Pressure treated wood is used in a variety of applications, but can it be used inside? It is ideal for anything from decks to fences among many other uses, but is it toxic and how safe is it?
So, can you use pressure treated lumber inside your home? The answer is yes, pressure treated wood can be used inside your home for almost anything, except countertops and cutting boards. It should be finished or sealed to further ensure its safety when applied indoors.
Now that you know you can use pressure treated wood inside your home, let’s take a closer look at this in more detail below. We’ll discuss if it’s safe to use indoors as well as how and why you would choose it over traditional wood. We’ll also explore the different interior applications associated with pressure treated lumber and the benefits and/or disadvantages related to each.
So, if you’re ready to learn more about using pressure treated wood indoors, then let’s get started!
Why Would You Use Pressure Treated Wood Indoors?
Using pressure treated wood inside your home makes sense if you live in a highly humid region and have issues with moisture. Since pressure treated wood is designed to withstand the elements, such as sun, wind, and rain, using it in a bathroom or in-home sauna, for example, 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 why you’d choose to use pressure treated wood indoors is if you live in an area with an extreme termite infestation. In Hawaii, for example, builders often use borate-treated lumber to construct the entire structural shell of a home to lessen the effects of termite damage. Apart from this (and high humidity or moisture problems), there really is no other significant reason why you’d use pressure treated lumber indoors instead of traditional wood.
How Do You Use Pressure Wood Indoors?
Contrary to popular belief, there are a variety of ways to use pressure treated wood indoors. I trust that with the information I provide you below, you will gain new insight into the numerous unconventional options available. Before I dig deeper into this subject, I should let you know that I wasn’t as open to the many possibilities initially, but after careful consideration, I sure am now! Let’s begin…
Here are some great ways to use treated lumber indoors. These include (but are not limited to) the following:
As Framing Material
While cedar, pine, and spruce are commonly used for building, pressure treated wood is great for framing basements, as they are water-resistant and will not warp in humid environments. It is especially good 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 cut down your risk of having mold develop in the walls, which is more common than most homeowners realize.
As Wall Panelling
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 easy to install and finish. The look of pressure treated wood is not that attractive so painting or staining it is a must, not only for aesthetic reasons but for health ones as well. Staining or painting helps seal in chemicals used to ‘treat’ it.
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 as well. Placing tile, laminate or carpet over top ensures that its safe by keeping the chemicals used to ‘treat it sealed underneath and away from human contact.
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, it is also compatible with carbon steel fasteners and requires no special handling.
Unlike hardwoods that can warp from moisture exposure, pressure treated wood can be used to make furniture (such as a kitchen table and chairs) in a home or cottage near water where humidity is high. They are more likely to damage easier, however, as pressure-treated wood is not as durable as hard wood, but where 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 indoors for 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 as toxins can be released into the air, thus contaminating the surface, food and surrounding environment.
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. You could also the wood to make a shower caddy to hold all your essential cleansing needs, including shampoo, body wash, loofah, shaving cream, and razor.
Make sure the wood is finished in a way that you don’t get a sliver. Treated wood slivers can cause an infection, I know this from experience. If you ever did get a sliver just make sure to pull it out as soon as possible and then wash the affected area thoroughly.
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 of 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 real concern I can think of is getting slivers 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.
It may sound unconventional, but using pressure treated wood in a home is more useful than you may think? Because it is designed to withstand the elements, such as sun, wind, and rain, it is durable, affordable and 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 whenever possible, to reduce the risk of mold, decay and insect damage to homes. There are some regions in North America that are prone to higher moisture levels and insect damage so using pressure treated wood seems like the best solution in these cases.
Hopefully, the information in this article has helped you. Good luck with your future home endeavors!