I was sitting here tonight catching up on all the posts when I came across Lindy's post regarding the deck she is building. Someone stated quite emphatically that she should discard the wood she has and build her deck from Pressure Treated Lumber. I emphatically DISAGREE.
We built a small deck on the side of our house with PTL, and while building the deck I wondered what the residue was that kept sticking to my hands and making them very very itchy. My hands turned a terrible yellow colour and I had scratched them so bad I had to seek medical attention. After several visits to my GP and a Dermatoligist, the Drs. decided that my problem was caused by the chemicals in the PTL we used to build the deck. The Drs. scrabed off a layer of my skin and sent it for analysis, and they discovered some arsenic in the composition of my skin. The arsenic came from the PTL on the deck.
I spent several hundred dollars on presriptions trying to cure the problem to no avail, nothing worked (see my tip of the day for my home cure).
I have 7 Grandchildren who are at my house all the time and this deck is the main entrance to my house. Hubby and I have decided we will remove this deck and build a more people and enviromentaly friendly deck. We've decided that treating a pine or cedar deck on a yearly basis is a small price to pay compared to the health of one of our grandchildren. We will never use PTL again for any project.
I make this post only because I would like everyone to be aware of the dangers of using PTL.
PS: There is a very informative article in the Aug/Sept issue of CWW mag about PTL.
Hi Marsha, Excellent post. It reminded me of an news article I watched on channel 4 Detroit a few weeks ago about all the wooden ptl playground equipment there is out there that is testing positive for traces of arsenic on the equipment itself and in the sand all surrounding the playing apperatice.It's scarey when you think of how many times and for how long your kids or grandchildren have been playing on that equipment and you wonder how long some people have known about this.? Tim
I also quit using that stuff years ago. If you saw or sand it you breath the poison dust and if you burn the scraps you breath the poison smoke. I may be a little paranoid about dust collection but using that stuff is one of the easiest ways to turn into ashes to ashes..sawdust to sawdust.
Actually, if you check with the manufacturers of PTL, most (not all) will tell you ...it is intended for structual suport members only and not as decking.
Arsenic is a naturally ocurring substance and is in most everything.It is the concentration of arsenic you have to be concerned about. Obviously,in this case, it's too high.If I'm not mistaken the affects of arsenic are acumulative so constant exposure to it adds up(same deal for contact cement remover).So far so good for me but my next deck will not have a PTL top.
Just thinkin out loud J.P.
I agree that PTL lumber is bad stuff to touch but I don't believe that if you build your deck out of pine it will last. Cedar should last though. I was talking to a roofer the other day and he said he is seeing cedar roofs lasting only 20 years these days...whether it's the new growth cedar or acid rains, he didn't know what's causing it.
My brother built a deck about 18-20 years ago out of cedar 2 x 6. He has not put any sealer, finish or anything else on it. Just left it to weather. Afer all this time there is no evidence of rot and is as sound as when it was built. The only mistake he made was nails instead of screws. This is located in Saskatchewan so has not had the high humidity and moisture of some other areas. The deck wraps around on the south, west and north exposures with all sides looking the same.