Category Archives: Do-It-Yourself

Best Wood For Outdoor Benches

If you are looking to build a new outdoor wooden bench or resurface and old outdoor bench read on as we’ll cover the best woods you can use for your bench.

Outdoor benches are most commonly made with pressure treated pine or cedar. The problem with these species is they are soft woods that generally require annual maintenance and application of a water sealer.

Softwoods like pressure treated pine and cedar have a open and somewhat porous grain structure which can tend to absorb water almost like a sponge.

While these woods do have some resistance to rot and decay and can last many years if properly maintained.

Many people find the maintenance to be too much work, so their outdoor bench gets neglected as shown in the picture below.

Old Pressure Treated Pine Bench with Peeling Stain

Stripping the old stain off an old bench like this one can be a lot of work getting in between all the bench slats. These benches often get neglected and have paint or stain peeling off the majority of the bench.

Once this occurs the wood is left unprotected and when it rains the wood usually stays saturated for an extended time period making them often undesirable to sit on.

In addition these softwoods can give off splinters and eventually get attacked by wood boring insects which can also make them not pleasant to sit on.

Is Composite Plastic Lumber Good for Outdoor Benches?

In our years of experience selling exterior lumber for decks and other exterior projects we’ve seen too many complaints from homeowners to make us comfortable selling any plastic lumber for now.

Every week we get complaints from homeowners who installed a composite plastic deck a few years ago that need to replace their entire deck because it’s failing and the manufacturer won’t honor their warranty.

Crumbling Composite Decking

If you want to read more about all the issues homeowners have faced with these products just Google search “composite decking problems”, “composite decking complaints” or “brand name decking reviews”.

You’ll be able to read about plenty of issues homeowners have struggled with so as a result of all this feedback we generally stay away and don’t recommend these products.

The 5 Best Woods for Outdoor Benches

Ipe (pronounced EE-pay) is an all natural hardwood that is more than three times harder than teak. It has shown to last up to 75 years or more on many commercial applications such as the Coney Island boardwalk and the Brooklyn bridge.

Ipe Wood Bench

This hardwood is one of the strongest woods in the world and naturally resists wood boring insects. Ipe wood does not splinter and will not get incredibly hot like plastic lumber.

In addition it’s also naturally slip resistant, has a Class A rating for flame spread, is scratch resistant and naturally mold and fungi resistant. It’s also so dense that it does not absorb water.

All of these excellent natural properties make Ipe wood our number one recommendation for not only decks but many outdoor projects such as outdoor wood benches.

You can view our current Ipe prices here: Ipe Wood Prices

Cumaru Wood

Similar to Ipe Cumaru wood is nearly identical in terms of properties and durability. The main difference is the color color ranges from a golden tan to a reddish brown.

Cumaru Deck

You can still expect all the same excellent properties as Ipe.

This excellent wood is also low maintenance, resistant to wood boring insects and naturally resistant to rot and decay without chemicals.

One other benefit to using Cumaru is the price can be upwards of 40 percent cheaper compared to the price of Ipe wood. You can view the current Cumaru wood prices here: Cumaru Wood Prices

Tigerwood Exterior Lumber

This beautiful wood also comes from South America and is incredibly durable and beautiful. You can expect a 30+ year lifespan with Tigerwood.

Similar to the other woods we listed above Tigerwood is also resistant to wood boring insects, mold and mildew and does not splinter. This is another excellent low maintenance exterior wood material that works great for benches, decks, fences, siding and more.

Tigerwood Decking

Garapa Wood

Also known as Brazilian Ash this incredible exterior hardwood is one of the finest quality hardwoods that features a fine-grain that is light yellow to a warm golden hue.

Garapa is naturally resistant to rot, decay and insect attack and offers a 30+ year lifespan. Garapa’s proven exterior durability make it an excellent choice for outdoor benches, decks and more.

Garapa Deck

You can find more info and pricing here: Garapa wood prices

Massaranduba Wood

Also known as Brazilian Redwood Massaranduba is much more durable than California Redwood, has a longer lifespan and requires much less maintenance.

