Your Next Outdoor Project:  Why Hiring a Contractor Might be Your Best Bet

Drive through most any neighborhood these days and you’ll see that outdoor living is on the top of everyone’s minds.  From simple decks to massive outdoor structures, including patio covers and pergolas, with so many options in materials, as well as installation methods and tools needed to get the job done right, hiring a contractor might just be your best bet.  And money well spent.

Western Red Cedar Patio Cover

Here are some reasons to think about getting some professional help with your next outdoor project:

Design – while Pinterest and magazines have many pictures of beautiful outdoor living spaces, will it actually work in your yard?  A professional can help you design a space that will work well with the size of your property, while taking things into consideration such as the natural slope and other factors, and make recommendations that can turn a basic deck or outdoor living room into a masterpiece.

Custom Pergola made from Azek PVC materials

design, craftsmanship and photo by Skagit Custom Decks

 

Engineering and Complexity – Each outdoor project is as unique as the person dreaming about it, and each project brings its own set of things that need to be considered, such as weight bearing requirements (for example a if a hot tub will be placed on your new deck), electrical needs, and attachment points.  If a new deck or pergola will be attached to any existing structures, an expert knows how to properly attach a ledger board to your home’s exterior to ensure both your new structure, and your home, are safely connected and protected.

Mahogany decking and outdoor fire place

design, craftsmanship and photo by Washington Deck and Fence

 

Material Selection – with so many options from natural wood to a composites and other manufactured decking projects, stainless steel and more, a professional has spent the time researching and working with a variety of materials and can help you select the ones that will work best for your project and budget.  With tons of experience, they know how to correctly purchase the right amount of materials from the best suppliers, with the best support.

Western Red Cedar Pergola Materials

design, craftsmanship and photo by Hillman’s Tranquil Hardscapes

 

Permitting – a professional has experience and will be able to interpret your city, county and state building codes, as well as navigate the permitting process seamlessly.   This expertise can help save you lots of time and money.

Hiring a Contractor for Outdoor Living Projects

design, craftsmanship and photo by Minnesota Pergolas

 

How to find a good contractor?  Always check to make sure anyone who will be doing work on your property is properly licensed and bonded.  Your local building association is a great resource to find one in your area who is experienced in the type of project you want, and you can always be assured that they are properly licensed and bonded, as that is a requirement of membership.  For help in Skagit and Island Counties, please visit www.Sicba.org for assistance.  Outside our area, you can search the data base of the National Association of Home Builders to find your local association by simply entering your zip code.

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

www.CedarCountryLumber.com

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington WA

360.757.6343

 

Cleaning Your Cedar Deck

Like all products that are exposed to the outdoors, a deck top of Cedar (as well as any other wood or manufactured decking) will be come dirty and require some routine maintenance.   A deck that is kept free of dirt and debris, both on the deck surface, as well as underneath to allow air flow, will last longer and look better.

Annually, your deck should be inspected thoroughly and cleaned for optimum results, whether you plan on re-staining it or allowing it go naturally grey.

Start by giving your Cedar deck a good sweeping and remove any leaves or other debris underneath the deck.  Depending on how dirty the deck is, if needed, you can use a pressure washer fitted with a fan tip to loosen any stuck on dirt.  Be sure to set the pressure to around 500 psi to 600 pounds per square inch (psi), any higher could cause the grain to come up or cause damage to the decking boards.

While there are many deck cleaners available on the market, we have found a solution of warm water, TSP (trisodium phosphate) and a small amount of bleach (or powdered oxygen bleach like Oxiclean) to work really well and be very cost effective.  Spray the solution on with an inexpensive garden sprayer, let sit about 5 minutes, scrub with a soft bristle cleaning brush where needed, and then rinse with thoroughly water.  This should bring the Cedar deck top back to almost new condition.  For help with specific problems or stains, check out our blog on those by clicking HERE

We supplied the Clear, Western Red Cedar decking for this project a little over a year ago.  Our customer just recently gave it a annual good cleaning, and as you can see, the deck top is brought back to “like new” condition.

