Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why Mike Holmes Loves Coated Lumbers

For Mike Holmes, there's building, and then there's building better. Coated lumbers would definately fall into the "building better" category. In this article reposted from the Ottawa Citizen, Mike talks about why coated lumbers are the way to go when building. The two types I see Mike using on his shows are Pinkwood (a Canadian product out of western Canada) which is coated with a pink fire retardant coating designed to produce an endothermic (heat absorbing) reaction when exposed to flames. The other coated lumber Mike uses on his shows is Bluwood (an American product) which is coated with a distinctive blue coating that is mold, moisture, and insect resistant. Bluwood resists rot and termite damage, so in a damp climate or a basement, Bluwood is the way to go. Both Bluwood and Pinkwood are above minimum code, but necessary in Mike's eyes. The type of coated lumber you choose will be determined by the environment your house is in.

From the Ottawa Citizen:

Mike Holmes: Why I love coated lumbers

These green products offer a coat for all reasons

Coated lumbers provide many benefits that address environmental health and safety concerns. Some are even fire retardant.

Photograph by: Alex Schuldt , The Holmes Group

It’s no secret that I love coated lumbers. I use them whenever I can on any job. They deliver benefits that meet environmental and safety standards that are important to me, to homeowners, to builders and to industry pros. Is it above code? Yes. Is it unnecessary? Not in my world.
Building to minimum code is just that — minimum. It’s the least possible you need to do to construct a home that’s safe to live in. But that’s it. That’s where it ends.
And how safe is too safe? What’s minimum safety anyway? These things change all the time. It wasn’t until 2004 that it became code to have a GFCI outlet in the kitchen — and they’ve been in bathrooms since 1984. It took 20 years for the rules to come full circle and prevent people from getting shocked if they plugged in something in the kitchen after washing dishes.
Any good contractor knows that if you can build better, you do. That’s taking into consideration what the homeowners want, too. And the truth is the industry is always changing, developing new products, new materials and new technology. Some are good, some are bad. But at the end of the day these new products are being developed because there’s a need for them. They can be environmental needs, safety needs, health needs — you name it.
Some might say, “Mike, you’re going overboard” — they do all the time. But for me it’s about addressing these needs. I’m not making them up. The people I talk to and deal with every day care about fire resistance; protection against things like moisture and mould, insect damage, termites. Who wouldn’t care about these things when it comes to their home?
That’s where coated lumbers come in.
There are different types of coated lumbers. They each provide different forms of protection depending on their coating. Some resist uncontrolled moisture absorption, mould growth, rot and wood-ingesting insects, like termites. Another type might be resistant to mould and rot fungus and be a fire retardant, but not provide protection against termites. You need to know what you’re getting.
Coatings that have a fire retardant swell when exposed to fire, which insulates the wood from heat. This gives you and your family more time to get out of a burning house. Mould resistance means a healthier home. There are benefits across the board.

Get the right coverage
The most important thing to know when choosing coated lumber is the environment it will be in. For example, if the job is finishing a basement, then getting a coated lumber that protects against mould should be your top priority. Basements are damp — perfect environments for mould growth. All you need is the right organic food source — like drywall, wood, paper or carpet — the right temperature and moisture, and you’ve got mould.
You also have the option of getting whatever type of lumber you want and then getting it coated with a treatment that provides the protection your home needs. But if you go this route, know that any area of the lumber without the coating is unprotected. Getting the proper coverage is key. Manufacturers know how to do this right; they are trained pros. But if you want to give it a try, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Let’s say all the sides of a two-by-four have a protective coating that is supposed to stop termites from eating the lumber. If the ends of the two-by-four aren’t coated, termites will enter through this weak spot and start chewing up the lumber.
And just because wood is coated doesn’t mean it’s good. Cheap wood that’s coated is still cheap. Make sure you have the right quality of wood for the job first. Then make sure the coating provides the right protection for your home’s environment.
If there aren’t any termites where you live, then you don’t need a coated lumber that protects against them. In that case it might be worth swapping termite resistance for a fire retardant. And ask how long the coating lasts. Do they have a lifetime guarantee or a 25-year guarantee? This can give you an idea of the value you’re investing in your home.
Catch Mike Holmes in his series, Holmes Makes It Right, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on HGTV. For more information, visit For more information on home renovations, visit


  1. Any thoughts on Eco's Red Shield (fire, mold, & insect resistant)? Found some at Home Depot last year but no longer carried, and it is very hard to find a supplier. Are there more alternatives than the two listed in the above article?

    - Pennsylvania, USA

  2. on 3/29 1pm est show u said the price of your pink/green lumber is the same as regular lumber! that is Not true at all!

  3. I can't seem to find any around my area. Can you tell me where I can buy it?

  4. Is the coating harmful to livestock