Pressure-treated wood is used in various applications. It is intended to be used outdoors, and the pressure treatment helps it last longer. Pressure-treated lumber is ideal for anything from decks to fences and soil retention. Although it is more expensive than untreated lumber and should not be used in certain situations. However, if you find yourself with a few extra boards after an outdoor project, you may be wondering if pressure-treated lumber can be used for something inside.
Yes, modern pressure-treated wood is safe to use inside your home, although it should be sealed. It is generally safe to use anywhere except for cutting boards, countertops, or as firewood. The largest potential threat is getting a splinter, which would get infected due to the added chemicals.
We’ll also explore the different interior applications associated with pressure-treated lumber and the benefits and/or disadvantages of using it. So, if you’re ready to learn more about using pressure-treated wood indoors, let’s get started with the most important question, is it safe?
Is Pressure Treated Wood Toxic?
Years ago, pressure-treated wood contained high levels of chromate copper arsenate or CCA, which is an extremely toxic chemical. Over 20 years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency recognized the dangers of this chemical and imposed strict guidelines outlawing the use of CAA.
Nowadays, however, pressure-treated wood is much safer for both humans and the environment. It is often treated without solvents using ‘green’ materials such as micronized copper azole or MCA. This substance is less prone to off-gassing or washing off.
Is it Dangerous to Use Pressure Treated Wood Indoors?
There is no danger in using pressure-treated lumber in your home. It won’t leach pesticide chemicals into the environment or give off any unwanted gasses unless, however, it is burnt in a fireplace. Then, the toxins (such as arsenic) present in the smoke can be hazardous to your health if inhaled.
The only genuine concern I can think of is getting splinters and then letting them fester, which can cause an infection, as previously mentioned. This potential health risk is a minor one that can be avoided if the proper precautions (such as wearing work-appropriate gloves and clothing) are taken.
So it may be a little unconventional in some ways, but we now know pressure-treated wood can be used indoors in a few different ways. Check another unconventional post we wrote on untreated wood and the outdoors, can untreated wood be used outdoors? We give you some options on what you can do with untreated wood outdoors.
Why Would You Use Pressure Treated Wood Indoors?
Now that you know you can use pressure-treated wood inside your home, let’s take a closer look at what you should build. We’ll discuss when it’s safe to use indoors as well as how and why you would choose it over traditional wood.
Using pressure-treated wood inside your home makes sense if you live in a highly humid region and have issues with moisture.
Pressure-treated wood is designed to withstand the elements, such as sun, wind, and rain. So using it in a bathroom or in-home sauna will provide an inexpensive yet durable alternative to traditional indoor wood applications. You could also use it to make a shower bench or a bathtub caddy.
Another reason you’d choose to use pressure-treated wood indoors is if you live in an area with an extreme termite infestation. For example, in Hawaii, builders often use borate-treated lumber to construct the entire structural shell of a home to lessen the effects of termite damage.
Other than these two situations, there is no significant reason you’d use pressure-treated lumber indoors instead of traditional wood. Unless you have some pressure-treated lumber laying around, go with traditional lumber.
How Can You Use Pressure-Treated Wood Indoors?
Contrary to popular belief, there are various ways to use pressure-treated wood indoors. Pressure-treated wood can add another x-factor to your builds. It looks great after you seal it and will last longer than regular wood. Here are just a few things you can build out of pressure-treated lumber.
Use Pressure Treated Lumber As Framing Material
Cedar, pine, and spruce are commonly used for building, but pressure-treated wood is excellent for framing basements. They are water-resistant and will not warp in humid environments.
Pressure-treated lumber is especially useful when used as a base plate when framing walls because it is treated and resists mold and moisture better than traditional softwoods. Doing this could potentially reduce your risk of mold developing in the walls, which is more common than most homeowners realize.
Use Pressure Treated Lumber For Wall Paneling
Pressure treated wood can be used to panel walls in a basement as well. Apart from the previously mentioned water- and mold-resistant characteristics, it is Pressure-treated wood can also be used to panel walls in a basement. Apart from the previously mentioned water and mold-resistant characteristics, it is easy to install and finish. The look of pressure-treated wood alone is not that attractive, so painting or staining it is a must. Sealing is not only good for aesthetic reasons but for your health as well. Staining or painting helps seal in chemicals used to treat it.
Use Pressure Treated Lumber For Flooring
Pressure-treated wood can be used to build a subfloor in a basement or bathroom where moisture may be an issue. Not only does it protect against mold, but it also prevents termite damage. Placing tile, laminate, or carpet over the top ensures it’s safe and away from constant human contact.
Use Pressure Treated Lumber As Sill Plates
Sill plates are attached to the bottom of a wall or door. They anchor the home to the foundation and act as a moisture barrier. Pressure-treated wood works well when used as a sill plate, especially underneath an exterior door. Not only does it prevent decay and termite damage, but it is also compatible with carbon steel fasteners and requires no special handling.
Use Pressure Treated Lumber For Furniture
Unlike hardwoods that can warp from moisture exposure, pressure-treated wood can confidently be used to make furniture that may get wet.
However, pressure-treated wood is not as durable as hardwood. So it may scratch more easily if it is made into something like a kitchen table. Although it lacks in durability, it more than makes up for in affordability.
Since contact with food, utensils, and other items is inevitable, pressure-treated wood used for indoor tables and chairs must be well-treated to avoid any potentially dangerous chemicals from leaching out. It should never be used to make countertops or cutting boards. Toxins can be released into the air, thus contaminating the surface, food, and surrounding environment.
Use Pressure Treated Lumber as Décor
Using pressure-treated wood to create warm and inviting pieces in a bathroom, such as a bathtub caddy, is a great idea. Bathroom caddies allow you to access candles, books, or glasses for a more relaxing and enjoyable bathing experience. A shower caddy can also hold all your essential cleansing needs, including shampoo, body wash, loofah, shaving cream, and razor.
Make sure the wood is finished so you don’t get a splinter. Treated wood splinters can cause infection; I know this from experience. If you ever did get a sliver stuck in you, just make sure to pull it out as soon as possible. Then wash the affected area thoroughly.
The Last Board
It may sound unconventional, but using pressure-treated wood in a home is more valuable than you may think. It is designed to withstand the elements such as sun, wind, and rain. That makes it durable in harsh conditions. It is also more affordable than other methods. All and all, pressure-treated lumber is great for many indoor applications, including bathroom floors, sill plates, and wall paneling.
Areas of high humidity or prone to termite infestations should consider using pressure-treated wood indoors. This will reduce the risk of mold, decay, and insect damage to homes. Hopefully, the information in this article has helped you. Let us know if you have any questions and good luck with your future home endeavors!
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