In fact Massaranduba is over 7x harder than California Redwood. With a janka hardness of 3,190 compared to California Redwood which has a janka hardness of 420.

California Redwood is a softwood and requires annual maintenance of applying a water sealer to keep water out of the grain of the wood to prolong its life and prevent rot and decay.

Just like the first four species of exterior hardwoods that we recommended, Massaranduba naturally resists rot, decay and wood boring insects.

In addition Massaranduba is also a very low maintenance exterior hardwood and offers a 30+ year lifespan. This makes it great for many projects such as exterior wood benches, decks, siding and more.

Checkout these beautiful outdoor wood benches that were built with our beautiful South American hardwoods.

Please follow and like us:
Deck Framing with Joist Tape

How to Make Your Framing Last as Long as Your Ipe Decking

Ipe decking can last up to 75 years with hardly any maintenance. That’s great! But customers often wonder: what about the framing?

Deck framing is usually made of pressure treated pine. It’s cheap, easy to install, and readily available. But pressure treated pine is only rated to last about 15 years. So why would you spend all that money on 75-year ipe if you’re going to have to replace the deck in just 15 years anyway due to rotten framing?

It’s a great question! Here are a few way to make your framing last as long as your ipe decking:

Build the Frame with Ipe

The most obvious fix is to build your frame from the same material as your decking. This will certainly work, but it will be very expensive. And because ipe is so tough, it will be a lot harder to build the frame and secure the deck boards to it. For these reasons, we don’t typically recommend going this route.

Build the Frame with Metal

Metal deck framing comes with many of the same advantages and drawback as ipe framing: it’s expensive and difficult to work with. Additionally, metal products tend to react with ipe and stain the decking. Because of this, you’ll have to use joist and ledger tape as a protective barrier between the framing and the deck boards.

Metal framing can be a great solution if you don’t mind the extra cost and effort, but we don’t usually recommend it. However, now that we’ve brought up joist and ledger tape…

Build the Frame with Pressure Treated Lumber and Protect It with Joist and Ledger Tape

Ledger Tape and Joist Tape

The third option—and the one we recommend—is to use pressure treated pine, then cover your joists, posts, and ledgers with a protective, waterproof tape.

Most wood deterioration is caused by exposure to the elements, especially moisture. The areas of your frame that are most susceptible to rot are places where the wood touches up against something else, creating tight spaces that trap water. Common culprits are the bases of posts in contact with the ground and the tops of joists in contact with the decking.

Joist tape creates a protective barrier between the decking and the joists and keeps the wood dry. Ledger tape does the same thing, but it’s wider so it can cover a broader area. Ledger tape is good for protecting ledgers, beams, and posts.

You should apply joist and ledger tape to all your horizontal framing surfaces. The tape should be wide enough to fold over the sides for maximum protection. You may have to cut the tape in order to wrap corners without creating wrinkles, which can allow water to seep in.

Using joist and ledger tape on your deck framing will drastically improve the lifespan of your deck without costing you tons of money or effort.

Please follow and like us:
painted wood pergola

Can I Paint Ipe Wood?

Can you paint ipe wood? It’s a common question, and the experts will always tell you the same two things:

  1. No
  2. Why would you want to?

Those can be frustrating answers. Maybe you want to use ipe for its strength, but you aren’t fond of its color. Or maybe you inherited a finished project from a previous homeowner whose tastes didn’t match yours. So what can you do?

Can these ipe wood posts be painted?
These ipe posts could look striking if painted white. But is ipe wood paintable?

Why Ipe Is Not Paintable

First, let’s look at the source of the problem. We paint wood all the time; why is ipe different?

Exotic hardwoods (including ipe and its friends: cumaru, tigerwood, etc.) are not like most woods. Paint won’t stick to them! For one, they’re just too dense. The tight grain squeezes other substances out, and creates a relatively non-porous surface (compared to softer woods) that leaves the paint with nothing to cling to.

