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

 

 

Clear Western Red Cedar Custom Milled Rail Cap

If you can dream it up, we can have it made!  We specialize in working with customers with unique building materials needs all over the US.

Because we are located in the heart of Cedar Country, the only place in the world Western Red Cedar and Alaskan Yellow Cedar are natively grown, we are able to offer superior quality Cedar building materials with exceptional pricing.  Whatever you are looking for, if we don’t stock it, we can find a mill to custom make it for you.

We are currently working with a home builder in Half Moon Bay, CA on an exquisite custom home and are getting ready to ship out this custom milled, clear vertical grain Western Red Cedar rail cap along with more clear cedar T&G cladding for the project.

custom milled clear western red cedar rail cap

Starting with the architect’s specs, we had a line drawing created with the exact measurements for the customer to review before starting production.

custom milled western red cedar building materials start with a line drawing

Once the clear, vertical grain Western Red Cedar rail cap was milled, a filler piece of wood was attached to the bottom to help protect the “legs” during pre-stain and shipment.

Tight Grain, Clear Vertical Grain Western Red Cedar milled into a custom rail cap

Next, the rail cap was pre-stained with Penofin Ultra Premium Red Label in “Cedar”.  This will help protect the custom milled Cedar rail cap during shipment, on the job site, as well as during installation.

c

A second field coat is recommended prior to installation on all four sides.

Stay tuned for more amazing photos of this project!  And before your next project, be sure to visit us!  We ship nationwide!

clear western red cedar siding

architect spec'd clear western red cedar tongue and groove siding

www.CedarCountryLumber.com

360.757.6343

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington WA

 

 

Trending Now – Natural Exterior Wood Cladding

Whether it is new construction or updating the look of a commercial or residential building, using natural wood siding to add a more modern look and feel is gaining popularity.  With so many options in Western Red Cedar, Alaskan Yellow Cedar and other domestic hard and softwoods, the possibilities are endless to create a more natural, welcoming appearance for any building with wood cladding.

A true example of crafted modernism, this rustic home located in eastern Washington is cladded with a mix of our knotty Western Red Cedar and metal, along with concrete and steel elements to create an appealing façade that blends in with the natural surroundings, as well as help to protect the home against wild fires.  See more of photos of this project by visiting the builder’s website, Impel Construction.

Knotty Western Red Cedar and Metal Siding protect this home against wildfires

architecture by Designs Northwest Architects, photo courtesy of Colin Sands

 

When paired with a medium or dark color, natural wood siding instantly modernizes an existing building.  In these photos, our friends at La Conner Dental replaced portions of the existing siding on their commercial building with our 1×4” clear Western Red Cedar tongue and groove paneling to create an upscale, yet charming exterior.

cedar siding accent using 1x4 clear Western Red Cedar TG

clear 1x4 western red cedar tongue and groove

 

Totally on trend, and only getting hotter, is creating entrances to both homes and businesses, that are inviting with depth and dimension. Used to accentuate this the front porch and entry, our clear, vertical grain engineered veneer Western Red Cedar T&G extends a warm welcome to the homeowners and guests alike.

clear engineered western red cedar t&g

craftsmanship by Dihedral Builders

 

Adding natural wood timbers and beams, as well as natural wood paneling to the underside of porches and overhangs provides guests with shelter against the weather. In this photo, our Douglas Fir timbers and natural Western Red Cedar T&G create visual interest to this new home’s covered entry.

Doug Fir Timbers and Clear Cedar Soffit entryway

built by Brown and Sons, Inc

 

By mixing warm, organic-looking clear, mixed grain, Western Red Cedar with cool metal, the entrance to the Craft Stove building in Mount Vernon, WA draws customers into their new showroom.

clear Western Red Cedar and metal siding warm this commercial building

craftsmanship by Chad Fisher Construction

 

Used to draw the outdoors in, as well as keep the momentum of a seamless design, real Western Red Cedar is used on the interior walls and ceiling, as well as exterior of this custom home in Malibu, CA.  The clear, vertical grain Cedar T&G used on the exterior of the home was pre-treated for fire resistance.  Learn more about the process for this by clicking HERE

clear western red cedar installed on interior ceiling and carried through to the home's exterior

clear western red cedar was fire treated for this homes exterior

We are so pleased to see this trend that includes natural wood and earthier elements and would be happy to discuss adding our natural wood products to your next project!  We ship nationwide!

360.757.6343

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington WA

www.CedarCountryLumber.com

Custom Cedar Pergola

We supplied the full, rough sawn appearance grade Western Red Cedar 4×6″, 8×8″ and 8×12″s for this custom Cedar Pergola and Dexperts of Bellingham, WA provided the design, craftsmanship and brawn to get the job done!  Prior to installation, the cedar beams were given a coat of Ultra Premium Red Label Penofin “Sable”.

