Looking for Safe Wood to build playstructure

bibboJune 4, 2007

Building a play structure.

Couple of questions. I will use redwood because I want it to last and I do not want to Use pressure treated wood where my kids will play.

Is redwood my only option outside of ceder? which is cheaper.

Second what if I where to to by regular pine for someoff the structure and then paint it. Would that be as good or will the paint just chip away. And what is the safety on the paint for children play yards.

Also if use redwood and stain it, am I defeating the purpose cause is not the stain toxic as well?

any insights would be great.

thanks

jack

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Pooh Bear

Why do you not want to use pressure treated lumber.
CCA is no longer used in the treating process.
Lumber is now treated using ACQ, a safe alternative.
CCA = Copper Chromate Arsenic
ACQ = Alkaline Copper Quaternary

Alkaline Copper Quaternary

Pooh Bear

Here is a link that might be useful: Does PT Lumber Belong in Your Garden?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 3:27AM
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mike_kaiser_gw

Jack,

If you don't want to use pressure treated wood then cedar or redwood would be appropriate too. Prices can vary greatly depending on your supplier and what part of the country you live in. Both woods come in number of grades too. Make sure you are comparing apples to applies.

Stain is mostly aesthetic and optional.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 6:54AM
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kmealy

see the link

Here is a link that might be useful: toxicity

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 8:33AM
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bibbo

thank you.

I am still hung up on Treated woods. With redwood I know that it is just the wood. Albiet I guess I am putting a stain on it. BTW thanks for the article about stains. And that may speak to why I am hung up on the wood, ie bad press. I am glad that they got rid of Arsenic in the wood and I am sure that the ACQ is probably fine. But again I am stuck.

Anyone know what "Outdoor Wood" is. Home Depot sells it now and it is right next to the redwood. It has an ECO sign on it. WHat does that mean? is this redwood? Or just stained redwood? Will it fade?

How about cherry landscape timber. There is never a sign that says what kind of wood it is. Not even on the wood itself.

thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 3:05PM
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ericwi

You can go ahead and use pine or fir for this project. I would likely use pine, because it is less likely to cause splinters, provided the edges are rounded a bit. However, to keep the structure strong and safe over time, you will have to come up with a way to keep the wood off the ground. Perhaps you can design the structure so that concrete footings are hidden from view, and impossible to fall on or trip over. Another option would be to use pressure treated lumber for the footings only, and everything more than 10 inches above ground would be made of pine.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 5:30PM
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bibbo

So when people talk about rot resistent is that only refering to wood that is in the ground? Is wood that touches the ground only suseptible to rot. Or is it that the ground is wet and wet equals rot over time. Therefore when it rains, and it does in the Bay Area, will the pine not get rotted as well.

I would like to have it last for awhile. I will put some money into, why not have it last. I was going to put concrete footings anyway. I was going to put them a foot and half (18 inches) into the ground for stability. Run Redwood as my post, redwood as my ledgers and then maybe save a few buck by running pine as my joists. Then the upper deck is redwood on top of the pine joist.

I would probably have pine stair stringers but have that sit on some sort of footing so that it does not get rot. The stairs themselves would probably be redwood.

thoughts and thanks for the insight.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 8:13PM
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Pooh Bear

No, any wood is subject to rot.
Even PT wood is graded for various exposure.
There is above ground, touching the ground, and below ground.
The main difference being the amount of preservative in it.

An excellent website about treated pine lumber.

Pooh Bear

Here is a link that might be useful: Use Category System

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 9:42PM
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HandyMac

All paints on the market today are non toxic when dry.

There are other woods available besides redwood and cedar. Ipe and cypress are both good choices.

