Knotty Cedar ???

Old 08-21-02, 04:58 AM
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Question Knotty Cedar ???

I spent the last 8 weeks building a 16 x 24' deck around a 24'round above ground pool. I prestained all my 5/4 x 6 Knotty Cedar boards (Cabot's Austrailian Timber Oil) and predrilled and countersank all screws (2 1/2"). I just put my last board down yesterday and all that is left are the railings. I am quite pleased with the way it came out.

Monday night we had a decent amount of rain. Last night I was looking at my deck and I noticed that quite a few of the knotts are starting to split and a couple are popping out.

Is this a natural tendency for knotty cedar or did I buy poor quality wood?

Did I just spend the last 8 weeks of my life building a deck that will have to be replaced in five years?

H E L P ! ! ! ! !

Old 08-22-02, 09:33 AM
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Knotty Cedar Deck!


I guess you have a problem for sure. Cedar makes for a nice deck but I usually would prefere the Clear Cedar instead for exactly the reasons of your post. Clear Cedar has very few knots and blemishes and is considered prime choice when it comes to building decks.

I realize that Knotty Cedar, or tight knot cedar is a lower cost alternative to Clear Cedar. Trouble is, it has many knots and grain variations. Most of the knots are from live branches, very few if any will ever fall out. But when they do, you got problems. Some people glue them back in but eventually they will come out again.

The other issue is that when maintained, a Clear Cedar deck may last as long as 40 years but Knotty Cedar is about 20 - 25 years.

The biggest factor in going with Knotty versus is clear is usally the price, usually about $4 - $6 difference in cost per square foot but the cost is minimal when you consider the product and length of time it will be used.

Unfortunately, you have no choice to accept the conditions or spend lots of money to redo it. I assume that is not an option.

Old 08-22-02, 10:08 AM
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Thanks for the reply Doug.

I actually like the look of Knotty Cedar and the price was $.99 a linear foot for 5/4" x 6" (I guess the old saying you get what you pay for is true.

The alternatives were:
- 5/4" x 6" PTL. don't care for the look of PTL.
- TREX. Quite a few of my neighbors used TREX but I personally prefer wood over plastic.
- Mahogany. Maybe I should have gone with this.

I never considered clear cedar or redwood though.

I only had one knott pop and I can live with that. The thing that REALLY bothers me is that there are quite a few knotts (the oblong strange shaped ones) that are splitting and cracking. They are actually raising up and then splitting. I am concerned that one of my kids or anyone using the deck will end up with a splinter or a cut.

I am going to let the boards age and get acclimated and I will then go and turn the bad boards over and see if this helps. I may also rent a sander next spring and sand the entire deck.

If I get 10 years out of the Knotty Cedar I will be more than happy.

Thanks again,
Steve M.

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