Wood Timbers and Beams – Cracks and Checking

Nothing beats the look and feel of real wood products.  They bring warmth, beauty and charm that just can’t be duplicated with synthetic building materials.  As natural wood lovers, when larger timbers and beams crack and “check” (as they always do), we believe it only adds to the special character and appeal that only natural wood can provide.

When a tree is harvested, about half of its weight is water.  Soon after, it then begins dry and shrink about twice as fast along the growth rings than across them.

Western Red Cedar Timbers and Beams

After it is milled, smaller lumber pieces will dry faster than wood manufactured into larger timbers, beams or heavier boards.  As the outer layers of the bigger pieces dry and shrink, the center of the timbers will stay moist longer.  All these changes cause the lumber to move, check and crack.  The larger the timber or beam, the larger the cracks, as well.

This is NOT a bad thing!

Checking normally begin on the exterior surface of a timber and are not a structural concern.  In fact, because it releases the tension that has built up, it actually makes the wood stronger.

Western Red Cedar Timber Checks

All wood species will check differently.  Denser exotic woods check more readily than softer woods, such as Douglas Fir and Cedar, however, checks in harder woods are generally smaller.

Ways to help minimize checking:

  • Generally speaking, higher grades of materials will have more stability. Especially when choosing “free of heart center” instead of “boxed heart” grade (as applicable)
  • When building with Douglas Fir, and some other hardwood species, some larger timbers and beams can be kiln dried
  • Use proper acclimation techniques. Store your wood off the ground, out of direct sunlight and allow the ends to breathe prior to installation
  • Seal cut ends of hardwood timbers immediately after cutting

Please note all wood timbers and beams will continue to move; take on moisture and shrink, especially those installed in exterior applications.  Checking on large timbers and beams, in many cases, does not occur until well after it is installed.  On a loose rule of thumb, softwood timbers (such as Cedar and Doug Fir) dry about 1” per year.  This means it can take 6 years for a 12×12” beam to reach equilibrium to its surroundings, and there will be movement and change throughout the whole process.

Custom milled Cedar and Doug Fir Timbers and Beams for sale

Our team of Wood Building Material Specialists are happy to discuss options on timbers and beams with you that are grown in the Pacific Northwest including Western Red Cedar, Alaska Yellow Cedar and Douglas Fir.

We ship nationwide!

360.757.6343

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington WA

www.CedarCountryLumber.com

 

 

Custom Milled Clear, Vertical Grain Alaska Yellow Cedar

Prized for both interior and exterior use due to its pale yellow color, work ability and longevity, Alaska Yellow Cedar was the chosen wood for this unique, modern home on Fidalgo Island in Washington state.  

custom milled 1x6 Clear Vertical Grain Yellow Cedar Cladding

Designed by local architect, Brooks Middleton, whom we have had the pleasure to work with on several local projects, called for clear, vertical grain Yellow Cedar (also known as Alaska Cypress and Pacific Coast Cypress) for accent walls inside the home, as well as for some of the exterior cladding.  Since what he was looking for was not an “off the shelf” product, we worked with our mill to manufacture the custom spec’d 6″ clear vertical grain (also referred to as VG) Yellow Cedar for the exterior siding, as well as the 8″ clear VG Yellow Cedar for the interior of the home.

Clear, vertical grain is highest grade of Cedar, and as you might guess, the most expensive.   The wood is sawn specifically so that all the growth rings are parallel to each other on the face of the board.  All pieces milled will have a smooth face of decay-resistant heartwood and will be free from most growth characteristics that affect appearance. Please note, that even in all the clear grades, including VG, some knots may be present, as well as other less-than-perfect characteristics.  Every tree, as well as every piece of lumber, will have natural individual characteristics, including variance in color.

Clear Alaska Yellow Cedar custom milled for Interior Use

When installing any natural wood product, regardless of grade, the trick is to install the best pieces in the areas with the highest visibility and always allow for some waste, especially in lower grades of clear and knotty Cedar products.

And before your next project, be sure to visit us! We specialize in working with customers with unique needs!

We ship nationwide!

360.757.6343

www.CedarCountryLumber.com

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington WA

 

 

 

Cedar and other Wood Specialty Patterns

If you can dream it up or need to match up a wood pattern that is no longer made, we work with a team of skilled mills that can help you achieve the custom pattern you desire or need in Western Red Cedar, Alaskan Yellow Cedar, Douglas Fir and just about any other hard or softwood. From exterior siding and cladding patterns to interior or exterior paneling, to airfoils and louvers, truly dimensional lumber…and everything else in between!

no gap Douglas fir interior wood accent wall

Custom Douglas Fir T&G Paneling adds warmth to this waiting room

Historical Wood Patterns

As the decades have passed, trends, as well as manufacturing practices, have come and gone in building materials.  When the time comes for restoring or repairing wood in vintage or historical buildings, it can often be difficult to find truly dimensional lumber and/or match old wood patterns.

