Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Avenues Cedar

Sanding and staining cedar is always a bit of a challenge since is A. less commonly used so we have less experience with it than redwood and B. more difficult to deal with than redwood.  Bottom line for us is we have to take a bit more time to make sure everything is perfect. 

This deck was coated with a semi-transparent, bluish stain which did not wear evenly.  After attempting to strip the deck with chemicals at maintenance, the previous painter decided to add pigment  with a solid type stain in order to even out the old coating.  A common mistake that can lead to a painted looking deck that shows none of the wood grain. This type of coating is particularly bad for cedar, which needs to breathe in order to stay healthy. 

The pattern of this deck did not make it any easier to sand, but it is a nice look. 

Our solution was to start with Sikkens cape cod grey SRD and wipe the entire deck.  The result was a light, highly transparent/breathable coating that will increase in grey patina with successive coats without obscuring the natural beauty of the wood.  The trick to getting an even application with these types of stains is multiple thin coats, ideally spread out over 6 months or more.  The result is a longer time frame between sandings, ideally 6 years or more.  Not that I didn't enjoy this job, but the client and I are definitely making it our goal to not have to sand this deck any more than absolutely necessary. 

I will update in the spring when we are slated to put the second coat on.  That coat will be the sweet one in terms of getting a really nice grey color that is super weatherproof.  

Halloween surprise

A Halloween surprise awaited us on this sanding job at the tip top of Emigration Canyon...

Apparently this is what happens to Messmer's U.V. plus when you apply a fill coat and even coat 2 days before a snowstorm :/

This literally happened on Halloween much to the surprise (and horror) of our client, and me!

Luckily it wiped off with some hard scrubbing and mineral spirits.  Not my ideal way to spend a nice fall afternoon, but it could have been worse...

Happy Halloween!

Pergola/bench on Capital Hill SLC

Capital hill pergola 

We designed and built this pergola bench combo on Capital hill in SLC this summer and had fun doing it.  

We also built the small hexagonal addition (protruding, right) and sanded the existing deck, which was coated with many layers of semitransparent stain that had become opague like paint.  Semi-solid on vertical surfaces on bench and pergola to match house and a mahogany SRD on the cedar facing on the deck. Great clients and great work site. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Composite versus wood decking.

I am a big believer in using real wood over composite for several reasons.
  • Color retention: Composite decking has had issues with fading to a light gray. Composite decking is part wood and part other stuff. The wood in it still oxidizes and turns gray, regardless of the original color of the wood. I know the industry has taken steps to improve this reality, including Trex Trandscends, which has an additional coating on the outside of the regular composite deck material. I have to say it looks promising but I think it is still too early to tell and is nearly double the cost of heart redwood. The fact that I can go to any paint store now and pick up a can of composite decking stain in any color does not give me a lot of confidence in the area of color retention.
  • Composite has also had issues with staining. Again, they are working on it but the trouble with stains on composite is that composite is not sand-able, making it really hard to get out grease and other troublesome stains.
  • Mold can still occur if composite decks are not properly cleaned.
The biggest reason in my opinion to not replace your existing deck with composite is cost. We are able to restore deck boards in almost any condition to new condition that will take a translucent stain. Our stains are highly transparent and highlight rather than obscure the wood grain. We then have an inexpensive maintenance plan to restain your deck every 1-2 years depending on exposure. We pre-stain all of our wood installations as well.

If you are concerned about the environmental impact of wood consider our restoration process also. Why throw away what can be made to look beautiful again for a fraction of the cost? Also, we can get FSC certified tropical hardwood decking and reclaimed timbers which make a super rugged and virtually maintenance free surface as well.

In my experience most people would rather have wood but are willing to compromise for not having to do maintenance. That is certainly where we come in and can restore and maintain your wood for a fraction of the cost of a composite installation.

Click here to read some composite decking reviews. I am not the only person who feels this way.

This client was told they needed to replace their deck. For the same price as replacement, we sanded and stained this deck and installed new metal railings and post caps.

Now they get to enjoy their beautiful wood and have a great railing!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Timber frame addition

This was an upper level addition where we were able to level and support the existing lower deck in the process. We used 6" rough sawn timbers for the main supports and mortise and tenon joints into both decks and the railing to allow for expansion and contraction. This method of construction is increasingly rare but provides much better strength and longer life than a bracket or butt joint. Plus it looks awesome...
Perpendicular to the house we used 10" rough cedar facing.

Gotta love working in the mountains!

Rail caps mortised into the timber.

Some really pretty pieces of common redwood. We use common redwood more strategically than most builders. Common redwood has the blond color and is pretty when used as an accent with heart redwood as the main flooring. Common redwood is not as rot resistant or as strong as heart red wood.