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Posted: 6/10/2003 1:26:25 PM EDT
A week or so ago I posed on here about the bad luck I had building a porch. Almost all of my lumber warped and twisted on me. The only lumber I can get in this area is green lumber so it looks like that's all I've got to work with. I can try to eliminate the problems by buying smaller quantities and getting it all framed up in a day or two so it's held in place well but I need a good way to seal up my 4x8 headers to try to prevent them from twisting. The paint department at Home Depot suggests that I use an oil based Behr primer rather than water based. They think it will seal the damp lumber better. I'm not so sure myself and since I'm having to pull these parts out and start over I want to make sure I protect it as well as possible this time. Anyone got any better ideas for what to use to get a good seal? It seems to me probably the greater problem is the wood drying too quickly. John
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 1:40:40 PM EDT
If you seal the lumber before the treatment dries, how will it dry?
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 2:26:27 PM EDT
That's the same thing that I'm wondering. Seems to me if you seal it up as soon as you get the material home (which is what they are telling me to do at the store) then all of that moisture will be trapped inside it. John
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 2:33:17 PM EDT
Well, find a large construction site. Preferrably pull up around 3 am, and load the lumber in your truck! Oh, wait, you said [b]seal[/b]. Never mind. Aviator
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 3:15:36 PM EDT
You say the only lumber you can get is green lumber. Do you mean green treated lumber, or do you mean poorly kiln-dried lumber? Green treated lumber is becoming less popular, and to be honest it is crap to build with unless you get "last years" stock and can cull out the 75% that is twisted and warped. Treated lumber fresh from the mill has so much water and chemicals in it that if you hit it with a hammer, very often it will splash moisture into your face. That is not a good thing, since that is probably arsnic splashing into your eyes. The lumber is so bloated it is forced to be straight. As it dries it looses nearly half it's weight, and it twists, bows, splits, and checks. I have screwed down deck boards one day, and come back the next to find deck screws broken from the board twisting overnight. Sealing it will only slow down the process, not stop it. I have pretty much gotten away from using treated lumber period, with the exception of posts that go into the ground. If you are using untreated lumber that has been poorly kiln-dried, find another source. White pine or Poplar has been used for a century to build houses. It will hold up as well as treated wood as long as you paint it and maintain it. Cedar is excellant, although it is more expensive and does not have quite the strength and rigidity of Poplar.
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 3:36:23 PM EDT
The lumber I'm using isn't treated and unfortunately it's not kiln dried either. The only lumber available in this area is Doug Fir that's stamped "green" because it's not dried at all. Some of it is so wet it feels like it just came out of a tree a few days ago. I've tried all of the lumber yards in this area and that's all that they can get in. I checked with some contractors to see what they were using and they told me the stuff I'm getting is all that they can find too and they also have lots of problems with it. So I'm trying to figure out the best way to deal with this junk and do my best to keep it from twisting and warping. John
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 3:56:04 PM EDT
Reminds me of years ago in Kodiak, building a house. Spruce wasn't too bad, although it shrunk. I looked at a load, and cracked up the crew when I wryly noted, "Birds were singing in this recently." I would have a load of Kiln Dried shipped in!
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 4:14:04 PM EDT
Never build with wet wood......PERIOD!! One exception may be pressure treated deck/porch wood, (I just finished one), then only if ya use screws, and know how to do it... NEVER, EVER PAINT OR SEAL WET WOOD!!!!!!
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 4:34:30 PM EDT
That sounds like a serious problem, John. If the lumber is that wet, I don't think sealing it will benefit the wood or you. If the boards are sealed and stay wet too long, they may rot. The straight grained boards are going to stay straight, the ones that want to twist or warp are going to do so as they dry. Slower drying will result in less distortion, but some distortion will occur if the wood grain says twist. I don't see how the lumber you are being offered can be used for anything other than making pallets. If you can put the project off for a few months or a year, that would be your best bet. The lumber situation in your area may correct itself by then. Good luck to you.
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 4:47:48 PM EDT
If you can afford the time, dry it yourself. Buy it green, stack it, and sticker it. Give it even a few weeks (months are better) and it'll lose quite a bit of moisture, and should dry as straight as it's going to get. make sure and cover it, though, with good airflow around it, so it doesn't dry too quickly. You'll still end up with some firewood, but it might work out. Might be easier and cheaper than rebuilding the project over and over. Or, ship in the dried stuff.
