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Thread: Cedar Decks

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Toronto
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    Real Name
    Nelson

    Default Cedar Decks

    Hi guys im gonna build a cedar deck in the next few weeks and i would like to know where to buy good cedar for a good price in the toronto area. tx guys

  2. #2

    Default Re: Cedar Decks

    Hi Nelson, I think if I were doing it again, I would look at a composite for the decking. My cedar deck is 17 years old and people told me I was crazy at the time to put out that much cash for a deck. I finished it first with a 2 step Sikkens product and within 2 years it peeled so bad I had to sand it all off and reset all the nails. I then got a product from Sears that lasted 3 years but could not get it again as they changed manufactures.
    A chum from down in the southern USA told me to get Flood stain as he had put it on his log home. I powerwashed all the flaking stuff off and applied the cedar coloured stain, not realizing that the dark colur would get very hot in the sun.
    This lasted just over 2 years and I have since recoated with a light gray colour twice and it is in need of something new this year.
    The plus about using cedar over P/T was it still has not split .
    The composite cleans up with soap and water and will outlast most of us.
    Just my opinion.
    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Alberta
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    Default Re: Cedar Decks

    I think I've restained my cedar deck 4 times in 25 years and a couple of times weren't necessary but the wife figured it was time to spruce up the silver grey tone she likes.

    If you put the wrong product on in the first place you're in trouble right out of the gate and for years to come.

    A deck is a lot like a musical instrument that's made to vibrate. If you put a hard surface finish on the instrument it will crack when it vibrates and a hard surface product on a deck won't stand up to the expansion and contraction of the lumber either. So it fails.
    "Do it Right!"

  4. #4
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    Elmvale Ontario
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    Default Re: Cedar Decks

    the other thing to keep in mind when putting down the deck boards is to leave enough gap between it allows the deck to breath and dry out. The moisture in the wood is a lot of the problem with paint/stain peeling. The gaps in my deck are about 1/2 inch and I have no problems with my stain. I have never had any problems with any thing getting caught in the gaps either in the 17 years it has been down.

    Jerome
    Elmvale On.
    Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
    Benjamin Franklin

  5. #5
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    Mar 2007
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    sarnia ont
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    Steve Morris

    Default Re: Cedar Decks

    ive built a couple of cedar deck using eastern white cedar, a small local mill cuts and planes it then i router the edges myself.

    much nicer wood than the red stuff at the stores
    my shop is a beaver lodge
    steve, sarnia, ont

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    London ON
    Posts
    1,457

    Default Re: Cedar Decks

    I built a deck 20 years ago for a client who wanted something special. I sourced the cedar from Phillamore Enterprises in London. It's unfortunate but although we are the source of the best Cedar in the world, it's almost all exported. In the case of the deck and railings I built at that time in order to get clear old growth cedar I had to buy a whole lift from a mill and have it shipped to London. It was beautiful stuff, dense with lots of yellow and purple streaks. I bought some cedar for a set of gates last year from the same place, it was good quality, clear cedar but nothing like the stuff I got 20 years ago.

    I don't know the TO market for cedar, it's kind of a specialized product but I would call Oliver Lumber as a starting point http://www.oliverlumber.com/OLIVER_files/softwood.htm

    Best way to finish cedar is to do nothing to it at all, let it go grey. The most important thing to do is to design for good airflow so the wood can dry out. The trouble you get into finishing outdoor wood is you have to finish all 6 sides. Easy to do the first time but once the deck's built hard to maintain

  7. #7

    Default Re: Cedar Decks

    White cedar for everything here. No finish. Keep life simple.

  8. #8
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    Toronto
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    Nelson

    Default Re: Cedar Decks

    I've gone to shop around for composite but im not willing to spend $5000.00 at the moment so i think cedar is the next best way to go, also what would you guys recommend to seal it and would it be better to spray it rather than rolling it and leaving a thick coat on it.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Cedar Decks

    Quote Originally Posted by crazytalon View Post
    I've gone to shop around for composite but im not willing to spend $5000.00 at the moment so i think cedar is the next best way to go, also what would you guys recommend to seal it and would it be better to spray it rather than rolling it and leaving a thick coat on it.
    It ain't the next best, It's "THE BEST!" Composite is OK but it must be put on 12 inch centers and you MUST leave room for it to expand longitudinally. A 16 foot length may grow as much as a 1/2 inch in length depending on how cold the winter is. if you drop anything heavy on it when it is frozen it will snap real easy. Now you guys in the GTA don't get 40 below but we do and I'm telling you I can drive a hammer right thru the composites with a medium rap just like breaking a dinner plate when it's frozen.