Another reason paint won’t stick to ipe and its ilk is that these woods are saturated with natural oils. These oils repel the paint, much like how the oil on a duck’s feathers repels water.

It just so happens that these two characteristics, density and oils, are what make ipe such a good choice for exterior projects in the first place. The dense grain gives it an impervious structure, and the oils fight off mold and decay. It’s too bad that they also have the unfortunate side effect of making the wood difficult to paint.

And it’s not just paint. Most wood stains and film-forming top coats will struggle to maintain any lasting hold on ipe. That’s why companies developed specialized products like Ipe Oil® and Messmers for dealing with exotic hardwoods. These oil-based finishes were specifically formulated to penetrate deeply into ipe’s dense grain structure and enrich the wood’s natural characteristics.

Can Anything Be Done?

Some woodworkers have claimed mild success in painting ipe by taking a few preliminary steps. First, sand the ipe with coarse-grit sandpaper to rough up the surface a bit. This will give the paint something to cling to. Then, apply several layers of oil-based primer. Finally, you can paint the ipe, but use an oil-based paint instead of the usual latex stuff.

Having said that, these steps will not guarantee a perfect, long-lasting finish; and as a rule, AdvantageLumber.com does not recommend painting ipe.

Alternatives to Painting Ipe

Painting ipe may not be a good idea, but you do have some other options.

Use a Different Wood

If you’re starting a brand-new project, this is the best way to go. A wood like cedar may not have the strength and longevity of ipe, but you can paint it to your heart’s content. The paint will also help protect the wood, giving back some of the durability you sacrificed by using a softer wood specie.

Cover the Ipe in a Paintable Material

Sometimes you just don’t have a choice. Either ipe is required for its structural properties, or someone else installed the wood without asking you first!

In cases like this, when you absolutely must use ipe, you should first consider if you really want to cover up that beautiful, natural hardwood. If your answer is still “yes”, then your best option is to clad the ipe in a paintable material. Build a sheath or covering out of another wood, such as cedar or even pressure treated pine, and paint that instead. You’ll get the strong foundation provided by ipe as well as full control over the final appearance.

Please follow and like us:

Best Wood for an Outdoor Table

Ipe Wood Outdoor Table

If you’re building an outdoor table you want to build something that will last for many years to come without degrading and tons of maintenance.

Not all woods are created equal.

Some woods when used outdoors and exposed to harsh weather and UV rays will degrade quickly. This leads to splinters, rot and decay and you’ll eventually have to rebuild your outdoor table.

The most common wood that people build with for outdoor use is pressure treated pine.

Pressure treated pine is the most affordable option available, as a result many people build outdoor tables such as picnic tables with it.

The downside of pressure treated pine is that it’s a softwood that requires annual maintenance with water sealers. Eventually the weather and UV rays will degrade the pressure treated pine.

You will experience checking, splinters and even rot and decay eventually. You can expect a 15 to 20 year lifespan if you properly maintain your outdoor table each year.

If you’re looking for the best wood than pressure treated pine is not the best choice.

Cedar is the next most common wood option for outdoor use.

It’s known to many as a premium wood compared to pressure treated pine. It does offer some natural resistance to rot and decay.

However Cedar is still a softwood and will rot, decay, splinter and have all the same problems as pressure treated pine. This will also need a waterproofing sealer applied each year.

You can also expect a lifespan of 15 to 20 years if the proper maintenance is done each year.

The Best Wood for Outdoor Use and Tables

Deck with Fire Pit and Pavers
Deck built with Ipe wood

Ipe wood (pronounced EE-pay) is a South American hardwood that has proven to last on many commercial applications such as the Coney Island boardwalk for 75+ years with no treatment.

Here are some of the outstanding benefits of Ipe:

  • Lasts up to 75+ years
  • Low maintenance
  • Termite Resistant
  • No knots!!
  • Tight grain = No worry of slivers
  • Can outlast composite material
  • High density resist scratches
  • Nearly twice as strong as Oak
  • Better than teak
  • Environmentally friendly
  • One of the strongest woods in the world
  • Up to a Class A fire rating for flame spread
  • Mold & Fungi resistant
  • High slip resistance

We also recommend a few other species that have very similar properties to Ipe and offer different grain and colors.