How to clean cedar deck

Before your next project, be sure to visit us!

360.757.6343

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington WA

We ship nationwide!

www.CedarCountryLumber.com

 

Clear Western Red Cedar Building Materials Used for Custom Fence

Grown only in the Pacific Northwest, Thuja plicata, commonly referred to as Western Red Cedar, is the ultimate building material for outdoor applications due to its natural durability and work-ability.  It is resistant to rot, decay and insect attacks.  This means that anything built with it will last longer and require less maintenance.  Aesthetically, there is no parallel for the natural beauty of Western Red Cedar.

Western Red Cedar is available in different grades, including the one that is just right for your project.  From casual knotty grades to clear grades, each offers its own unique style to help you achieve the architectural element you desire.

When a motivated home owner in California contacted us about supplying him with Western Red Cedar for a fence he wanted to build, he also provided us with pictures he found on Pinterest.  This helped us determine what grade and dimension of Western Red Cedar he was interested in using for his custom fence.

With his handy work, and our high quality, clear Western Red Cedar, he was able to create an amazing feature on his property that will last for many, many years!

“Michele – G’Morning. I wanted to thank you for all you did and providing the Cedar Lumber. I wanted to send you couple pictures of the end result, it turned out amazing” – Rick

custom gate constructed from clear Western Red Cedar lumber

custom fence made from clear western red cedar lumber

When specifying materials for your next project, don’t be disappointed, insist on Western Red Cedar, the Cedar that is grown in our back yard!  Even with shipping, (in most instances) the pricing is comparable to your local lumber yard with the quality and supply much better.

360.757.6343

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington WA

www.CedarCountryLumber.com

We ship nationwide!

 

Western Red Cedar Garden Bed Material

Now that the weather has turned, it is time to start thinking about putting in (or adding to) a backyard garden and raised beds are one of the easiest to ways to get started.  For a whole list of the benefits of raised garden beds, please see our post on that subject by clicking HERE

Limited to stock on hand, our 2×12″ utility grade Western Red Cedar is the ultimate choice for constructing new beds.  Naturally resistant to rot and decay, easy to work with and beautiful!

PRO TIP:  If you are planning on growing carrots or any other root vegetables, your raised garden beds need to be at the very least 10″ deep.

Our value priced 2x12" cedar boards are perfect to raised garden beds

 

Western Red Cedar raised garden beds should be at least 10" deep

Western Red Cedar Raised Bed Garden

Due to exceptional pricing, our utility grade “value priced” Western Red Cedar garden material is sold as is with no returns or exchanges.  Limited to lengths and stock on hand.

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

360.757.6343

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington WA

www.CedarCountryLumber.com

 

 

Western Red Cedar Split Rail Fencing

One of the oldest types of fencing, split railing fencing made from high quality Western Red Cedar is a popular and economical choice for defining property lines and other outdoor spaces, as well as adding rustic beauty to the landscape.  Due to Western Red Cedar’s natural properties that resist rot and decay, as well as insect attack, Western Red Cedar split rail fences will last for many years with no maintenance.

Our Western Red Cedar split rail posts and rails are all individually split, peeled and formed to expose the cedar’s natural color and grain.  Our split rail posts are pre-drilled for use as an end, corner or line with either two or three holes to accommodate the rails.  Two rail posts will yield a fence with a finished height of approximately three feet, while the three rail post system provides a finished fence height of approximately four feet.

Split rail fencing end posts are drilled halfway through and are used as starting and stopping points in the fence.  Line posts are drilled all the way through to support rails on either side, while corner posts are drilled halfway through on adjoining sides to create right angles.

Western Red Cedar Split Rail Fence

Cedar split rails can be used in conjunction with either the two rail or three rail system and have a tenon on each end to slide into the split rail post.

