingly restricted due to health and environmental concerns. In many countries, including the United States, creosote is classified as a restricted-use pesticide and can only be applied by licensed professionals.

The main reason for the reduction in the use of creosote is its potential health hazards. Creosote contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are known to be carcinogenic and can pose health risks to humans and wildlife. In addition to the health risks, creosote can also leach into the soil and groundwater, contaminating the environment.

Furthermore, alternatives to creosote have been developed that are more environmentally friendly and offer similar levels of protection. These alternatives include products such as Creocote, which are made from natural oils and waxes and do not contain the same harmful chemicals as creosote.

Overall, while creosote is still used in some applications, its potential health and environmental hazards have led to a reduction in its use and an increase in the use of alternative wood preservatives.

 

Featured Image By – Maarten Deckers on Unsplash

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