The following woods are also extremely durable outdoors and are more affordable than Ipe.

Cumaru, Tigerwood, Garapa and Massaranduba

This outdoor table was handcrafted using Ipe and Tigerwood and it’s absolutely stunning.

Outdoor Table made with Ipe Wood and Tigerwood

If you are looking to build an outdoor table that will last a lifetime these woods will not disappoint you.

You can purchase them directly online from our website. We also have many deeply discounted shorter length boards that work great for outdoor furniture.

Since we primarily sell a lot of long length boards for decks we sell the shorter boards for a deep discount. Click here to see our discounted hardwood decking

Please follow and like us:
4 Inch Ipe Decking

Best Decking for Extreme Climates and Projects

Building a deck in a climate that sees extreme weather such as extreme heat, extreme cold, hurricanes, lots of rain, ice and snow requires some extra planning to ensure your deck will last and resist unwanted movement such as warping, cupping, bowing and twisting.

Dry Climates

In dry climates like Arizona, wood decking materials will shrink due to the lack of moisture. All building materials will expand and contract with temperature and humidity changes. Composite decking materials generally expand in the warm temperatures and shrink in the cooler temperatures.

Wet and Humid Climates

Climates like Florida that see extreme heat, rain, humidity and hurricanes are some of the harshest environments on homes and the materials they are built with. Constant rain and humidity will cause wood decking to expand, composite materials will also tend to swell in these climates.

These climates also tend to promote the growth of mold and fungi, especially in the areas that do not see full sun all day. This can also lead to faster degrading, rot and decay of building materials.

Extreme Sun and UV Rays

Many areas such as Florida, Arizona, California and more see extreme sun and UV rays. The UV rays from the sun are one of the harshest elements that attack many materials and building materials like decking are no exception.

The UV rays will fade most materials including wood which will eventually turn gray and composites can significantly fade from their existing color that you loved originally.

Extreme Cold, Ice and Snow

If your area gets very cold and see lots of ice and snow in the winter and then hot and humid temperatures in the summer.  Your deck is going to see the widest ranges of extreme conditions which means the most expansion and contraction.

Material Selection

All of these different climates can be harsh on building materials especially horizontal surfaces like decking. There are materials that have proven to stand up to these harsh climates better than others.

South American hardwood decking such as Ipe, Cumaru, Tigerwood, Garapa and Massaranduba have proven to last up to 75 years in some applications.

These hardwood decking species have shown to work in every climate from the dry dessert to hot and humid Florida all the way to cold and snow covered Buffalo, NY.

Sizes

The most common decking size is 5/4 x 6” which will have a finished dimension of 1 inch thick and 5.5 inches wide.However just like hardwood flooring the wider your deck boards are the more likely they will be to cup.

Use Narrower and Thicker Boards

The narrower a board is the less likely it is to cup so using narrow boards such as 1×4 (finished at 3 1/2″ wide), is not only more stable but it can save you money and give a more interesting look.

Thicker boards such as 5/4 x 4 (finishes at 1” thick and 3 1/2″ wide) are also more stable then 1 x 4 (finishes at 3/4” thick and 3 1/2″ wide) it’s a quarter inch thicker and gives you more stability.

Sawn Lumber Differences

Quarter Sawn Decking:

Quarter sawn decking comes at a premium due to the labor it takes to mill each plank. To mill quarter sawn wood, each log is sawed at a radial angle into four quarters. Then each quarter is plain sawn. This method of quarter sawing does leave some waste, but much less than rift sawn lumber.

This method of sawing produces a plank where the tree’s growth rings are near, or totally perpendicular to the plank’s surface. Quarter sawn decking offers even more stability and the following benefits:

  • Decreased expansion and contraction on the plank’s width
  • Twisting, cupping, and warping resistance
  • Ages evenly over time
  • Chances of surface checking are significantly reduced
  • More resistant to moisture penetration
  • More character beauty with ray flecks

Are Your Project Conditions Less Than Ideal?