Ultra Premium Red Label Penofin exterior wood stain is made from Brazilian Rosewood Oil base which penetrates deeply to protect and nourish the wood’s fibers.  With extra protection against mildew and pigments that provide ultraviolet protection against fading, Ultra Premium Red Label Penofin will help preserve and give longer life to any outdoor wood project.

Easy to apply, simple to maintain, with pigments that won’t fade, turn chalky or wash off.

Western Red Cedar Pergola

Western Red Cedar Pergola stained with Penofin penetration oil

With shipments of cedar lumber, siding, shingles, shakes, timbers, as well as other specialty building materials leaving our warehouse daily to all over the US, our customers value the quality of our products and our honest business practices, combined with excellent customer service and superior product knowledge.  Before your next project, be sure to visit us!

We provide delivery service throughout northwest Washington, including the San Juan Islands, as well as ship nationwide!

360.757.6343

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington WA

www.CedarCountryLumber.com

 

 

Custom Cut Western Red Cedar for Outdoor Cross

Western Red Cedar is an ideal wood choice for outdoor structures due to its natural resistance to rot and decay, as well as work-ability.  Grown natively in the Pacific Northwest, where Cedar Country Lumber is located, we are able to source top quality Cedar timbers and beams in nearly any size and length, including beams over 20′ long, and ship them direct to consumers anywhere in the US.

Likely one of the most photographed projects we have had the pleasure of participating in, we provided the full dimension, 8×12″ Western Red Cedar timbers for this cross several years ago.  Located in Centerport, NY, on the north shore of Long Island, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs R.C. Church was kind enough to send us these photos, along with a note from Father John.

Tom,

Great stories with the cross – the man who put it together, master carpenter builds high end houses and said it was the most meaningful thing he has ever done!! So many working on it – hope the pictures capture the meaning.”  Father John

Western Red Cedar Timbers used for exterior crucifix

Full dimensional Western Red Cedar was used for this outdoor crucifix on Long Island

 

Check out more photos of this project on Facebook and Instagram!

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

www.CedarCountryLumber.com

360.757.6343

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington WA

Custom Milled Knotty Cedar Rail Cap

We specialize in working with customers with unique needs all over the US! If you can design it, we can have it made!  When a company that specializes in multi-family construction remodels contacted us to help him manufacture cedar rail cap to an exact profile to match to what was used on a property previously, we were able to have it made from this full, rough cut Western Red Cedar lumber.

Full Rough Cut Western Red Cedar Lumber

2x6 Western Red Cedar rough cut lumber

Made from high quality Select Tight Knot Western Red Cedar, this rail cap will be installed at a condominium complex in Idaho after we have it sent out for a factory pre-prime with oil based primer, so that it is ready to install when it arrives on the job site.  Our factory pre-stain process saves money and time on the job, as well as protects your material on the job site, as well as during installation.

Custom Milled Knotty Western Red Cedar Rail Cap

Custom milled 2x8 knotty Western Red Cedar Rail cap

With shipments of high quality Western Red Cedar, Alaskan Yellow Cedar lumber, siding, shingles, shakes, timbers, (as well as other specialty building materials in various hard and soft woods), leaving our warehouse daily to all over the US, our customers value the quality of our products and our honest business practices, combined with excellent customer service and superior product knowledge.

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

www.CedarCountryLumber.com

360.757.6343

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington WA

 

 

Ribbon Coursing of Cedar Sidewall Shingles

The natural beauty, longevity and durability of Western Red Cedar has made it a popular choice for exterior siding since man began building structures.  It is light, easy to work with, and comes in a variety of patterns and textures that allow designers, architects, builders and home owners to customize an exterior that is perfect for their particular project.

Because of the many grades and sizes, as well as ways that they can be installed to create a custom look, Cedar Shingles are an especially popular siding choice.  In this photo, the pre-primed #1 R&R (re-edged and re-jointed) Western Red Cedar Shingles we provided for this historical restoration  were installed using a method called “Ribbon Coursing”.

Pre primed ribbon coursed Western Red Cedar Shingles

When applying ribbon coursing, the double shadow line is created by raising the outer course of cedar shingles approximately 1″ above the under coursing.  It is recommended that only #1 shingles be used in this application.

Ribbon Coursing installation guidelines for Western Red Cedar Shingles

Butt nail all double coursed cedar shingles that are installed with more than their maximum single course recommended exposure.  For our 18″ #1 Western Red Cedar shingles, 7″ is the maximum recommended exposure for a single course.  When installing any Western Red Cedar building materials, be sure to use corrosion resistant fasteners.

# 1 Western Red Cedar shingle installation exposure guide

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

www.CedarCountryLumber.com

360.757.6343

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington WA