    If you use 2x6 cedar, you could put it on 24 inch centers but I would stay at 16's and you don't need to put anything on it but if you must, apply a single coat of a good transparent stain and walk away.
    "Do it Right!"

  10. #10
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    Muir, near Woodstock,Ont.
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    Default Re: Cedar Decks

    my experience with cedar is obviously different than some. I am having a set of plans drawn at this time for a deck that is on a house that is 18 years old. No idea when the deck was built but the people were unable to use the deck last summer as the cedar decking is full of rot.I have yet to see a cedar deck that was any older than 20 years. The client that I did the hardwood floor for last week has a PT deck that I built 29 years ago and it is as solid today as when I built it. I am not a big fan of the 5/4 decking as with the thinner deck boards as they are really prone to checking. I find that a full 2x6 stands up a lot better and the cost difference is within a couple of cents and that disappears when you got to 24 inch centers on a full blown 2x6 for decking. I have built decks using cedar and in fact built one in Ottawa for a client last summer. They are a nice deck but my experience is that the ones I have had experience with they do not last as long as PT.

    brian
    " It is nice to be important but more important to be nice"

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Milton, Ontario
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    1,422

    Default

    I'm replacing my cedar deck this summer. It is 16 years old and the cedar is in trouble. The pt subframe is absolutely fine. I'll be using ipe.
    Cheers

    Tim

    www.timbowdin.com

    'If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem'

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Cedar Decks

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian @ Muir View Post
    my experience with cedar is obviously different than some. I am having a set of plans drawn at this time for a deck that is on a house that is 18 years old. No idea when the deck was built but the people were unable to use the deck last summer as the cedar decking is full of rot.I have yet to see a cedar deck that was any older than 20 years. The client that I did the hardwood floor for last week has a PT deck that I built 29 years ago and it is as solid today as when I built it. I am not a big fan of the 5/4 decking as with the thinner deck boards as they are really prone to checking. I find that a full 2x6 stands up a lot better and the cost difference is within a couple of cents and that disappears when you got to 24 inch centers on a full blown 2x6 for decking. I have built decks using cedar and in fact built one in Ottawa for a client last summer. They are a nice deck but my experience is that the ones I have had experience with they do not last as long as PT.

    brian
    I wish I could agree with you Brian but I honestly can't. My experience is just totally opposite of yours. I can't even say it's because of a geographic area or certain prevalent weather or whatever. I've lived and worked in the GTA, Vancouver and Alberta. My cedar deck is Large and Old and it ain't done yet. Meanwhile a PT deck I did for my BIL in Van is half the age of mine and 1/2 of the PT 2x6 has been replaced. The only thing I can suggest is there are definitely different grades of PT.
    "Do it Right!"

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Cedar Decks

    Rusty.. I don't doubt what you say the least bit but my personal experience has been as I posted. I can honestly say that a couple of weeks ago I seen a PT 6x6 fence post that had rotted from the top down in the center. The unique thing is that it was the first time I had ever seen a piece of PT that was rotten. There is 3 different levels of pressure treated in this area. I don't recall the name of the company but they are located in Campbellville. They helped me with a dispute I was having with the City of Ottawa last summer. The heavier concentration of preservative is usually stamped" for use below grade". I have the concentrations buried somewhere in the office.

    Brian
    " It is nice to be important but more important to be nice"

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Cedar Decks

    Agreed Brian. I have seen plenty of rotten Cedar too but generally it's rotten under a coat of paint or heavy body stain. That's something that can not be done to Cedar if you want it too last. There is true merit to the statement "Cedar should be left to weather with no coating of any kind."

    We have 4 cedar deck chairs that I made in 1978 when I lived in Ontario. We use them every day in the summer. If anyone doesn't believe me, I'll buy the plane ticket to come and see them and when I prove their age you can pay me back for the flight. Any takers.
    "Do it Right!"