We recommend a minimum of 18 inches of unrestricted air flow underneath your deck. Unrestricted means plenty of air can flow underneath your deck so it’s not completely sealed off with skirting.

Closing off the underside of your deck or not allowing enough air flow will change the moisture level on the underside of your deck boards while the top surface gets air flow and heated by the sun.

This creates two different climates for your deck boards and will cause the top of the deck surface to expand and contract at a different rate then the bottom and this will lead to cupping.

That being said some homeowners have projects like boat docks and ground level decks that can not meet the ideal conditions but still want a beautiful hardwood deck.

In these cases, even though we don’t recommend it unless you can create the ideal conditions we suggest using 5/4 x 4 decking or 5/4 x 4 quarter sawn decking. You should also take as many precautions as you can to mitigate any moisture issues or differences underneath your decking.

Oiling the underside of your deck boards before installing them can also help reduce moisture absorbing into your deck boards.

Projects that used our 4 inch wide decking for their projects

4 Inch Ipe Wood Decking
5/4 x 4 Ipe Decking was used because the deck is low to the ground, skirted off and sits directly on top of a blue stone paver patio.
4 Inch Ipe decking
Ipe Decking and Blue Stone Patio
4 Inch Ipe Decking
4 Inch Ipe Decking and Blue Stone paver patio
4 Inch Tigerwood Decking was used because the deck was skirted off and sitting on top of concrete.
4 Inch Tigerwood Decking
Ipe Decking Steps built using 4 Inch Decking because the deck sits directly on top of a concrete slab and has limited air flow underneath.
Ipe Wood Planter Bench
Ipe Wood Planter Bench
Please follow and like us:

Best Wood for a Horizontal Fence

Are you looking for the best wood for a new horizontal fence?

Horizontal Cumaru Fence Certain woods will require more maintenance than others and can be susceptible to rot, decay and insect attack. The woods that are commonly prone to those issues are softwoods such as pressure treated pine, cedar and even redwood. There are certain hardwood species however that are more durable than teak and cheaper. The top species of wood that we recommend for a horizontal fence are:
  • Ipe
  • Cumaru
  • Tigerwood
  • Garapa
  • Massaranduba
These woods excel in harsh climates such as the hot Florida sun, the dry Arizona desert as well as cold and snowy Buffalo, NY. Woods such as Ipe have been proven to last 75+ years on commercial applications such as the Coney Island boardwalk. These woods are also naturally resistant to rot, decay, fungi and wood boring insects can not chew through them. In addition they are low maintenance and incredibly beautiful. Building a horizontal fence from one of these beautiful species of wood will have your friends and neighbors admiring your new fence for years. Take a look at many of these beautiful horizontal fences our customers have built with some of our wood:
Horizontal Fences
Please follow and like us:

How To Cover an Old Stucco Ceiling

One of our great customers Pro Quality Carpentry completed this job and had to share how beautiful it turned out.

nickel gap ceiling

The previous ceiling of this screened in lanai was old stucco that was looking dingy and had cracks. The home owner hired Pro Quality Carpentry to renovate their outdoor space and make it look more appealing.

Pro Quality recommended our Tigerwood in a nickel gap tongue and groove profile that we custom milled for them.  Tigerwood is an exotic hardwood that’s incredibly durable as well as exceptionally beautiful.

Tigerwood is naturally resistant to rot and decay and offers a 30+ year lifespan without chemical treatment.

The Install Process Was Simple

First Pro Quality Carpentry started by installing wood furring strips to the existing stucco ceiling and made sure to attach the furring strips to the wood support trusses underneath the stucco.

Next they installed our Tigerwood nickel gap tongue and groove and fastened to the furring strips with stainless steel screws through the tongue to leave the ceiling free of faster holes.

Here’s Another Picture

Tigerwood nickel gap

 

Please follow and like us: