Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wood Decking Products

Treated Pine In our area of Michigan Treated Pine is the most common and affordable deck and railing material we see. Most all deck frames are built from treated pine. Whether you are going with composite, cedar, PVC or something else, the frame of the deck is treated pine. The difference is in the deck boards and the railings. A couple of things come to mind with Treated Pine decks. 1) The treatment they use to enhance the exterior use of the pine wood corrodes fasteners and flashings. So you must use galvanized fasteners and copper or vinyl flashings. Also any aluminum balusters or porch posts cannot be touching the treated wood. If so, you should use a peal-n-stick flashing membrane or tar paper to separate between the aluminum and the treated wood. 2) The treated wood decks should dry out before staining, usually 1 or 2 months. The treated wood comes with a high moisture contents from the lumberyard and needs to dry out some before staining. Select Cut from Biewer Lumber is our first choice in treated pine. Cedar Also here in Michigan, cedar wood is a very common decking product choice. Cedar is a naturally rot resistant wood used for exterior applications. Western Red Cedar is the nicest we see in our area. It is a beautiful colored wood with a very soft grain. There is no treatment applied to the Cedar wood so it can be used with aluminum. We usually recommend stainless steel or at least galvanized fasteners. The big difference between treated pine and the Cedar is price; generally speaking Cedar is about a 1/3 more for materials than the treated pine. With either of these two choices you have to set it in your mind that you have to maintain these products. Stay away from painting these woods and look for a good quality stain preferably a penetrating oil stain. Some examples of penetrating oil stains are: Cabot’s Australian Timber Oil, TWP, Penofin. For solid colored stains try Sherman Williams Deckscapes. We usually try to apply 2 or 3 light coats of an oil finish waiting for drying between coats. Tropical Hardwoods Ipe, Cumaru, Tiger Wood, and Garapa are just a few of the choices you have for tropical hardwood decking products. Tropical hardwoods are some of the hardest woods in the world and some can last outside for 100 years un-finished! They are not very common here in Michigan, but used in many other parts of the country. It should be considered here in Michigan more for a decking product choice. Ipe (Brazilian Walnut) is a beautiful reddish, brown wood that looks a lot like Mahogany. Ipe is extremely hard. You have to pre-drill and counter sink all your screws. The boardwalk in Atlantic City is Ipe wood and is considered by many as the best decking product in the world. Cumaru (Brazilian Teak) is almost as hard as Ipe and some boards can look very much like Ipe - reddish brown and some boards are a much lighter yellowish color. It kind of reminds me of American Cherry, which can have dark and light colored boards. Tiger Wood (Goncalo Alves) is also similar colored as the Cumaru, but with dark black streaks that run throughout the boards that give it the exotic tiger looking effect. Again with all the tropical hardwoods, they are extremely hard. They have to be pre-drilled and counter screwed down. All of these hardwoods are rated to last outside for 25 years un-finished. Garapa (Brazilian Ash) is a blond colored tropical hardwood. It is known for having a very smooth and scratch resistant surface. Ipe is the most expensive of the four. The materials are priced similar to typical composite such as Timber Tech or Trex, but the labor is about a 1/3 more because of the pre-drill counter screw method. Tiger Wood is the most affordable of the four and is does not cost that much more than Cedar. It is much harder than the Cedar, which makes it a much better choice overall. Garapa and Cumaru fall somewhere between the Ipe and Tiger Wood pricing. One challenge is the railing options for the tropical hardwoods. It is very expensive to build your railings completely from the same tropical hardwood. Usually you would choose a contrasting railing option, such as Fortress Wrought Iron rails and use some of the tropical hardwood for the rail posts and top cap rail, or just use all Fortress railings. Overall the Tropical Hardwoods are one on the best choices for decking on the market. Especially if you don’t mind staining them to keep the rich hardwood flooring look of the wood. If you choose a maintenance free railing (the most difficult part of staining a deck is the railings) you will only have the deck boards to maintain. Your staining job will be quite easy. For pictures and more information on the different wood products, click on the links below each paragraph Bayn - AutumnWood Construction Inc.

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