Making the Grade in Lumber Quality

Selecting the right piece of framing lumber for your project does not have to be as complex as the grading rules. This guide to the grades of lumber, is meant to help you get past the uncertainty by giving you the knowledge of what the grades allow and how to achieve an apple to apple comparison of what you see.

In the Pacific Northwest, our common framing lumber species are:

Every species has different characteristics for strength and appearance, but they are all graded on the same rules from the American Lumber Standards Committee.  The grades, for all that they do, are not much more than a way of telling the user what kind of quality they are buying.

The higher the grade, the better the lumber.

Before going into the Lumber Grading Standards chart to understand grades we need to understand each defect presented;

Checking – A crack in the board that happens along the growth rings and does not go through the entire board.

Grain – Determined by the number of growth rings in the board.  Typically measured in rings per inch and is viewed from the end grain of the board.

Knots – A naturally occurring defect in the board caused by branches as the tree grows.  Small tight knots are perfectly fine but large loose knots that may fall out are of greater concern.

Pitch or Sap – How trees heal wounds from pruning or fight off other diseases that could be otherwise harmful to a healthy tree.

Pitch Pockets – Places in the board where the tree has grown around the sap enclosing the wound.  These pockets coupled with the tight bark layer can be found in the wide face of a board and are not the same as edge wane.

Shake – The separation of woods growth rings that occurs either on the face of the wood or below the surface.

Skips – A manufacturing defect where planners and saws “bounce” along a board or pull the grain, causing an uneven surface to be presented.

Grain Slope – A measurement of the deviation from the natural growth of the board.  Simply put, it is the board cut parallel to the grain or across it.

Splits – Cracks in the wood that go all the way through the board.

Stains or Discolorations – Can be caused by insects, fungal decay, or heartwood/sapwood.  Some stains have no effect on the performance of the wood, while others limit the strength of the wood. This is because they come from the fast-growing center of the tree.

Wane -The uneven edge of the tree that used to contain the bark of the tree before it was milled.

Warp – In a board is the deviation from straight and true and is called by many different names.

  • A bow in the board is the end to end change on the wide face. This looks like the bottom of a boat.

  • A crook in the board is the warping that happens along the narrow edge. This looks like a hockey stick.

  • A cup in the board is when the wide face curves with the flat grain creating a hollow in the board. This looks like a canoe.

  • A twist in the board is a combination of multiple warping defects. This often looks like a boomerang or an airplane propeller.

Clear wood requirement is the amount of good wood left after all the defects have been removed from the clean faces of the wood.

The chart below shows the seven grades of framing lumber and the allowable deviation from a perfect piece of lumber.

Lumber Grade Stamps

The final piece of the lumber puzzle is the ability to look at a grade stamp to understand what it is telling you.   All stamps on lumber tell us the exact same information; (a) the grading agency, (b) the mill designation, (c) the approved grade, (d) the wood species group, (e) the moisture content.

Common Application

In most jurisdictions, the building code requires #2 Structural, commonly referred to as #2 & Better. This is why it is found at most lumber yards and home centers in your area.  Lumber yards will differ on the primary species family they carry.  One yard might sell Douglas Fir for the strength characteristics while another chooses Western Hemlock because it is cheaper while still meeting the same building codes.

In many commercial uses, select structural lumber is required because of the strength of the wood fiber.  Typically, these are applications with very high point loads due to the increased capacity of the structure itself for storage or for people. Most residential construction that is done with Select Structural lumber is done because the builder and the homeowner prefer the quality of the fiber.

The lesser grades of lumber are often used where structural codes do not matter in industrial or temporary applications.  These can be things like pallets and packaging for shipment or concrete footing work where one good face will usually be adequate.

Whatever lumber you choose, knowing the grade will help you determine if it is right for your project.  Grading used in conjunction with the design tables will help make sure that your project lasts for as long as you want it to.

For more information on the framing lumber grading rules, please visit the following sources;

 

Kelly Fox – CEO

Lumber Traders Inc.
Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co. Inc.
Hartnagel Building Supply

20% OFF All Exterior Stains Sale!

It is important that your wood deck is taken care of on a routine basis and is able to withstand the harsh elements of the Olympic Peninsula. The sun, rain, snow, and even wind can cause the appearance of your deck to look old and worn.  Staining your deck will make it look new again but more importantly it will make your deck stay in good condition longer.

Now through June 30th enjoy 20% off all exterior stains from Sikkens/ProLuxe, Super Deck/Duckback, Penofin, and Cabot.

Pair it with ongoing June manufacturer rebates and save an additional $8 on a gallon.

*Check in store for more rebate information.

