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Cedar Columns for Porch


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This porch is about 10 years old and has used cedar for the main support columns. That is a first for me. Pressure treated pine is the universal support I see for wood decks. The columns are not showing any problems other than deteriorating the galvanized steel base fasteners. Cedar can be especially corrosive to galvanized steel.

The Chicago Bible for decks and porches only uses Southern Pine in its examples but allows for naturally durable species of lumber.

I am interested in any thoughts on reporting this.

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Red Cedar is fine for that. Naturally durable all the way thru, which is not true for PT wood.

Re: those corroded brackets, I don't see that here in the land of Cedar, in 10 or even 20 year construction. Acid rain, maybe? I would not blame the wood for that.

If Cedar was that corrosive to galvanized metal, there'd be no Cedar roofing industry.

If that is White Cedar, it is said to be not as strong, but still very durable.

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If it's got all the rest of the stuff Chicago requires, I wouldn't even mention it other than describing the materials in my descriptions section.

The bracket corrosion is from the salt they put on the walk. I'd probably mention that as a repair, mostly to avoid some future inspector making me look bad.

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They're pulling centuries old growth logs, buried in the mud at the bottom of various Great Lakes, that have been there for >100 years, and it's in perfect condition. No rot. They're doing the same thing on the West Coast.

Why's it not rotting? No oxygen? But, a lot of the stuff around here is sitting on the bottom, it's not buried, it can get some oxygen, and it's still not rotten.

I've seen rotting cedar, but it's usually on a roof. How's it work?

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I have not problem with the cedar from a structural standpoint. I would call for replacement of the post bottoms.

The heartwood of cedar is decay resistant. Unless it is old growth there is not much heartwood around. I see a lot of deteriorated cedar decking at areas where moisture is trapped. Where is can dry readily, not so much.

My deck is cedar and is 25 years old. About the only decay is at the ends of decking at the perimeter of the deck. I left debris build up at the gap between the decking and the band board.

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There's folks here digging out large cypress logs that's been buried deep in the mud of the Atchafalaya Basin for hundreds of years. They sell for thousands of dollars each. The mills that buy them slice them into long thin continuous sheets that are used to laminate MDF into cabinet-grade panels.

I don't know why they never rotted. Water ain't all that deep in the swamps.

Marc

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...Eastern red cedar is not a cedar at all. It is Juniperus virgininicus, a juniper. I don't know what western red is, but I have seen it rot due to weather effects.

There's a northern white cedar; my century old canoe is made with it. The stuff can rot, but barely. When I found it, it'd been sitting in the mud in a Chicago back yard for approximately 50 years; only the stem and stern ribs were rotten where they'd been sitting in the mud. Whether or not it's "real" cedar, I have no idea....it sure smells like cedar though.

I've got an eave gutter (white cedar) from an 1850 house. I salvaged it in (about) 1987 when they demolished the house. It sat in the weather handling roof drainage for >135 years, and not a speck of rot. Nothing.

I'm not altogether sure that, when we're are talking about rotting cedar, that we're talking about the same stuff. Some of it doesn't seem to rot.

Anything <40 years isn't old growth; that stuff played out in the 70's. So, most of what we're seeing isn't really old growth, it's just kinda old growth.

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Right, old growth Cedar out this way is 500 years old. Ok some is younger and some is 800+. These are the giant trees that are maybe 14 feet in diameter at the butt.

That is the wood those totem poles were carved from and those poles are over 100 years old mostly.

The big old trees get a root rot that rots the heart out while they are still standing. So that fungi can be in the sawn lumber, but rarely keeps growing after logging. Cedar fence posts rot at the ground level. Moisture and air. Buried Cedar lasts a very long time but it does rot slowly.

Logs in the lake are amazing. Here they have salvaged Western Hemlock logs that were submerged near the old sawmills. Hemlock is heavy and has a high water content, so it would sink before Douglas Fir or Spruce. Cedar would not sink so there are none of those logs to be salvaged.

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My daughter, the tree-hugger.

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New cedar is only mildly decay resistant. Old growth stuff seems almost indestructible.

Do folks find old cedar rotting?

As far as the porch supports, a little fungus poison on the bottom would probably be good.

