Is Pressure Treated Wood Safe? - Backyard Boss
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Is Pressure Treated Wood Safe?

When you first move into a new home, it can be a very exciting time! There will be lots to do in order to get settled, but you can have fun doing all of it. Choosing furniture for your new home is typically one of the first things on the list. It is important to be careful in your selection, as this furniture will likely be used for many years to come. The material of this furniture is also important. For example, some people do not like to use furniture that is made out of pressure treated wood, as they believe it is unsafe. Is this true? Is pressure treated wood safe to use in your home or on your patio? Find the answer in the article below!

What is Pressure Treated Wood?

When products are chemically treated, it means that it has been coated with a preservative material so as to help withstand things such as extreme weather temperatures, bugs, and fungus. Chemicals that are commonly used with wood materials include Alkaline Copper Quaternary, Copper Azole, and Micronized Copper Azole. When preserving, the chemicals are added deeply into the wood, so that they will last for a long time. The wood will absorb a large amount of water, and therefore will take several weeks to completely dry out. Typically, treated wooden furniture is used outside the home, such as on the porch or even a shed design. However, it may also be placed inside the house as well.

Concerns Related to Chemically Treated Materials

Weathered old striped texture of wooden boards-a natural background pattern of treated wood

The major concern related to treated products of wood is that the chemicals may escape from the products and people will end up breathing them in. The likelihood of this will depend on the age of the product, as well as other various factors such as the amount of rainfall it encounters, and the acidity of the rain and soil that may come in contact with it. Studies have found that small amounts of arsenic, copper, and chromium have been found near decks that were made from treated materials. This can be hazardous to people’s health, particularly if children are playing in the area. It is also important to remember never to burn treated wood. The chemicals could get released into the air through the form of ash and smoke.

Benefits Related to Chemically Treated Materials

Best price quality and service illustration

A big benefit to using treated materials is that it is more affordable than if you were using other types. For example, it is very cheap compared to using redwood on your furniture or deck. Another benefit is that the wood is a lot stronger than other types. It will hold up against more scratches and dents. This means that this wood will have a longer lifespan and will be more worth your money. This is a reason why chemically treated materials are often used for decks and wooden projects that will be expected to last for many years. As well, this type of wood will also repel insects. This is good if you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors enjoying your deck or furniture.

Sealing Chemically Treated Materials

Applying sealant on wood

If you are worried about the effects that treated materials might have on your health, there are ways that you can deal with these, while still enjoying your deck or furniture. One option that you could consider is using a sealant to the wood every year. If you want to be sure that the contaminants are contained, try applying a brown or natural stain to the wood every year. The best options would be an oil or water-based stain, as they do not chip or flake off. Do not try to use paint or other film-formers, as they will not be the best tools for the job, and they will not give you a protective sealant. If you decide to take this route, make sure that you are prepared and take the necessary precautions. For example, only stain the wood outdoors, and not inside your house. As well, wear gloves and long sleeves, and a dust mask, if necessary.

Still Unsure?

Man sitting on a sofa

If you are still unsure about whether or not you should use chemically treated materials, take a minute to consider your situation. If you are really worried about possible chemical contamination, you are probably best avoiding it. However, if you want to build a deck cheaply and do not have young children playing on the ground, it might be a good option for you. It also may work well if you are willing to apply a sealant every year as needed. Many people will opt for using chemically treated materials on their outdoor deck or furniture, and not on their indoor furniture. Pressure treated wood can be used in either setting, as it is very long-lasting. Other areas of your house are actually required to be pressure treated. If any material is in contact with the ground, it must be pressure treated by code. This is to ensure that moisture will not accumulate and transfer into the wood that is supporting your house. Overall, if you are unsure about the idea of chemically treated materials, you can always refer to the advice of an expert. They will be able to look at what you are trying to build and let you know the best way to go about it.


As with most things in life, chemically treated products come with a variety of pros and cons. If you use it, there is a small possibility of chemicals negatively affecting your health. However, it is quite cheap and durable and can be used in a wide range of projects. It is difficult to completely avoid treated wood, as it is used in the building materials of most houses. This is what makes the houses more weather-proof and dry. More research is being done on treated wood every day, so as to get a better idea of whether using it is safe or not.