Whether it be exterior siding patterns, interior wall or decking patterns that need to be matched up, we can help! The best place to start is to get us a sample of the pattern that needs to be matched, such as this double tongue and groove that measures 3-1/2” x 5-1/2” that was manufactured from clear Western Red Cedar well over 100 years ago. By carefully inspecting and measuring this sample, we were able to have this double tongue and groove timber created to the exact specifications of the piece that was provided for the historical restoration after a recent fire.

Clear Western Red Cedar Double Tongue and Groove Timber Historical Pattern we created for restoration of a commercial building

New Wood Patterns

With the current trend in custom building and remodeling including so much exterior and interior paneling for accent walls and ceilings, as well as lining closets and bathrooms; if there is a specific wood pattern your architect has dreamed up that hasn’t been done before, we can help! Since it hasn’t been produced before, a line drawing is created before production with the exact measurements noted and a recommendation of what grade and species of wood would work best for the application will be discussed.

architect created tongue and groove specialty wood pattern to be made out of clear, vertical grain Western Red Cedar

Note in this pattern that a special bevel is added to the profile to drain water away since this T&G will be used outdoors as cladding.  For optimum performance, we recommended that this pattern be manufactured out of clear Western Red Cedar.

Another new trend we are seeing quite a lot of in commercial building, as well as residential, is the use of wood louvers.  Naturally beautiful with the look that only real wood can provide.  Whether it be boards cut to specific dimensions or shaped into airfoils, such as this one, we work with mills that specialize in creating the perfectly sized and shaped louvers for your project in Western Red Cedar, Alaskan Yellow Cedar, Douglas Fir or most any other soft or hardwood desired.

We manufactured these airfoil louvers out of clear Western Red Cedar to the architect's exact specifications for a commercial project

To save money and time on the job, we can arrange to have your specialty wood pattern pre-primed or stained in most any color imaginable!

We applied a clear, penetrating oil stain to these Western Red Cedar airfoil louvers we had custom manufactured

Before your next project, be sure to visit us! We ship nationwide!

www.CedarCountryLumber.com

360.757.6343

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington WA

Fence Inspirations

Whether it is to keep critters in or out, define property lines or outdoor spaces, create visual interest or add privacy, a well thought out and properly constructed fence adds immediate “curb appeal” to any address.   From rustic to fancy, using real wood in your fence design adds the warmth and beauty that man made products just can’t duplicate.

Clear and knotty Western Red Cedar Fencing

 

Western Red Cedar Fencing

Prized for its natural durability and work-ability, Western Red Cedar has always been a top choice wood for outdoor fences.   For those wishing to create a traditional privacy fence at an economical price, standard 5′ or 6′ fence grade boards are great choice.  The fence boards are installed vertically by securing them to 2×4’s that have been screwed or nailed into fence posts.

Western Red Cedar Privacy Fence

Another option for a privacy fence that adds a bit more character and interest, is to install Western Red Cedar fence boards, deck boards or fascia grade boards vertically between posts.  Here is a great example

5/4x6" Western Red Cedar Decking Used as Vertically installed Fencing

5/4×6″ Western Red Cedar Decking Used as Fencing

For defining outdoor spaces or property lines, Western Red Cedar grapestake fencing and split rail fencing are popular choices when a rustic look is desired.

Western Red Cedar Split Rail Fencing

Western Red Cedar Split Rail Fencing

Another nice, economical and extremely durable type of fence made from Western Red Cedar and galvanized “hog wire” panels has gain a lot of popularity recently.  It is perfect for defining garden spaces.

Western Red Cedar and Galvanized Hog Wire Garden Fence

Unique and beautiful, this fence is constructed out of varying widths of Cedar boards and stained a beachy-white to compliment the landscape.

Western Red Cedar Fence Ideas

This amazing fence was built by our customer in California using Clear Western Red Cedar dimensional lumber.

custom clear western red cedar fence

Alaskan Yellow Cedar Fence

Also extremely durable do it is natural properties, a fence constructed of Alaskan Yellow Cedar will provide many years of carefree service.  In these photos, Yellow Cedar boards are installed vertically to define this landscape.

Alaskan Yellow Cedar Boards used for fencing

Yellow Cypress landscape fence

In this backyard, combination of 1×3″ and 1×6″Alaskan Yellow Cedar boards are installed vertically to create this outdoor living space.

Alaskan Yellow Cedar back yard privacy fence

Hardwoods Used as Fencing

When the highest quality and durability is wanted, hardwoods such as Red Balau “Mahogany” and Ipe “Ironwood”, can be naturally beautiful choice for fencing.

mahogany fence

5/4×6″ Mahogany Decking Boards are installed vertically between masonry columns

 

For more fence inspiration, please visit us on Pinterest! We’ve got lots of ideas waiting for you!