When coming in to take advantage of our stain sale be sure and talk with one of our Paint & Stain Specialists about proper prep and application for your stain project or click HERE for a step by step instructional blog post on properly staining your wood deck.

How to Properly Stain a Deck

A deck is a huge investment for any home owner. Making sure it stays clean and protected will insure it has a long life. With the proper cleanup and a proper application of stain you can avoid costly repairs and regular degradation that many wood deck owners experience.  Once completed you can restore your old deck or further protect a newer deck.  Taking this time on an annual or bi-yearly basis will have you dodging the need for major repairs, leaving it protected from weather and allowing the natural look of wood to shine through.

Prep and Cleaning

This is the most important part of staining your deck.  Do it correctly and be patient with drying and you will be rewarded with an easy staining experience.

Clear your deck of all your potted plants, outdoor furniture and other obstacles on your deck. Blow off or sweep the deck clean of any debris, leaves and dirt.  Cover all perimeter plants and shrubs located around the deck with painter’s plastic or drop clothes.

Once fully cleaned, check the deck boards that may need to be replaced. Deck boards that are rotten, severely warped or have large splits should be replaced.  Look for nails that may have raised up and use larger nails to re-secure the boards. Minor splits can be sanded down using an orbital sander to smooth the surface.  Check you gaps between boards for buildup of old leaves, pine needles and dirt removing with a flat plastic putty knife or straight edge. Re-sweep the deck and hose the surface down to remove any stubborn debris.

Suit yourself up with the proper protection with gloves, old clothing and eye protection when working with any chemical cleaners and following the manufacturer’s directions, apply a wood cleaner such as 30 Second Cleaner or SuperDeck Wood Cleaner with a pressurized garden sprayer being careful not to let the solution dry.  Agitate the cleaner into the wood with a long handled stiff bristled brush for 10 -15 minutes and then rinse off with water. Allow deck to fully dry.

Once fully cleaned let’s bring back the color and vibrancy that you remember when the deck was first installed. SuperDeck Wood Brightener should do just that. Hopefully you still have all your protective gear so make sure your pressurized garden sprayer is cleaned of any previous chemicals and use it to apply the wood brightener in the same way as the cleaner. Don’t let the solution dry and agitate the cleaner into the wood with a long handled stiff bristled brush for 10 -15 minutes and then rinse off with water.

Rinse off the plastic you used to protect the surrounding plants and store away for use when staining.

Allow deck to dry fully for at least three days before moving on to staining.

Staining the Deck

If you don’t have a favorite stain and color there are many to choose from so we advise getting some advice in our stores from one of our paint specialists for your proper environment and for maximum protection.  Take advantage of our annual exterior stain sales that starts around Memorial Day and runs through June. It will undoubtedly save yourself some needed cash and allow for some new deck accessories.

These are the most popular of exterior deck stains we stock and sell. Click images for direct link to manufacturer’s website.

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Cover the plants to protect them from any splattering.

Stir the stain thoroughly and pour the stain into a paint tray. Apply a THIN coat of stain using a paint roller attached to a long handle rolling it in the direction of the boards making sure the stain does not puddle or pool.

With a paint brush get all the ends of the boards stained and allow the deck to fully dry.  Repeat this process at least two more times utilizing multiple thin coats rather than a single heavy coat.

Once you have completed the process inspect the deck fully for any areas you might have missed, paying attention to the ends of boards, stairs, railings or other attached wood structures.

Now is the fun part!  Remove the plastic protecting the plants, return your outdoor furniture to its place and start planning that summer bar-b-que to show off your hard work.

If you clean and stain your deck every 1-2 years you will have a deck that will stay protected, looking new and perfect for your outdoor enjoyment. Have questions? Come in and ask to talk with one of our paint & stain specialists or give us a call.  We’d be happy to help!

The Next Hundred Years.

Invite and Newsletter post headerReflecting back on a 110 years of history has been a great deal of fun for me.  I looked back at the changes in our community, our business and our industry.  I see the celebration of the good times and I cherish the kind words and the people that made our business what it has become.  As I have read through stacks of notes of gratitude for supporting a particular community project or thoughtful comments about the great service by one of our employees, I was filled with hope for the next hundred years.

I was asked to share with you what I think the future looks like from our perspective and quite frankly, I am really not sure.  What I can predict with confidence is our future is going to be uniquely about you!

The product demands of our customers are constantly changing with the newest trends shown on websites like Pinterest and Houzz (two things that did not exist ten years ago.)  YouTube and Vimeo have given many of us the courage to rebuild our own deck or tile our bathrooms and the digital exchange of funds has allowed for a more expedited buying experience done on the customer’s time.

