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best way to seal pressure treated plywood

Discussion in 'General Construction' started by zaroba, Feb 20, 2006.

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  1. zaroba

    zaroba Elite Member

    unfortunatly, i've pretty much had to use pressure treated wood on my new viv. the local hardware store only sells regular and pressure treated lumber/plywood. no particle boards or other stuff commonly used for tanks. without a garage or big enough shed, i've had to build it outside in the rain/snow etc so went with pressure treated wood so it woulden't get all damaged before it was completed and brought inside. building it inside the house would have been extremly difficult, if not nearly impossible.

    so...what is a good way to waterproof it and seal it to stop chemicals from leaching out into the soil and killing everything in it?

    some stuff i was thinking of:
    -lining it in plexiglass or acrylic
    -covering the inside with a thick layer of aquarium sealent or epoxy resin
    -useing this rubber based fish pond safe stuff called Liquid Roof ( ) to seal it.

    anybody else have any better ideas or opinions about any of the above?
  2. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Pressure treated wood is pretty noxious stuff. Some of it even contains arsenic! With as much work as you already have put into it I doubt you want to scrap it and start over! What I would do is seal all wooden surfaces with several coats of polyurethane, and then set acrylic or plexiglass sheets inside to make sure that the wood doesn't come in contact with anything inside the tank.
  3. PCar

    PCar Elite Member

    I second merlin's suggestions. Something else that you could do if Acrylic or Plexi is not available is to coat with the sealer, and then paint the inside of the viv with a latex based paint. This will give a barier between the snake and the wood. But the plexi would be the best bet.
  4. zaroba

    zaroba Elite Member

    yea, although quite expensive, the plexiglass lining is what i was origionally planning since its the safest way to go. only problem with that is the local hardware stores only sell the super thin, super expensive storm window acrylic. none sell normal cheaper weaker thicker plexiglass. actually...i haven't checked at any craft stores yet or at the small junkyard near my work.

    hmm...linolium is waterproof, right? plus its easy to drill and adhears to wood.
    if so, that could probably work as well. it might offer the same protection as plexiglass or acrylic.
    would just need to use aquarium sealent around the edges and corners.
  5. PCar

    PCar Elite Member

    that could probably work too. Do you not have a home depot close by...I know that they have a lot of plexi, acrylic, and least the ones here do.
  6. zaroba

    zaroba Elite Member

    nah, thiers a lowes near me, i'm pretty sure they have linolium.

    am also seeing refrenses to useing Marine Epoxy in terrariums to seal the wood.

    might as well just scratsh polyurathane from the list. i know that it is good for short term waterproofing, but after a long time in contact with water, it deteriorates. i don't wanna have to completly empty and reseal the terrarium every few months.

    wonder if i could just melt down legos and poor em into the tank to make a 1/16" thick plastic seal :p
  7. zaroba

    zaroba Elite Member

    was looking around online at ways of sealing pressure treated wood. one thing i found out is that in 2003 the EPA has banned the use of CCA in residentual pressure treated wood. so manufactures have been useing Amine copper Quat or Copper Azole instead which contain no arsonic.

    Amine copper Quat contains copper as the primary fungicide and a quaternary ammonium compound as the secondary fungicide.
    Copper Azole is a copper-based preservative with Boron which is an organic secondary fungicide.

    (above info snagged from and is also on many other lumber sites)

    the water used in the viv will be filtered, and the gravel can act as somewhat as an undergravel filter does in an aquarium holding ammonia eating bacteria, so i doubt the ammonia part of the chems will be a problem.

    generally speaking:
    boron is a trace mineral that is essentual for plants and some recent studies show it may also be good for people. (

    copper is a trace lement that is essentual to most animals including humans. it helps metabolism and energy production. (

    now its just a matter of how safe the chems containing the copper, boron, and ammonia are to reptiles.
  8. PCar

    PCar Elite Member

    intersting finds there. Let us know what you come up with. would be really interested in what you find.
  9. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    But there is always the chance that some of it is still around. I would treat it like it was still toxic.
    Yes, as a trace amount. In larger quantities its also toxic. Copper is used to kill external parasites in marine fish. I would be concerned about any exposure to amphibians. If I remember correctly it will also destroy the nitrifying bacteria in an undergravel filter. I would still treat this wood as if it was toxic.
    Better safe than sorry.
  10. zaroba

    zaroba Elite Member

    lol, chances of finding still wet treated wood that is 3 years old are probably pretty slim :p

    but yes, better safe then sorry. i live by that and it is why i'm currently looking into lining the thing with plexiglass.
    have found a few plastic recyclers that buy and sell plastic and have found several other sites that sell it quite cheaply.
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