Pressure-treated wood is an ingenious invention that has a lot of applications in our homes when it comes to furniture, flooring, framing studs, and more. Is pressure-treated wood safe to use? There are many different types of pressure-treated wood but they are all made to be safe to use, yes.
Is burning pressure treated wood a good idea, however? Definitely not!
Burning pressure treated wood won’t usually have an immediate negative effect if it’s in small quantities but even then it’s ill-advised because it releases lots of undesirable toxins in the air. To determine why that’s the case, we’ll need to find out what pressure wood is first.
What is pressure-treated wood?
Pressure-treated wood comes in different types but, basically, it’s any type of wood that’s undergone a preservation process with pressurized chemicals. That’s done by putting the wood in negatively pressurized vacuum chambers and then exposing it to the chemicals.
The goals of this treatment are twofold:
- To remove air from the wood.
- To replace said air with chemical preservatives.
In doing so, the life of the wood is prolonged and it’s better protected against damage, amortization, and pest infestations.
Different pressure treatments involve different chemicals. Some are toxic when burned and inhaled like the commonly used Chromated copper arsenate (CCA) and others are supposedly non-toxic like the sodium silicate used in TimberSil.
Can you burn pressure-treated wood?
In general, it’s not a good idea. Burning treated wood in fire pits or fireplaces is almost guaranteed to release undesirable toxins and chemicals in the air. If it’s done outdoors it will be less harmful but it’s still an unnecessary risk.
How to tell if the wood is pressure treated?
The best way is to simply know what wood you’re buying. Judging a wood by its appearance alone can be difficult because it often looks like regular untreated wood. With CAA-treated wood, there’s distinct green hue but other types of pressure-treated wood are often indistinguishable. Knowing what type of wood you’ve bought is the safest bet.
How to dispose of pressure-treated wood instead?
If you need to get rid of furniture that’s made with pressure-treated wood and you don’t want to burn it – rightly so – don’t just throw it in the trash either as someone else might burn it. Instead, take it to a local landfill or waste disposal center. They may charge you a minor fee but it’s worth it to make sure that it’s disposed of properly.