In many cases, homeowners ourselves, we share your passion for living in and improving the space around us.  We will continue to stay on top of the latest trends and common practices in building and home improvement on our website. We will soon provide you with the ease of online buying and ordering of products and services so that you can spend your time on the jobsite or with your family.  While all this is great, the most important factor that has not changed in the last hundred years, and will not change in the next hundred years, is direct human interaction. The one on one exchange of ideas and solutions between the community and our stores will continue to be nurtured as we walk with you down the store aisles, providing the service and the advice you can trust where an ever expanding sea of information exists.

The local knowledge with neighbors helping neighbors will remain the cornerstone of our business for years to come.  Whatever your source of inspiration for the next hundred years, I am confident that the team of employee owners at Angeles Millwork and Lumber Co. and Hartnagel Building Supply will be right there to help.

Thank you for being a part of our rich history in Port Angeles, we look forward to the next hundred years of serving you and your successive generations.

Did you read the post about Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co’s 110 year history?  Read it HERE.

Be sure and join us in celebration of 110 years in business with a BBQ, vendor displays, games and prizes on Thursday,  August 25th at Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co.!  More information HERE.

Kelly-Fox-ImageKelly Fox, CEO
Lumber Traders Inc.
Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co.
Hartnagel Building Supply

 

 

Lumber Commodity Price List for July 19th, 2016

Lumber is a commodity with prices fluctuating weekly due to market conditions. With our Lumber Commodity Price Sheet we look to keep you as informed as possible about those prices.  Click on the price list for a downloadable or printable .PDF version.

All prices subject to change without notice, please contact us to verify stock availability.

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The Low Down on Non-Traditional Decking Options

Bannerkristofer2There are many options to choosing the right material for your deck and it can be a bit confusing.  Reading blog posts such as this and doing online research is a great start, but we encourage you to talk one on one with our Sales Professionals to see each product in person and talk about which one will be correct for your decking environment.

Non Traditional Decking Options

  • PVC (plastic)
  • Capped Composite (wood fibers with plastic sealed in harder plastic shell)
  • Composite (wood fibers with plastic)

These wood substitute decking materials will remove a large amount of time devoted to upkeep, but can cost you a bit more than traditional wood options.  The question one must ask themselves when debating over the traditional vs. non-traditional decking options, is how much is your time worth? With non-traditional decking material, most of the staining, & painting that traditional wood decks require are eliminated. They resist rotting, stains and splintering to assist in keeping decks looking attractive and more usable. PVC is even recyclable. (Cleaning the deck, while not required, will go a long way to making your investment look good for the life of the product)

Both deck styles will save you from many hours of upkeep. Which deck style is the right investment for you? Use the answers below as a guide to be used with our helpful chart.

Which decking is able to withstand the elements better?

Because of the composite’s modified structure, and PVC being plastic, they are both insect and rot resistant. PVC and composite decking are outstanding at repelling moisture. PVC & Capped Composite can be installed where direct water contact will occur and not warp, split or rot, whereas composite decking can expand and contract with extreme temperatures and water absorption. This may loosen joints and can possibly make decks unstable. In hot, sunny areas, PVC decks can get very hot on the soles of the feet and actually radiate heat, making them uncomfortable.

Which decking has better fade resistance?

HBS-DISPLAY-OUTDOORPVC decking and Capped Composite have less fading than composite decking. It is important to know that composite decking will weather to a more natural hue within the first six months. Paying attention to sun exposure should play a major part in your decision on which type of decking to choose. A southern exposure will fade a composite deck.

Which decking has better slip resistance?

Non-traditional decking has made great strides in providing a safe surface to walk on in wet environments.  The more embossed the surface and the larger amount of grooves provide greater grip. (Most all manufacturers build their product to ADA skid resistance requirements eliminating this concern)

Which decking will resist scratches?

PVC has a greater resistance to scratching, but it is advisable to protect any non-traditional deck by putting protective covers on the feet of patio furniture and anything that may be dragged across the surface.

Which decking looks the most like wood?

Many non-traditional wood decks use to be considered fake looking, but with years of trial and error are finally proving their worth with both PVC and composite board patterns.  This applies not only to the color and streaking but also to the embossed grain pattern on the boards.  Most will say that it’s a matter of opinion now that the coloring and texture have been mostly randomized throughout 20’ lengths. Some manufacturers may have surface grain pattern repeating every three feet.  It is best to see it in person as this is one of the last determining factors at making your choice.

Is there a large price difference between PVC, Capped Composites and Composites?