Western Red Cedar Split Rail Fence tenon end

If needed, in addition to “standard” sized rails, we offer Jumbo rails that are more heavy duty and average 12”+ in circumference.  Jumbo cedar split rails are available in 10’ lengths.  The standard cedar split rails are generally about 10” in circumference and are available in 8’ or 10′ lengths.

Two hole split rail western red cedar fence

Out of all fencing types, Western Red Cedar split rail fencing is one of the easiest to install, making it a good project for homeowners.  Once the posts have been set, the ends of the rails slip easily in place.

How to install Western Red Cedar Split Rail Fencing

  1. Practice due diligence to ensure where you are planning to place your Western Red Cedar split rail fence is on your property and does not interfere with boundaries, under ground utilities or your neighbor’s property

 

  1. Contact your local building department to discuss your local building codes and permitting requirements for your proposed new fence

 

  1. Since the rails are pre-cut, layout the fence with those lengths in mind. However, since it is likely to not layout perfectly, consider either shortening the overall length of your fence or shortening the fence rails to create shorter sections at each end by cutting the rails and trimming the ends to fit into the pre-drilled holes on the post.

 

  1. Stake out your fence line and determine where each post will be placed by using the same measurement as your rails. The center of the post will be placed either 8’ or 10’ apart based on the length of rail you have chosen.

 

  1. Layout the posts and rails along your line to ensure a correct fit before you begin digging holes. Adjust as necessary.  This can save time later on.  And a lot of digging.

 

  1. We suggest using a post hole digger to ensure that you are able to secure each Western Red Cedar split rail post into the ground securely. When digging your holes, plan for a clearance of at least six inches from the ground to the lowest rail.  Adding a layer of gravel to the bottom of each hole can help with drainage, especially in wet climates.

 

  1. Place your end and/or corner posts first, ensuring they are plumb and straight, then back fill. Next connect each post with a string line.  This will help your fence stay straight as you dig holes and place your other cedar split rail posts along the line.

 

  1. Staying along your string line, dig holes for each cedar split rail post, set each post and insert the split rails into each post, while checking each post for plumb and alignment.  Then, fill each hole with soil and tamp firmly.

Western Red Cedar Split rail fencing for sale

Before your next project, be sure to visit us!

www.CedarCountryLumber.com

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington WA

360.757.6343

 

DYI Tips for Installing Western Red Cedar Tongue and Groove Paneling

Western Red Cedar has been a prized building material for thousands of years due to its versatility, longevity and natural beauty.   In more recent years, it has been identified and praised for its use in “green building”.  All natural wood products, including Western Red Cedar, have been shown to have the least impact on the environment through their life cycle. Western Red Cedar building materials require less energy to produce than man made alternatives, are biodegradable, and are completely renewable and sustainable.

For interior, as well as exterior use, Western Red Cedar tongue and groove (T&G) paneling can be installed vertically, horizontally or diagonally.  It is commonly used as an exterior siding and cladding, in soffits and for ceilings, as well as either interior or exterior accent walls or paneling.

In clear grades, Western Red Cedar T&G it is commonly supplied in thicknesses of 7/16” or 1” in either 4 or 6” widths, while knotty T&G is commonly supplied in 1” thickness in either 4, 6 or 8” widths.   Either are available in a variety of profiles.

The various grades and thicknesses of T&G are designed for specific appearances and uses.  Our sales team is happy to discuss these with you to ensure you receive the correct product for your intended use.  Upon receipt of your Cedar T&G, it should be inspected to ensure it is the correct product that you and your sales person discussed, and that it is not damaged or visually unacceptable in any way before beginning installation.   Please note, however, since Western Red Cedar is a natural material, color variations, as well as some defects, are allowable within in each chosen grade.