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Cedar Decks

    our 4 year old eastern white cedar deck is lasting well, no issues. of course 4 years is nothing

    since building it, ive done nothing to it except an annual light power wash, no stain, no "treatments"

    and its all a nice uniform grey except the new post caps i made this spring
    my shop is a beaver lodge
    steve, sarnia, ont

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Cedar Decks

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian @ Muir View Post
    my experience with cedar is obviously different than some. I am having a set of plans drawn at this time for a deck that is on a house that is 18 years old. No idea when the deck was built but the people were unable to use the deck last summer as the cedar decking is full of rot.I have yet to see a cedar deck that was any older than 20 years. The client that I did the hardwood floor for last week has a PT deck that I built 29 years ago and it is as solid today as when I built it. I am not a big fan of the 5/4 decking as with the thinner deck boards as they are really prone to checking. I find that a full 2x6 stands up a lot better and the cost difference is within a couple of cents and that disappears when you got to 24 inch centers on a full blown 2x6 for decking. I have built decks using cedar and in fact built one in Ottawa for a client last summer. They are a nice deck but my experience is that the ones I have had experience with they do not last as long as PT.

    brian
    Brian a question of interest for me. Was there any finish applied to that 29 year old PT deck or was it left to age naturally? Most often I have NOT been able to convince people to leave decks [Cedar or PT] untreated.

    I wouldn't use PT for deck floors anymore even if I was asked to do it. That's just me Tho.
    "Do it Right!"

  17. #17
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    Woodstock, Ontario
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    Default Re: Cedar Decks

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
    Brian a question of interest for me. Was there any finish applied to that 29 year old PT deck or was it left to age naturally? Most often I have NOT been able to convince people to leave decks [Cedar or PT] untreated.

    I wouldn't use PT for deck floors anymore even if I was asked to do it. That's just me Tho.
    What are your reasons? Just curious.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Cedar Decks

    I live 2 hours west of Toronto and i can get all kinds of white cedar just like this .

    aa.jpg

    gg.jpg

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Cedar Decks

    Jamie i don't like PT mainly because it hasn't performed as advertised for me. I've replaced a lot of it years ago that was mush and dust. The best I ever used was bought by a fellow who actually owned a lumber business in Edmonton. It was for his mother and came from Spray Lakes Sawmill if my memory is any good. We used it for joisting but not for floor boards. It was the kind of PT product that had all the little cuts in the face where the preservative had been impregnated. Obviously it was way too rough to walk on in bare feet. So I guess it boils down to failure and smooth surface. If you cut it you should apparently paint some preservative on the cut end. If you listen to, or read the specs and systems used to impregnate the wood, it seems to me that simply painting a cut end can not be expected to "FORCE" the preservative into the wood as they do under pressure at the Mill and for that reason it fails. I've also experienced the center board of a built up [2x12] beam rot right out because moisture can not escape from the middle lamination. I know that can happen with any wood but it seems to me it happens quicker with the PT. Maybe water gets into the wood thru those pressure cuts in the surface. I dunno but it fails.

    For me it's Cedar 2x6 first and composite products second for flooring boards. Colour has some bearing on my thoughts as well.
    "Do it Right!"

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Cedar Decks

    Rusty... The 29 year old deck has had Thompson's applied and probably a few other things early on. The only thing that I have noticed with the Thompsons is that it does help eliminate the checking that you will get with untreated PT. Marketing seems to dicatate what the general public see's as quality and at one time cedar was the ultimate deck and I fully agree that it is best to leave it untreated. Unfortunately when you build a $40,000 deck and Gazebo in an area of high end homes they do not want it to look like the Beverly Hillbilly's back yard when it comes to color. I think what we have to consider is that the old guy up above does not make all lumber exactly alike and when it goes to the PT plant we are introducing the human factor and money and that can really send things askew. I have no doubt what yu are saying about your cedar chairs or anything else and as I said earlier my comments are not related to what I have read but what I have experienced. I am not a big fan of PT as it may seem with my posts. I just finished a kitchen for my neighbor and they decided they want a fence. I am going with PT posts and rails and 1x10 rough pine boards applied in a board and batten style. The house is a converted church and the grey of aged pine is what they wants so I am a happy camper. Now I just have to figure where I am going to find the time.

    Have a great day.

    Brian
    " It is nice to be important but more important to be nice"

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