I built a bed for my son out of Pine (from plans on the internet.) I am going to paint it white. What kinds of preparation do I need to do to the wood, especially considering the 4 posts are from pressure-treated pine -- the kind of wood you use on a deck that you buy from Home Depot that probably is treated to keep away insects and repel moisture.

Sanding - how fine? 220 grit?

Anything after sanding like a sealant?

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3 Answers 3


I would not ever use pressure-treated wood for any internal application - framing or furniture. Go buy non-pressure treated 4x4s, or sister together two 2x4s to build 4x4s.

Otherwise, I sand pine down to 180 grit, prime, and paint.


For outdoor use, I've always heard that you have to let treated wood dry for a year before painting, but the exact time may vary based on how dry the local climate is.

But Adam Musch is right -- pressure treated is treated with poison -- arsenic, copper, cyanide (until about 2003, when most companies started using less poisonous chemicals). You don't want to be using it inside, and sanding's a bad idea unless you're vaccuuming up the dust and wearing as mask.

  • Uh...so...let me get this straight. I've just built a bed that my 2 year old will sleep on and the posts are POISON?!? Holy crap. Well, I think I can change out the posts. I wish I would have known this before I started. Thanks Home Depot guy who helped me pick out all the wood and knew what it was for...
    – Matt
    Sep 29, 2010 at 21:25
  • Here's an article from the University of Rhode Island on indoor use of pressure treated wood: uri.edu/ce/factsheets/sheets/chemwood.html
    – Doresoom
    Sep 29, 2010 at 21:39
  • 1
    @Doresoom - that is for CCA treated wood, which is completely different from the new ACQ treated wood. Sep 29, 2010 at 21:41
  • @Eric - If you scroll down and read the indoor section, it mentions non-CCA treated wood, such as pentachlorophenol and creosote as well. True, it does not mention ACQ.
    – Doresoom
    Sep 29, 2010 at 21:53
  • @Matt, the good news is that it's likely less poisonous than the old treatments (although, some places still sell the CCA treated wood for really wet areas, so it's possible). But even with that, the newer formulas have only been around for ~20 years, and copper can accumulate to the point where it requires a liver translant, but I have no idea where to look for studies on if ACQ lumber can transfer copper from skin contact. If given the choice, I'd play it safe and replace the posts (especially as we don't know what type of treatment it had). Wood's cheap compared to health.
    – Joe
    Sep 30, 2010 at 17:49

I would never use the old CCA treated wood in an exposed indoor area, especially for a toddler bed.

However, contrary to what others have said, the new ACQ treated wood should be perfectly safe. It does not contain aresenic or cyanide.

Also, ACQ wood has a much higher copper content than the old CCA wood did (to make up for not having the arsenic). Because of this, it is much more corrosive to fasteners. Make sure you use either hot-dipped galvanized or stainless steel fasteners to ensure that they don't corrode and fail on you.

  • Corrosion with ACQ is definitely an issue outdoors where lumber & fasteners are exposed to water, but indoors I bet it wouldn't be nearly as much of an issue. Certainly worth keeping an eye on though. Sep 30, 2010 at 2:03

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