Rot Doctor

[Miscellaneous Q&A Index]

Subject: Creosote beams

Date: Thursday, November 26, 2020


We bought some 100+ year old beams we plan to use in our home. They were soaked in creosote a century ago and used in a railroad bridge. None of the creosote is visible on the outside but when they are cut they smell really bad. What product do you recommend to use Re seal these beams to prevent the smell from leaching out? Also does this darken the wood?



It depends on what you want the beams to look like when you are done. The S-1 Sealer would leave the wood the most natural looking. One coat will generally soak into the wood, without changing the look too much, as long as the wood isn’t sun bleached. If you want to know how this product will make the wood look, try sprinkling a few drops of water on the wood. Usually, on fresh cut wood, it will not change the color at all.

It might take a few coats of S-1 Sealer to seal the wood as much as possible. Doing multiple coats, letting them dry in between, can build up a shiny layer on the surface. This would not be UV resistant. You might be able to avoid a shiny layer if you wiped any excess off each time you applied.

I can’t guarantee that this will solve the problem 100%. But it should reduce the odor a significant amount. Maybe 95% or more. For a more thorough sealing, I would recommend a specialty barrier coat epoxy, with S-1 Sealer as a primer on the bare wood. We don’t sell this barrier coat, but we would be happy to advise you. This barrier coat would significantly change the look of the wood.


[Miscellaneous Q&A Index]

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