Working with Pressure Treated Lumber
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated April 12, 2019)
Using pressure treated lumber in your next home improvement project can not only give you a decent base to work on, but it can also provide you with a lot of savings over the years. However, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind when working with pressure treated lumber. These safety guidelines can help ensure that you, and those in your house, don't suffer from any possible complications.
- Safety first. When you are working with pressure treated lumber, the very first thing that you should keep in mind is safety. In this particular instance this means that you need to focus some rather specific safety gear. Some examples of things that you should wear and use are things like gloves, safety glasses, safety goggles would be good if you currently wear glasses, long sleeved shirts, long pants, and a dust mask.
- Never cut inside. There are a couple of reasons as to why you want to avoid cutting pressure treated wood inside. The first, and foremost, is that pressure treated wood is also chemically treated. These chemicals can be harmful to your health if you aren't careful. The second reason is that pressure treated wood can generate a bit more dust than other kinds of wood. If you cut inside, then this chemically treated wood dust can end up all over your house, creating all kinds of bad problems.
- Clean thoroughly. When you are finished cutting the wood, you need to clean up the area as soon as possible due to the chemicals in the wood dust. Be sure that as you clean normally you are also wearing all the safety gear that was worn while you cut the wood to begin with. Luckily you can simply throw away the dust with the rest of your construction debris, just make sure you don't burn anything.
- Don't mix. Perhaps one of the easiest, and most important, safety guidelines for working with unfinished pressure treated lumber is to keep it away from anywhere that you may prepare food or drink. The chemicals from your wood could potentially linger (either in dust or dirt) and end up contaminating your food. Avoid any potential problems by avoiding working on unfinished pressure treated wood near food or water.
- Wash immediately. It may seem a little silly to mention, but you will really need to wash your hands, arms, and face, as soon as you are finished handling the wood. It would even be better to change clothes, and take a thorough shower before you do anything else. This will help you to avoid contaminating anything or accidentally ingesting any chemicals from the wood or dust.
Keep in mind that these are only a few simple safety guidelines for working with pressure treated lumber. While this list may be fairly comprehensive, it is by no means covers every contingency. When working with pressure treated lumber safety should be your first priority, do anything and everything possible to stay as safe as you can.
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