Cresote in redwood studs

pelufoFebruary 1, 2010

I have a 1920's frame house with a chimney along one end of the exterior wall. I was installing an HDTV over the fireplace this weekend, and when I drilled the bracket into the studs, the drill bit retained some pungent, yellow sticky wood upon backing out of the hole, almost seemed like sap but I am assuming it is creosote. This was only at the 2 holes within the stud that falls in line with the chimney itself, the one alongside it had dry regular redwood shavings. Unless framing members were treated with creosote back then, I can only assume it is buildup from when the fireplace was wood burning. At some point a gas fireplace insert was installed, works fine with no apparent heat at the wall surrounding the chimney. I am wondering if there is any danger in this buildup living within the wall farming, even with the unit having it's own surround and not being wood burning. Any insight would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

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I don't think it would be creosote for 2 reasons. 1. If the wood in the flue were exposed to exhaust from the fireplace enough to create creosote deposits, your house would be non-existent! 2. Creosote deposits are black, not yellow. Some woods hold sticky sap for many years and I believe this is what you are seeing. If there was creosote in the structure, it wouldn't ignite before the wood did anyway. If your fireplace insert was installed correctly and the correct chimney liner installed, you shouldn't have a problem.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 6:31PM
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Wow, I hope you're right. Sap was my first thought, but when it showed up in both holes I drilled several inches apart along the same stud, I thought it would be strange to have a pocket of sap span that far. It was definitely yellow, and stuck to the drill bit with a vengeane; took twice as long to drill those holes vs the others. Thanks for your reassurance.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 1:44PM
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