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Forum topic by newwoodbutcher posted 04-14-2012 07:19 AM 3760 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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newwoodbutcher

371 posts in 1505 days


04-14-2012 07:19 AM

I’ve got a line on eight finish grade 4×8x20 Doug fir beams for $100.00 each. I think it’s a good deal the beams are new, straight and smooth. I started looking for cedar but the cost of these distracted me. I’m wondering how they will hold up outdoors (Southern California). Is this the wrong material? I don’t want to paint them, I’d rather use Penifin or some comparable oil touch them up every few years. Your opinions?

-- Ken


19 replies so far

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fussy

980 posts in 1705 days


#1 posted 04-14-2012 07:53 AM

Ken,

While doug fir is strong and moderately hard, it is not durable outside. It is not reccomended for use where conditions promote decay. If you do use it, consider a good untinted exterior base. It’s just outdoor base paint with no tint. It’s about the best kept secret in finishing. It’s loaded with UV inhibitors, compounded to live outdoors and protects whatever it’s applied to. It looks milky but dries perfectly clear. Use at leasr 3 coats. Six would be better, and this is one time when spending more gets you more.

Steve

-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

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Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1723 days


#2 posted 04-14-2012 01:13 PM

Doug Fir can last for years outdoors as long as it isn’t in direct contact with the ground or in a high moisture environment. Exposure to direct sunlight will eventually turn it to a dark gray, but that can be delayed by maintaining a finish with high UV resistance.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

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Lee Barker

2163 posts in 1505 days


#3 posted 04-14-2012 01:44 PM

I am eager to try Steve’s finish recommendation.

However, I disagree with him about fir outside. As Oregon goes, ours is a dry climate, though we have rain and snow.

I have a fir deck which is over 30 years old. Never treated with any coating (that just generates constant work). I blow the leaves out of the cracks in the fall to keep moisture from getting trapped.

It is precisely the gray that Sawkerf describes.

To answer your question better Ken, what do you intend to use the beams for?

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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newwoodbutcher

371 posts in 1505 days


#4 posted 04-14-2012 05:17 PM

Lee,
My intention is to build a sort of patio cover/entrance for the front of my home, I’m thinking a Greene and Green type of scarf and joinery sort of like the Gamble House. There are already 4×4 redwood posts which have been there for many years and are painted. I’m planning to cover them with 2x material to expand their size and match the new beams. I live in San Diego County, we don’t get much rain here.

-- Ken

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Lee Barker

2163 posts in 1505 days


#5 posted 04-14-2012 05:27 PM

Fir would be fine, Ken. It’s all that we use in these parts for that kind of structure. Sounds nifty and challenging. I hope you post pix as you go.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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newwoodbutcher

371 posts in 1505 days


#6 posted 04-14-2012 05:28 PM

Will do Lee. Thank you for your advice

-- Ken

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newwoodbutcher

371 posts in 1505 days


#7 posted 04-14-2012 05:41 PM

Fussy,
I’ve never heard of that finishing material. Do you have a brand name you can recomend?

-- Ken

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newwoodbutcher

371 posts in 1505 days


#8 posted 04-14-2012 08:19 PM

Does $100.00 a stick sound like a good price?

-- Ken

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fussy

980 posts in 1705 days


#9 posted 04-14-2012 08:22 PM

Ken,

Any good paint that is custom colored uses a clear base to which tints are added to get the color you need. This is true for exterior as well as interior paints, but the exterior bases are where the uv inhibitors are. The base is clear. Oil base or latex, the base is clear. It looks murky when first opened and stirred, like water-based clear, but dries perfectly clear.

Here I use either Porter or Sherwin Williams. I think oil base holds up better, but friends say latex works just as well. At our age, I doubt we will ever be sure which is better. The trick is to get the best paint you can get. Untinted base. Some paint stores are reluctant to sell the base, usually because the salesman is unfamiliar with his product.

I first learned of this in 1971 when I was an assistant Division manager in paint at Sears. On old dude (about my age now—ouch) insisted he wanted untinted exterior base for a lake cabin he’d built. Wanted it to look natural. He invited me up to Jimmerson Lake, close to Goshen, Ind. to see. Looked good. Try it. Untinted exterior base. The higher priced the better.

Lee, I based my assesment of doug fir on what I had read on woodfinder and other such sites. I erred on the side of caution and still wouldn’t use it in ground contact. However, I bow ro your experience and knowledge of the conditioins there.

Lee, as a side note, I need to replace a small retaining wall that had rotted out (landscape timbers) but didn’t want to use treated wood as we grow a fewq vegatables there and I don’t want the stuff leaching into the soil. I was fortunate to find a source of black locust 4×4s reasonably priced and will use that. It’s good in ground contact for 80 years or so. plus it’s stable and beautiful. Do you have any black locust where you live?

Steve

-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

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newwoodbutcher

371 posts in 1505 days


#10 posted 04-14-2012 09:00 PM

Steve,
Thank you I will definatly take your advice. We have lots of supplier choices here.

-- Ken

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Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1723 days


#11 posted 04-14-2012 09:02 PM

Ken -
Before you get too deeply into your project, check the condition of those redwood posts. Redwood is often in great shape above grade, but is pretty rotten underground. If your house has an irrigation system that sprays on the posts, they may be rotted pretty badly.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

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newwoodbutcher

371 posts in 1505 days


#12 posted 04-14-2012 09:53 PM

Thanks Sawkerf, good advice

-- Ken

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a1Jim

112089 posts in 2232 days


#13 posted 04-15-2012 03:33 AM

Ken
I’m contractor of 25 years and have found fir will hold up well if it is keep painted a 4×8x 20ft green doug fir in my area sells for around $35-40. If the fir your talking about is Kiln dried then it would cost considerably more but I still feel $100 is excessive. Even though Lee has had good success with his untreated fir deck my experience has been that I’ve replaced decks that were 6 years old made from untreated fir do to rot and insect infestations . If it were anyone other than Lee I would have guessed they were mistaken about what wood their deck was made from. If you have any ground contact I would not use fir for that portion of your project.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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newwoodbutcher

371 posts in 1505 days


#14 posted 04-15-2012 04:01 AM

Jim, these are kiln dried 4×8x20 finish grade beams. You can get them in Oregon for #45 each?

-- Ken

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a1Jim

112089 posts in 2232 days


#15 posted 04-15-2012 04:11 AM

Ken I said I could get Green doug fir for $45 not kiln dried. Up here I would guess #1 kiln dried 4×8 20ft would go for $70 a stick. Where I live is where they mill Doug fir is milled so it might be less up here. One thing you you might think about is even Kiln dried would 4×4 or thicker will tend to develop cracks over time.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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