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How to Use Pressure-treated Wood Inside – Step-by-Step Guide


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Can you use pressure-treated wood inside? If this question has been hovering in your mind for a long time, you should continue reading this article. The main reason why wood is pressure treated is to stop it from getting rotten. Hence, pressure-treated wood is used for making outdoor furniture and the furniture in kitchens and bathrooms which will be in contact with moisture. Pressure-treated wood is excellent when it comes to preventing the attack of termites, fungus, insects, and other kinds of micro-organisms.

When we create furniture to be used indoors, normally untreated lumber is preferred. It keeps the costs lower. Even the weight of untreated wood is less as the gaps between the fine particles and knots of the wood are lesser compared to the pressure-treated wood. After pressure-treating the wood, the gaps are minimized and the wood particles become dense and heavy.

Untreated wood looks attractive and hence the furniture made out of it looks good. Since they are not treated with any toxic chemicals, they are perfect for interior usage. It will not harm anyone in the family including babies and pets.

Can you use pressure-treated wood inside?

Can you use pressure-treated wood inside? What are the precautions you need to take to ensure pressure-treated wood does not harm your family members? If these are the questions in your mind, read further.

Pressure-treated wood was created in a pressure chamber in a wood-treating unit, which was full of liquid preservative chemicals. If you want to identify pressure-treated wood, you will have to look for half-inch long splits on its surface. Treated wood will have a greenish tint as pressurized chemicals were injected through the half-inch long splits.

The chemicals which were used in the process of creating pressure-treated wood were fungicides, weedicides, insecticides, and pesticides. Many homeowners believe that once the woods are treated with these toxic chemicals, they will release toxic fumes and impact the health of the family members. Treated wood is often used for constructing doors and window frames.

Can you use pressure-treated wood inside? – A step-by-step guide

Let’s look at the process of identifying pressure-treated wood.

Step 1- Look for an end tag

Pressure-treated wood will have an end tag and the chemicals treated while treating it will be mentioned there along with the rating and the name of the preservation company. Since arsenic was used in preserving a wood treated with Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA), do not buy that wood for any indoor furniture manufacturing.

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Step 2- Find the stamp

There will be a stamp on the wood when you buy it from a hardware store or lumberyard. It will tell you about the type of wood and whether it is safe to be used indoors. For example, wood treated with borate is safe to be used indoors. There will be a stamp bearing the terms Bor, HiBor or Tim Bor. It will give you the perfect resistance against termites and are safe to be used to make furniture to be used inside the house.

Do not use the pressure-treated wood stamped LP22. They again were treated with arsenic, and are not safe for furniture to be used inside the home. Wood with a stamp LP2 is less toxic than a block of wood with stamp LP22, however, even that is not advisable for interior furniture manufacturing.

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Step 3- Get a fact sheet

Look for the fact sheet for the wood, and if you get to see chemicals containing Copper and Tebuconazole, that means that the wood was pressure treated. Wood treated with Copper Azole (CA) is safer than the one treated with arsenic, however, it is better to avoid them for interior usage.

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Step 4- Check the color and smell

Each wood preservative will give a different tint to the wood. For example, wood that shows a greenish tint was either infused with copper or chromium. After infusing with arsenic or CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate) it gives a similar greenish color. Wood treated with Copper Azole (CA) normally has a brownish hue. Alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ) contains copper and a quaternary ammonium compound and it gives a blueish color to the wood.

If the wood is treated with oil-based preservatives like creosote, pentachlorophenol, or copper naphthenate, the wood will have an oily smell. The wood will look dark as they were immersed in oil.

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Step 5- Use a wood testing kit

There are many commercial wood testing kits available in the market which you can buy and test your wood. Ensure that you wear proper gloves while conducting the test along with a mask to avoid the fumes to get into your nostrils.

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Final Verdict

So after identifying the wood which is suitable for indoor usage, you have got an answer to your question- Can you use pressure-treated wood inside? You surely can use pressure-treated wood to create furniture to be used inside the house, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms. Just be careful about not using it in the kitchen counters, picnic tables, and wooden cutting boards.

Pressure-treated wood should not be used for manufacturing any item which comes in direct contact with food. Hence ladles and spatulas are made of untreated wood. Else, it is fine to use pressure-treated wood in constructing cupboards, tables, chairs, beds etc., especially in regions that are humid and there might be attacks of insects and fungi. Also plant boxes use pressure-treated wood as it is in contact with soil all the time and rots very fast.

Ensure that pets do not chew pressure-treated wood. It might subject them to diseases and the chemicals are not good for their systems.


Now since you have got the answer to your question, go ahead with the fun DIY projects which you have been planning to take up. Can you use pressure-treated wood inside? Yes, you surely can use pressure-treated wood inside barring a few situations which we discussed above.

It will be a good idea to include your spouse and children in these DIY projects. You can spend more of family time together, and these projects will teach your kids the valuable lesson of teamwork. Happy creating!!!

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