Structural Beam Creosote Railroad Ties

Is an inspector required to list visible creosote railroad ties used in the house structure in their report? Thank you!

Creosote is a hazardous material and should never be used within the building envelope!


There’s really nothing specific in any SOPs I can think of but I’d mention it as a potential health hazard and that the odor is objectionable to most people.


I even put it in my report if they are outside the home. In the sun and heat the creosote will leach out. I list it as a potential health hazard. Don’t’ do the lick test on these :rofl:


Maxwell: Alternative to creosote wood preservative | The Star.

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Google is your friend…!


@jjonas I am sorry - I do not understand what you would like me to google. I believe the beams used in my house were treated with creosote (or possibly Penta - hazardous either way and my nose is not trained to distinguish between the two). I am unable to find a test kit for it, but there is a strong chemical odor coming from the wall in the primary bedroom and there is an identical smell on the many railroad ties the seller used outside for landscaping. I have googled the heck out of things for hours… am I missing something I should have googled? I was wondering if it is required (or perhaps not required but standard practice) to be mentioned in my inspection report when we purchased the house. The bedroom smelled a little strange when we toured the home, but we assumed we would replace the carpet and move along with our day. Not quite that simple as it turns out. Thank you for your replies. Appreciate the perspective. If there is anything more I should google I am very thankful for your insight!

Per InterNACHI SoP, environmental hazards are specifically excluded. I recommend you read your inspection agreement that you signed prior to the inspection for specifics. Not every state and not every inspector uses the NACHI SoP.


Just for reference what State do you live in?

Also where where these members used in the home? Can you provide a description?

Also can you tell us how old the home is?

It’s non-prescriptive construction. I had a house ten years ago whose main carrying beam was an actual 1880’s era steel railroad rail. Report what you see.