Pressure-treated wood is a popular kind of wood to use when building houses for humans, but this doesn’t mean that it’s the best choice to use when you are building bird houses.
When building a birdhouse, it is best to use wood that is not treated in any way. This may mean that the bird house will not last as long as a structure that used treated wood, but it will not be harmful to the birds.
If you are looking to build a birdhouse, you should avoid using pressure-treated wood. There are plenty of other options and ways that you can treat wood naturally, if you are looking specifically for a long-lasting type of wood to build with.
Will a Bird Use a Pressure-Treated Wood House?
A bird will not be able to tell the difference between regular wood and pressure-treated wood, so they will use a house made out of pressure-treated wood the same as they would use a house that was made of regular wood.
Physically and visually, a birdhouse that is made of pressure-treated wood rather than untreated wood would be about the same. Unless you were an expert, you might not even be able to tell if a birdhouse was made of pressure-treated wood just by looking at it.
Birds will usually not care what material a birdhouse is made out of, as long as the size and location are suitable for the bird’s needs.
Process of Making Pressure-Treated Wood
Pressure-treated wood is created through complex machinery. The process puts the wood through a vacuum, removing the air from it.
After the air is removed, the wood is drenched in chemicals that are then pressed into the wood with 160 pounds of pressure. These chemicals are the ingredient that will make it so the strength and durability of the wood is increased.
Once the treatment process is over, the wood is left out to dry. The process that wood goes through includes chemicals that are toxic, but once the process is complete, the chemicals mostly evaporate from the wood.
Through this technique, wood becomes more resistant to weather and fire. It also becomes sturdier and longer-lasting, making it the best kind of wood to use for many construction projects.
Why Is Pressure-Treated Wood Bad for Birds?
You may not be able to see it just by looking at a plank of pressure-treated wood, but it has chemicals that are toxic to birds. The birds won’t be able to tell that pressure-treated wood has chemicals, so it is important that you avoid using it, as the birds are not able to differentiate between a wood that would be healthier for them to live in.
When pressure-treated wood is used for a human house, it is part of the skeletal structure of the house, so humans don’t usually come into contact with it as often as a bird would if it lived inside of a birdhouse made of pressure-treated wood. This is why it is perfectly safe to use in a regular house, but is a different story when it is used in a birdhouse.
Pressure-treated wood has a lot of benefits for building solid, long-lasting structures, but it is not always the best option when you consider that it may be damaging to the health of the birds.
If you are building a birdhouse, it is likely that you are interested in the health and safety of the birds that are going to live inside it. To be safe, you should avoid using any kind of pre-treated wood when you are building a birdhouse, no matter how much more convenient it might be.
How Unsafe Is Pressure-Treated Wood?
Pressure-treated wood is created with toxic chemicals and it is advised that you do not use it when you are building a birdhouse, but this doesn’t mean that it’s highly dangerous.
The effects of using pressure-treated wood on birdhouses are not closely studied enough to know the extent of the way it would affect birds. The chemicals are definitely unhealthy and should not be used in a birdhouse, but it doesn’t mean that the wood will be life-threatening to birds.
It could cause illness or discomfort to the birds, however. Because the effects are not entirely known, it is best to stay on the safe side and avoid using this kind of wood when you are building bird houses.
Studies have not been done to research what the effects of treated wood might have on any eggs or hatched baby birds that live in a birdhouse. When you are making a birdhouse, it is better to be safe and put the health of the baby birds before the small extra convenience of using treated wood.
How to Make a Lasting Birdhouse
If you are not using pressure-treated wood, it will be more difficult to keep a birdhouse that will last for a long time. However, this does not mean that your birdhouse will not be able to last for years to come.
Treated wood protects a structure from environmental things that can cause damage, such as rain that will eventually cause the wood to rot. Pressure-treated wood is also more fire-resistant, but that should not be as significant of a problem for a birdhouse as it would for a house that humans live in.
However, there are other ways you can ensure that a birdhouse will last that do not include using pressure-treated wood.
Using linseed oil on the outside of a birdhouse will protect it from water. The oil is known to be a natural water repellant, and is used often on other structures such as fences.
Another great option for a natural way to protect and treat wood is neem seed oil. This oil is used to protect wood from insects, which can burrow into the wood and destroy it.
Best Kind of Wood to Use for Birdhouses
Before you build a birdhouse, you should look around your local hardware stores to see what kinds of wood are readily available.
Different trees produce wood that have different amounts of strength and durability, which will all factor into how easy it is to build with them and how long the finished structure will last outside.
Two of the best woods to use when building a birdhouse are cedar and redwood. These two woods are some of the longest-lasting untreated woods that you can find.
You do not have to use cedar or redwood when building a birdhouse. Pretty much any kind of wood will get the job done, but if you are interested in keeping the structure for the longest amount of time possible, you should buy higher-quality wood.
Using high-quality wood will ensure that your structure will last as long as possible, since you should use untreated wood for a birdhouse. If you want to use a natural treatment on the wood, such as linseed oil or neem seed oil, this will be a good non-toxic way to make the structure last even longer.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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