I've found rotting old growth cedar, but it takes a lot of abuse to get it to rot. The stuff in Mike's pictures is, of course, not old growth. Still probably better than cheap PT wood, which rots up the middle all the time.

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Thanks. I never see PT wood rot. A cedar trellis I built for my Dad rotted posts next to grade after about 20 yrs.

I see galv nails in cedar pickets and they turn black and bleed. Premier Forest Products, whoever they are, say don't use electroplated galv fasteners.

http://www.premierforestproducts.com/pages/102.pdf

Are other galvanized nails and staples

recommended in Western Red Cedar

applications?

NO! Electroplated, mechanical galvanized and untreated steel

nails and staples are not recommended on any Western Red

Cedar application. These types of nails and staples can rust,

disintegrate, do not provide adequate holding power and react

adversely with the natural preservative oils present in Western

Red Cedar resulting in stains and streaks. Copper nails also

react with Western Red Cedar and should not be used.

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This thread got me thinking about my 45 year old porch posts. They're embedded in the slab. It concerned me when I bought the house 20 years ago, although there wasn't the slightest bit of softness where they enter the slab. 10 years ago, when I stripped them to repaint, I discovered they were cedar. To this day, there isn't the slightest hint of softness. I think I can finally put my concerns to rest.

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This thread got me thinking about my 45 year old porch posts. They're embedded in the slab. It concerned me when I bought the house 20 years ago, although there wasn't the slightest bit of softness where they enter the slab. 10 years ago, when I stripped them to repaint, I discovered they were cedar. To this day, there isn't the slightest hint of softness. I think I can finally put my concerns to rest.

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I'm impressed the concrete around it hasn't blown apart after all these years.

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I'm impressed, too. There's not much concrete on the side.

It's a small ranch, but it was built by a high-end custom builder who really knew what he was doing. I still have the original kitchen, mainly because I'm cheap. The cabinets are out of style, with dark wood, but I couldn't afford to replace them with like-quality cabinets. I'm sure dark wood will be back in style some day.

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I wonder if that builder's technique was to keep the penetration of the column down to perhaps 1/2 inch so as to minimize the chance of ever breaking the concrete?

Anchoring provided by some piece of steel inserted into the bottom of the column and imbedded into the concrete, steel that's less likely to crack concrete.

Marc

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I'm impressed, too. There's not much concrete on the side.

It's a small ranch, but it was built by a high-end custom builder who really knew what he was doing. I still have the original kitchen, mainly because I'm cheap. The cabinets are out of style, with dark wood, but I couldn't afford to replace them with like-quality cabinets. I'm sure dark wood will be back in style some day.

Hey Joe,

The other word for "cheap" is "frugal", which in some cultures is recognized as a virtue. My daughter recently occupied a home with her new hubby that was built out in wood paneling and darker cabinet doors. She talked hubby into "pickling" doors with thinned down kilz, and they look great.

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Thanks. I never see PT wood rot. A cedar trellis I built for my Dad rotted posts next to grade after about 20 yrs.

I see galv nails in cedar pickets and they turn black and bleed. Premier Forest Products, whoever they are, say don't use electroplated galv fasteners.

http://www.premierforestproducts.com/pages/102.pdf

Are other galvanized nails and staples

recommended in Western Red Cedar

applications?

NO! Electroplated, mechanical galvanized and untreated steel

nails and staples are not recommended on any Western Red

Cedar application. These types of nails and staples can rust,

disintegrate, do not provide adequate holding power and react

adversely with the natural preservative oils present in Western

Red Cedar resulting in stains and streaks. Copper nails also

react with Western Red Cedar and should not be used.

They don't want you to use cheezy fasteners because they cause staining that makes their members' products look like crap.

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I'm impressed, too. There's not much concrete on the side.

It's a small ranch, but it was built by a high-end custom builder who really knew what he was doing. I still have the original kitchen, mainly because I'm cheap. The cabinets are out of style, with dark wood, but I couldn't afford to replace them with like-quality cabinets. I'm sure dark wood will be back in style some day.

It is, and has been for a while! Good job waiting it out. Since I built my cabinets out of walnut, It's going to be in style around here until I'm not. [;)]

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