The Brilliance of Borogard ZB

:: Wednesday, November 17, 2021 :: Posted By Frank Wawrzos

Wood composite products are increasingly important to the construction industry as builders around the world look for materials that are versatile, strong, and sustainable. Because these products are used in all kinds of environments around the world, they must be protected against extremes of climate, weather, decay, and pests.

Builders have long known the value of borates for wood protection. And when borates are incorporated into the manufacturing process, they provide built-in protection for wood composite materials.

20 Mule Team® Borax Borogard® ZB has emerged as the borate wood treatment of choice because it has demonstrated proven protection over time.

Why wood composites are so useful—and vulnerable

Wood composite products, popular since the middle of the 20th century, include a range of products including:

These practical products offer a diverse variety of benefits to builders:

  • Purposefully engineered: Desired qualities are designed in, enabling products that provide specific strengths, thicknesses, flexibility, grades, and durability.
  • Versatile: Because you can select the product that has the qualities you need, wood composite products are employed in a wide range of construction applications, from roof, wall, and floor sheathing to outdoor deck flooring, railing, fencing, benches, and window and door frames.
  • Improved sustainability: Because composite products use wood particles, chips, and shreds that would ordinarily be discarded as waste, they enable more efficient use of forest resources. With these products, not a scrap is wasted.

However, the same features that make these products useful can also make them vulnerable to decay and pests. When untreated, the wood particles provide a labyrinth of finely networked openings for moisture where fungi can thrive. The effect can happen in all wood composite products, even those that incorporate substantial amounts of non-wood binders with as OSB and WPCs.

For example, the wood fibers in WPCs are completely encapsulated in plastic. The assumption is that this treatment prevents exposure to wood-destroying organisms and moisture. In reality, weather does exact a toll on even these tough materials, and in just a short time can create miniscule openings that allow moisture and fungi to work their way into the structure.

Field tests run on WPCs have shown that fungal decay can happen in WPCs in as little as a year. Once the decay begins, fungi digest the wood, leaving voids in the plastic and creating significant damage—destroying as much as 20-40% of WPC’s wood component in as little as 16 weeks.

Apply the solution from the start: Incorporate borates for wood protection

Fortunately, borates such as the zinc borates in Borogard ZB have been proven in test after test as an effective protectant for wood and wood composites. More than a decade of field and lab research has proven the value of Borogard ZB as the only treatment that maintains effective wood protection over time.

The product’s particle size and shape has been optimized to make it sparingly soluble in water, ensuring it is resistant to leaching and weathering—and making it effective over a longer time period than other wood-protection products.

In wood products with complex structures such as OSB and WPCs, Borogard ZB provides broad-spectrum protection against moisture, insects, and decay-causing fungi. Over a period of more than 15 years, Borogard ZB have become the solution of choice for:

  • Protecting against rot and decay
  • Inhibiting mold in exterior applications
  • Enhancing UV light stabilization

Because Borogard ZB is safe and cost-effective, it’s a go-to solution for wood composite manufacturers around the world. In addition, it is the only wood composite treatment recognized as effective by the American Wood Protection Association (AWPA).

Built-in wood protection to support growing construction needs

As building needs around the world continue to grow—in urban centers and in rural towns—builders look to effectively and sustainably engineered products to ensure they can provide safe, strong, long-lasting structures.

Using zinc borates for wood protection is one way to help make the most of some of the best materials available—and effectively extend the useful life of structures.

To learn more about effective wood protection options for your product, contact the U.S. Borax technical support team.




U.S. Borax, part of Rio Tinto, is a global leader in the supply and science of borates—naturally-occurring minerals containing boron and other elements. We are 1,000 people serving 650 customers with more than 1,800 delivery locations globally. We supply around 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.  Learn more about Rio Tinto.

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