Is it OK to burn finished flooring in a fire pit outdoors?

Q: I am removing old hardwood flooring which is stained and urethaned. Is it OK to burn the finished flooring in a fire pit outdoors?

A: I think I would be cautious with burning wood flooring. You and I do not know if, for example, that coating contains lead or not. It is my understanding that lead was still used in some varnish up to the mid 1970’s. You might also consider local regulations.

Similar Q: I have gotten some wood from an old gym floor, most of which was just cut out and torn up and made useless, except perhaps as firewood. Can this wood, which has several coats of varnish and some paint, be safely burned in my wood burner?

A: I wouldn’t recommend doing that. You don’t know what chemicals may be released when burning. What if the coatings have lead in it?