The short answer to ‘is reclaimed wood safe?’ depends on where it has come from and where you want to use it. It is important to know the source of your relaimed wood so you can make an informed decision if it right for your project or not.
Browse your social media feed for projects using reclaimed wood or barnwood, and be amazed and impressed. There are literally thousands of projects that take reclaimed wood, pallet wood and barnwood and turn them into something beautiful.
You should be aware of some things before taking on the challenge of a reclaimed wood project. You’ll need to be aware when it comes to reclaimed wood that it’s not only about sustainability and being environmentally friendly, it’s also about possible implications for your health. There are a few considerations you may not have known about pallet wood, barn wood, or salvaged wood as a choice for your DIY project.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) In Reclaimed Wood
A process called “off-gassing” or “out-gassing” occurs when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released into an environment from certain types of reclaimed wood. VOCs can have adverse effects on the health of people and animals.
Generally, this won’t be an issue for outdoor siding projects, but tainted recycled wood inside your house (or used to raise your vegetable garden) can release VOCs into the air or soil that can pose health hazards. Make sure that any barn wood or pallet wood that you bring into your home has not been chemically treated. So that is a ‘no’ for any chemically treated wood, but ‘ok’ for temperature treated pallet wood.
Moldy Reclaimed Wood
Ideally, when using recycled wood, it should have had no contact with the ground or been exposed to moisture due to rain. Wood with visible mold and mildew will look white and fuzzy. You can treat wood with a bleach or vinegar solution and let it dry for a couple of weeks, but you’re better off avoiding it altogether.