As for the cost, be sure to factor in stain, sanding, painting, and maintenance ---that often makes a wood like cedar or cypress less expensive overall.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 11:02PM
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ericwi

If you build a porch floor out of pine, and it gets wet on a regular basis, it will begin to rot within a year, and might last 10 years if you keep it sealed and painted. If you were to build a shed of pine, and elevate the structure so it sits 6 inches off the ground, it might last 20 years or more. The vertical sides of the shed will get wet, but they will drain quickly and therefore will not stay wet continually. Redwood is definitely superior with regard to rot resistance, and a shed built of redwood might last 50 years or so. Is your playhouse going to have some sort of roof?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 11:20PM
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bibbo

Dont know yet, but I would like it to have some roof. It would be fun to sit in it with my daughter during the rain. But I think I see where you are going. If has a roof then the floor may not get as wet.

Pooh bear - when you said ANY wood is subject to rot, do you mean even Redwood?

Handyman thanks for the ipe and cypress tip I will look into that. And Ericwi thanks that made me think about how the playstruture will sit and where the rain will hit.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 4:07PM
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Pooh Bear

Yes, even redwood. I have torn off old rotten redwood decks.
It will last longer if you properly use a sealer on it.
But alas, eventually all species of wood rot.
Even railroad crossties that are treated with creasote eventually rot.
Wooden telephone poles are treated with creasote and
have to be inspected and periodically replaced.

The only wood I have seen that didn't rot was petrified.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 10:37PM
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brickeyee

"The only wood I have seen that didn't rot was petrified."

It already did the rot thing many thousands of years ago...

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 9:14AM
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Pooh Bear

Yeah, but that takes the charm out of the stuff.
You can get approximately the same effect using P.E.G.
At least it works by the same process, but is still wood.
You could stain it. But sealer finishes won't stick to it for long.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 2:37PM
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bibbo

----You can get approximately the same effect using P.E.G.
At least it works by the same process, but is still wood.
You could stain it. But sealer finishes won't stick to it for long.----

What is P.E.G?

thanks

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 3:54PM
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brickeyee

Polyethyleneglycol

It displaces the water in the cells of the wood and does not evaporate.
The cells remain full and so shrinkage is minimized.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 6:16PM
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Pooh Bear

And after it displaces the water it hardens.
It was designed to replace the air drying process for home kilns.
It worked exactly as it was designed to do. I've used the stuff.
But it won't take a finish. It's like trying to put finish on a rock.
You can stain it. But sealer coats won't stick to it for long.

I haven't seen the stuff in years. Is it even still available?

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 11:37PM
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stoneaxe

There is a new product coming out. It is poplar that has been heated to high temps to destroy the sugars. I just heard of it myself so I'm not sure of the details.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 7:28PM
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abnorm

PEG is available at Rockler ...........

Here is a link that might be useful: Rockler PEG

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 8:15AM
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brickeyee

"poplar"

One of the weakest hardwoods and not really suitable for anything but decorative trim.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 8:35AM
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Pooh Bear

That would be true for poplar lumber produced in the last few decades.
But poplar from 100 years ago contained a natural oil that made it rot
and insect resistant. It was great for siding on houses and barns.
Over the years as fast grown poplar replaced the old growth forests
the amount of this natural oil in the wood decreased.
Lumber produced today barely contains traces of the oil.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 6:17PM
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bibbo

OK so when it comes to stains, I want an environmental sound product that is safe for the kids to play on. Should I look for a redwood stain that is water based? Any brands you recommend?

As this post has been going on I found the best type of wood to use. Recycled.

I found a guy that was getting rid of his play structure that is about eight to ten years old. It is made of redwood. It is strong...I hung on it myself and at 200lbs it is more than strong enough for little kids. So I will sand this down and refinish it.

So what kind of stain should I use?

thanks is advance.

jack

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 8:17PM
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brickeyee

Use any stain you want.
Once sured they are all pretty much harmless.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 8:07AM
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HandyMac

Use a deck stain---those are formulated for outdoors/sun/etc.

Just get the stuff from a real paint store---Sherwin Williams/Benjamin Moore/etc.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 10:45AM
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bibbo

thanks

jack

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 2:43AM
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