Can you use pressure treated wood indoors? What is in that lumber? How to use pressure-treated lumber safely for interior applications?
Pressure treatment is one of the most popular ways to preserve the wood. The main purpose of the treatment is to shield wood from external elements such as decay, rot, or termite infestation.
While pressure-treated wood is durable, there are still concerns about the chemicals used in the treatment and their health implications.
Today’s discussion will analyze every aspect of pressure-treated wood in detail and decide whether we should use pressure-treated wood indoors or not. Now, let’s get started!
Table of Contents
What Is Pressure-Treated Wood?
Pressure-treated wood is the final product of the pressure-treating process aimed to extend the lifespan of regular wood. Lumber manufacturers infuse the wood with chemical preservatives under high pressure in the depressurized tank.
Since the 1940s, people have used chemical infusion and high pressure to protect the wood from environmental factors. Those factors include humidity, rot, and insects, which can cause terrible damages to the quality and aesthetics of wood and buildings.
Between the 1970s and the early 2000s, people adopted this wood type for most outdoor applications, including porch flooring, landscape walls, deck railings, and posts.
Why Do We Need Pressure-Treated Wood?
Since pressure-treated lumber can resist termites, rot, fungal decay, and unforgiving weather conditions, applying it in wooden projects will keep outdoor structures in good condition for years to come.
These elements mentioned above can wreak havoc on the original structure of wood and cause rough traces on the surface. Untreated wood is incredibly vulnerable to these attacks and cannot protect itself.
That’s why we need to use pressure-treated wood in areas where those factors are common (mainly outdoors). If we buy furniture made of wood, preservatives process them. Otherwise, it cannot sustain for years, and we will have to get replacements very soon.
We can easily distinguish between pressure-treated and regular wood. The former has a greenish color, while the latter has a brown hue.
Can You Use Pressure-Treated Wood Indoors?
Can we use pressure-treated wood inside our house? The answer is yes. So, if you are considering the efficiency of pressure-treated wood, here are the reasons why you should use it.
In case we live in humid weather, pressure-treated wood is necessary. High humidity levels will cause mold, rodents, and insects to spoil our furniture, even dust that harms our health.
If we frequently inhale the air with a high rate of dust, we will easily suffer from respiratory diseases. Moreover, we need to equip two locations in our house with pressure-treated wood. These areas are the bathroom and ceiling.
They are always wet, so the risk of termites and rot is significantly higher than in any other location. In these areas, pressure-treated wood makes an ideal choice as it will likely last longer than untreated wood.
As a result, we can save a lot of money and spend it on other necessary things.
How Can You Safely Use Pressure-Treated Wood Indoors?
There are several ways that we can take advantage of pressure-treated wood for indoor usage.
We can use pressure-treated wood for making the basement wall paneling. Basement is where the rate of moisture is considerably high, so this application is useful for preventing rot and mold.
Floors are where we frequently gather, play, and do almost everything, so they should be robust enough to take abuse. Therefore, using pressure-treated lumber for floors is a great idea, considering their longevity and durability against extreme elements.
However, we need to cover the floors with a large carpet to stay away from toxic chemicals. Adding a top coat of paint is advisable to create a layer of protection against these harmful toxins.
As I have mentioned above, furniture used in the bathroom, such as the bathtub caddy and shower benches, should be robust enough to resist destructive fungi and moisture.
And there’s no better material for these pieces of furniture than pressure-treated lumber.
Keep in mind that you should not use pressure-treated wood for countertops, chopping boards, or any kitchen furniture that comes in contact with your food. It can contaminate food while we store, cook food, or wash dishes.
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Is Pressure-Treated Wood Harmful?
The chemicals used in pressure-treated wood are potentially toxic substances. Fortunately, they do not raise any concerns as long as we do not inhale them directly in the process.
Some research proves that the chemicals in the treatment of wood today are less lethal than those in the past. However, precautionary measures are still essential to prevent health hazards.
As I discussed above, we must not use pressure-treated wood for kitchen furniture because the chemicals absorbed in the wood can leach and contaminate the food.
Many toxic substances such as arsenicals are reduced and gradually replaced by more benign chemicals, including ACQ, copper azole, and borates.
These alternatives accepted in the pressure-treating process have been proved that they pose no health risks to humans and pets but are detrimental to insects like termites.
It is advisable to avoid burning treated wood in a place with closed doors and closed windows. While burning this wood, it can emit toxic fumes that can poison our health. It’s best not to burn this type of wood at home.
There is still a considerable concern that these chemicals are potentially harmful to the environment. For example, they can contaminate soils, vegetables, and underground water.
So, can you use pressure-treated wood indoors? The answer is yes. This wood type shines through in areas where the moisture level is high, and termite infestation is a problem.
Pressure-treated wood is an effective, durable material for making wooden furniture. It comes out from a treatment procedure aimed to preserve the quality and aesthetics of the original wood.
However, the manufacturers need to control the measure of the chemicals used in the wood. The abuse of hazardous substances poses a significant risk to our health and the natural environment.
Hopefully, this helpful information and analysis of pressure-treated wood will help you to wisely make the decision.
Reference Source: Can I use Treated Lumber Indoors?