  • PVC (plastic) averages $4.00 a linear foot but can go up from there with higher end manufacturers and variated color options.
  • Capped Composite (wood fibers with plastic sealed in a harder plastic shell) averages $3.40 a linear foot Color options and variated colors will also increase the price
  • Composite (wood fibers with plastic) averages $2.60 a linear foot

Decking Comparison Chart

Direct Links to Non-Traditional Decking Manufacturer Websites

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Western Red Cedar Products

Seymour-1997-59Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co. and Hartnagel Building Supply pride themselves in the quality of their cedar products. If the natural look of wood in your deck, fence, siding and or lumber is a priority, cedar is always the top choice.

Even acclaimed builder and TV host Mike Holmes wrote a blog post on building with cedar.

The heartwood of the tree (the deeper colored red part, not the white sap part) is resistant to rot insect damage and decay. Moisture is what creates TFP367-Board304twisting and splitting and that is why cedar decking tends to lie flat and straight. These compounds provide natural resistance to moisture, insects and decay.

Western Red Cedar decking has unique, natural performance characteristics and exceptional beauty that bring warmth, character and longevity to deck projects. Western Red Cedar fences are extremely sturdy and lasting 20 years or longer is commonplace, even where vastly different weather patterns occur.

We offer cedar products that are green & kiln dried, as well as knotty & clear giving you a variety of choices when planning for your project.

Our suppliers source our cedar from Terminal Forest Products in British Columbia, Canada. They have full control of the manufacturing process from raw material to finish guaranteeing an unparalleled Western Red Cedar product always above “standard” grade.

Go HERE for our Cedar Products Home Page and a list of stocked styles and sizes.

The video below is from Real Cedar.  For an extensive list of cedar based videos featuring more information and how-to videos from Real Cedar click HERE.

Tamko Decking and Railings

WEB-evergrainThank you to Stacey Baker from Weyerhaeuser for coming by and providing our customers and crew the latest product information on Tamko Decking and Railing Systems. 

Tamko’s EverGrain® Composite Decking is made with a compression molding process that creates deep grain beauty in a strong board with outstanding durability and consistency. More information on their composite decking can be found on their website HERE.

TAMKO® Railing products add stunning natural beauty to your outdoor living space. And with their outstanding strength, you can count on years of low maintenance enjoyment.More information on their railing systems can be found on their website HERE.

So come on by and talk with one of our products specialists about the advantages of composite decking and railing systems by Tamko Building Products.

Treated Right – The Platinum Tape, a blog by Kelly Fox

wHISKEY-SODA2Have you ever felt like you did not get what you paid for? At one point or another in life all of us will have that feeling. It is a lot like a bourbon and soda that is nearly all soda. In every business there is an opportunity to cut a corner or reduce an expense by taking out some of the “good stuff”.  At Angeles Millwork and Lumber Company and Hartnagel Building Supply, we are all about putting more of the “good stuff” back into what you are buying.

Against some national competitors, we see that products are being sold into our market space that are a far cry from what they used to be.

A great example is in pressure treated lumber. It is not always rated for ground contact, even though it looks and feels just like the same product you can buy at every other lumber yard in the area.

In some cases, the same pressure treated lumber they sell is a construction grade that is not even building code approved.

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To give you more of what you want for your money, we will only sell incised pressure treated lumber that is rated for ground contact and building code compliant. Our NatureDeck© treated decking product is a premium Douglas Fir and rated for above ground use because of the intended application.

Other product benefits we sell are not always as clear cut as the differences in our treated lumber but they are equally as important. For example, the cedar decking products at our stores, from the 5/4 x4 to the 2×6, are kiln dried so that you can finish your project quickly. Green decking products require them to be installed and seasoned well beyond being dry on the surface, before you can apply the deck stain of your choice. (When you deck stain does not last as long as the can said it would, your deck was probably not as dry as it should have been.)

Our kiln dried decking products can be installed, stained, and enjoyed about eight weeks faster than product bought as green or wet. Your time and effort are worth something to us and dry decking is one way that we can prove it.

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On top of the products you buy, service is the “good stuff” that many people need when they do not speak the home repair or building language. Rather than asking you to learn to speak building materials, our stores will spend more than 1000 hours in 2016 dedicated to training on our products and services so that we are better at speaking your language when you stop by. I am confident that you will enjoy the difference!

When you choose to buy from us, you will get what you pay for. Sometimes we will be less expensive and sometimes we will be more. The one thing you should never have to question is the value you receive or wonder if you got any scotch with your soda!

 

As you shop the stores, visit us online, or have questions about the products we sell compared to our competition, please ask the salesperson or email me at kellyf@lumbertradersinc.com and we will be happy to help.

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Warm Regards,

Kelly Fox, CEO
Lumber Traders, INC.
Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co.
Hartnagel Building Supply