CREOSOTE treatment

James E Smith can offer Creosote treatment to order.

Creosoting is the process of vacuum and pressure impregnation of wood with hot creosote oil. Creosote oil is a quality preservative made from the distillation from coal tar; the coal tar itself is released from the coal during the coking process as part of the high oven process during the production of steel. To ensure maximum service life is achieved, the sapwood in the timber must be fully penetrated with creosote by means of an industrial process using a vacuum and pressure treatment plant.


Creosote oil is used in fencing timbers (agricultural stakes, equestrian fencing and for use in country parks/ estates), railway sleepers and utility poles.


Creosoted timber is widely used by utility markets, the rail infrastructure, fencing contractors and by a range of private customers for appropriate applications such as fencing and agricultural purposes. Creosote is often the treatment of choice for equestrian fencing as it deters the tendency horses may have of chewing the timber.

Although many believe that creosote is banned this is not the case.
However, restrictions were enforced in 2003 and creosoted timber must not be used…
• Inside buildings
• In toys
• In playgrounds
• In parks, gardens and outdoor areas where there is a risk of frequent skin contact
• In the manufacture of garden furniture such as picnic tables
• For the manufacture and use and any re-treatment of;
• containers intended for growing purposes
• Packaging that might come in contact with raw materials, intermediate or finished products destined for human and or animal consumption
• Other materials which may contaminate the products mentioned above.

Expected Service Life

Both Use Class 3 and Use Class 4 creosoted fencing will be replaced after 40 years, however it is unlikely to be subject to fungal or insect attack during this time.
Utility poles treated with creosote are expected to last 60 years, however some utility poles have been known to last a lot longer.


Creosote preserved timber will initially have a dark brown appearance. This will weather to a lighter brown after long term sun exposure but will not lose its effectiveness.