Be sure to choose a fastener that has a high level of corrosion resistance that is recommended for use with Western Red Cedar.   Should your Cedar T&G be installed near salt water or in another area with high condensation, a severe level of corrosion resistant fastener should be selected.   We recommend using stainless steel ring shank nails in the appropriate grade for where the product is to be installed. The nails used need to penetrate at least 1 ¼” solid wood.   Plywood, sheet rock and/or particle board, or similar sheeting is NOT considered solid wood.

HORIZONTAL or DIAGONAL INSTALLATION:  Start at the bottom and work up with the groove edges facing downwards and the tongues up.  Cedar T&G up to 6” wide can be “blind nailed” through the tongue at an approximate 45 degree angle with one nail into each framing member.  Should the framing be covered by sheetrock, plywood or house wrap, before beginning installation, snap a chalklike or mark a line over the covering to ensure you nail at least 1-1/4” into the framing each and every time during installation.   T&G wider than 6” and those starter pieces and ending pieces will need to nailed to the framing through the face.  As you move up the wall, be sure to tap each piece into place with a rubber mallet and check to be sure you are staying level.

Clear, Mixed Grain Western Red Cedar Tongue and Groove Paneling Exterior Accent Wall

We supplied the Clear, Mixed Grain Western Red Cedar Tongue and Groove Paneling for this stunning accent wall of the newly constructed Craft Stove in Mount Vernon, WA

VERTICAL INSTALLATION:  Since framing generally runs up and down, you will need to provide “nailers”, horizontal blocking lines, or furring strips for the T&G to be installed properly.  Each piece of Cedar T&G will need to be secured to solid wood with at least an 1-1/4” penetration approximately every 12”.   Once the nailers are in place, use a level or plumb line to ensure the first board is installed plumb.  As with horizontal installation, pieces up to 6 inches in width can be blind nailed.  Wider pieces, as well as those in the beginning and the end, will need to be nailed directly through the face of the T&G into the solid wood behind.  Lightly tap each piece into to place and be sure to you are staying plumb throughout your installation.

Knotty Western Red Cedar Tongue and Groove Siding Cladding installed vertically

We supplied the knotty Western Red Cedar T&G that was installed vertically on this cute little cabin on Guemes Island, WA

Should you have more questions or concerns about how to install your Western Red Cedar Tongue and Groove paneling, please do not hesitate to discuss this with your sales person prior to installation of your product to ensure your Cedar T&G will perform at its best for you.

Before your next project, be sure to visit us!

www.CedarCountryLumber.com

360.757.6343

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington WA

 

Teepee Inspired Wedding Backdrop

A simple, yet beautiful, naked teepee makes a unique backdrop for a rustic country garden wedding.  Because it is easy to work with, as well as light in weight, Western Red Cedar is the ideal material to construct one from.

Materials List

  • 6 ea 16′ 2×2″ Western Red Cedar
  • 1 ea 8 – 12″ Bungee Cord
  • 6 ea 6″ 60d Galvenize Nails
  • Tulle or Decorative Ribbon
  • Flowers and Greenery
  • Small bungee cords or florist tape to secure flowers

Tools Needed

  • Tape Measure
  • Cordless Drill
  • 1/2″ Drill Bit
  • Hammer

Measure down from each 2×2 about 18″ and drill a 1/2″ hole through the board.  Feed the bungee cording through the holes and secure using a good knot.

how to make a naked teepee for wedding backdrop

Next drill an angled hole about 2″ up the other end of each 2×2.  These will be used to drive the 6″ nails through to secure the structure to the ground.

how to make a flower teepee for backdrop

Carefully wrap decorative tulle or ribbon around the bungee cord to cover.  Lift up and place each 2×2 “leg” in a circular pattern.  Secure each leg with one of the 6″ nails.

metal stakes secure the 2x2 western red cedar tee pee to the ground

Now your ready to add flowers, greenery and/or ribbons to decorate.  Using small bungee cords or florist tape works well.

rustic garden wedding backdrop teepee

 

flower tee pee how to

Congratulations to the new bride and groom!

 

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

http://www.CedarCountryLumber.com

360.757.6343

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington WA  98233