Before your next project, be sure to visit us!

www.CedarCountryLumber.com

360.757.6343

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington WA

We ship nationwide!

Matching and Creating Historical Wood Siding Patterns

As a specialty building materials distributor, one of our areas of expertise is in assisting our customers in creating unique siding patterns out of Cedar or Douglas Fir, as well as matching historical wood siding patterns that are no longer commonly used.  Our staff is well trained and versed in helping customers throughout the United States in matching wood siding patters to help maintaining a building’s historical architectural details.   From custom ship lap patterns to log cabin sidings, tongue and groove patterns to channel sidings, we work closely with our customer to ensure the old world charm and exact specifications needed are met.

Custom Western Red Cedar Siding Patterns

Just recently, we were contacted to help match this clear, vertical grain Western Red Cedar 10” drop siding (also referred to as Dutch Lap Siding) for a repair that needs to be done on a very old cabin.   Since drop siding is no longer commonly produced in a 10” profile in Western Red Cedar, we are working with the contractor to make just enough of the cedar siding to make the repair in the most cost effective manner possible to maintain the look of the cabin.   In this case, since the siding is painted, it can be easier to create something that will look exactly the same as the existing siding when the new pieces are installed and coated.

Vintage 10" Clear, Vertical Grain Western Red Cedar drop siding

clear, vertical grain western red cedar dutch lap siding

Historical Clear, Vertical Grain Old Growth Western Red Cedar painted drop siding

Other projects we have had the pleasure of working with include providing this fully dimensional 5/4×12” clear, vertical grain Western Red Cedar planks for a historical restoration of a Frank Lloyd Wright home in Michigan.  The Clear Cedar planks are installed directly over mahogany strips, just exactly as Frank designed the look many years ago.

5/4x12" Clear Vertical Grain full Dimension for Frank Lloyd Wright Project in MI

Need help matching a siding pattern?  Our process begins by carefully examining a piece of the existing siding.  It is carefully measured and a “line drawing” is created and submitted to our customer for review.

Custom Historical Wood Siding Patterns for Sale

Next, we discuss the options of what material will be used to create the wood siding.  As mentioned previously, if the siding is to be painted, we have more options of grade and how the material will be manufactured.  If the siding will be left natural or stained, it will be of upmost importance to match the species and grade of wood exactly to what is on the building.  We specialize in providing custom siding patterns in Western Red Cedar, Alaskan Yellow Cedar, Douglas Fir and other exotic and domestic hard and soft woods.

Before your next project, be sure to visit us!

www.CedarCountryLumber.com

360.757.6343

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington, WA  98233

We ship nationwide!

 

Snow Continues to Fall in the PNW

For over the past week, our region has been hit with an unusual amount of snow and freezing weather, which has made it difficult for travel, by our employees, vendors and customers.  We continue to watch carefully and are working limited hours, but checking emails regularly.

Western Red cedar arbor in snow

Getting our Cedar products in an out have proven to be a challenge.  However, we were able to get a nice shipment of custom, Clear Western Red Cedar siding out to a customer in California yesterday.

We ship Western Red Cedar building materials nationwide

Western red cedar and Alaskan yellow cedar lumber sales

Wishing all our customers and vendors safe travels and hope you enjoy slowing down just a little to enjoy what Mother Nature has brought us.

Western Red Cedar timbers and Alaskan Yellow Cedar fencing

www.CedarCountryLumber.com

360.757.6343

**Pricing Update** Cedar Shingles and Shakes imported from Canada

Things are still being sorted out regarding the softwood agreement and imposed tariffs by the US on Canadian softwood imports.  The last softwood agreement between our two countries was signed in 2006, and as of date, a new agreement has not been put in place.

Initially it appeared that coniferous shingles and shakes were not part of the expired agreement and pricing has stayed somewhat stable.  However, just days ago, the U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection have determined that coniferous shingles and shakes were part of this agreement and are now subject to the increased tariffs.

Today we received notice that all of the Western Red Cedar and Alaskan Yellow Cedar Shingles and Shakes we import from Canada have increased in price 20 – 25%.  Due to this, we are unable honor any previous quotes on Cedar Shingles or Shakes.

For current pricing, please contact our sales staff

We can be reached at 360.757.6343 or by emailing sales@cedarcountrylumber.com

Western Red Cedar Shingles subject to new duties and tariffs

Canada has submitted a request for a meeting with the World Trade Organization to assist in the dispute with the US and Canada lumber softwood exports.  However, due to the strong demand from the rise in new housing in the US and tight supply, Canadian softwood lumber producers don’t appear to be concerned too much and prices are expected to be high on all Canadian grown coastal Cedar and other imported softwoods throughout 2018.

For more information, please see the latest developments by clicking HERE

www.CedarCountryLumber.com

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington WA  98233