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 5:02:24 PM EDT
Originally Posted By DScott: If you can afford the time, dry it yourself. Buy it green, stack it, and sticker it. Give it even a few weeks (months are better) and it'll lose quite a bit of moisture, and should dry as straight as it's going to get. make sure and cover it, though, with good airflow around it, so it doesn't dry too quickly. You'll still end up with some firewood, but it might work out. Might be easier and cheaper than rebuilding the project over and over. Or, ship in the dried stuff.
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I agree with the above. If all you can get is green wood, you need to dry it properly. Stack it off the ground (high enough up that splashing rain won't get it filthy and also high enough that insects wont get into it. You MUST support the wood evenly or it will sag and warp. Air must circulate freely around the wood, so the individual boards must be spaced evenly apart both vertically and horizontally so that air circulates evenly. Stickers are the thin pieces of wood used to do this. They are about 1x1 or 1x2 trash wood. You space them about 18 inches apart with one row of stickers directly over the next and directly over the supports so the weight of the wood passes evenly to the ground. Obviously a level platform is important. Don't mix and match different dimensioned wood in the same layer if you can avoid it as it can mess up the air flow a bit. Obviously you don't want rain and snow laying on the wood. So cover it, but make sure that air can flow cleanly around and over the wood. BTW, properly air cleaning wood can take a while (a year or more). If you MUST get this job done now, find a GOOD lumber yard that will deliver the wood and be willing to pay the money. Good kiln dried lumber is the ONLY solution for construction that must happen NOW.
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 5:05:37 PM EDT
John, I had some 4x8 DF that twisted on me. I kept flipping it on the driveway and it eventually got pretty straight. Seems to me that your framing will hold it fairly straight while it dries. The longitudinal cracks you'll get in it are unavoidable and add character. If you put any type of surface sealer on there, it is going to bubble off and look like hell. Not to mention the time you'll have to take to strip it off and repaint. BLO might work. Try heading over to www.woodnet.net and checking in the home improvement forum. Or you could try theoak.com or www.woodworking.org 's forums. I'm glad I'm not the one lifting a wet 4x8 header in the air [:D]
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 5:06:31 PM EDT
#1 treated lumber = KDAT It's kiln dried.. then treated.. then kiln dried again. KDAT = KILN DRIED AFTER TREATMENT It can be painted immediatly if you seal your wet wood, it will mildew.. and the alkyde (oil base) is mildew friendly. I buy all my KDAT from Stahlmans Lumber here is Houston and Stafford Texas.
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 5:20:08 PM EDT
If you must use green wood and can't allow drying time (God help you) primer will inhibit moisture transfer, but not completely, so the wood will still season in place, but since it seasons more slowly, the stresses don't express themselves the same way. Don't expect things to come out perfectly plumb, square and level though. The lumber will tend to "move" as it seasons. You just can't avoid it with green wood. Now what the hell is going on in your neck of the woods that you can't get dried lumber?
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 6:00:55 PM EDT
Thanks for the info everyone. I agree with all of you, wet wood is not good to build with. Unfortunately I've got a building permit that expires in about 6 weeks and I've got two porches to complete, a 8x30 and a 11x30 so I need to get some lumber immediately and get started on it as soon as possible. Unfortunately I'm having to tear down the first one now because I got started on it and had to stop for about 3 1/2 weeks. The part I'd finished was still good and straight but the part of the rafters that wasn't covered with plywood and locked in place with blocks was a twisted, warped mess. I think if I start in here again and get it framed and covered in plywood quickly than I think it will be ok. My biggest concern is these 4x8 headers. I'm in S. Calif near Victorville and unfortunately this quality of lumber seems to be about all they get around here. I here other parts of the country have better stuff. I'm getting this placed finished up so we can sell it and get the heck out of Calif so hopefully future building projects will be a little easier if I can get better lumber in the area where we are going. John
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 6:10:04 PM EDT
The builders can't be using that crap, they'd get the living shit sued out of them. Find out where they get their lumber and buy there. There has got to be a lumberyard somewhere that has lumber worth a damn.
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 6:16:25 PM EDT
I talked to a few builders here and some framers because I couldn't believe they used this junk but they do. They said for framing they keep the bands around the lumber until right when they are ready to start framing. Then they cut them and try to get that lumber in place in a couple of days as secure as possible to minimize the warping. It's too bad that all of the small lumber yards here that got quality lumber are long gone. John
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 6:23:32 PM EDT
Get in your vehicle and drive down I-15 to the L.A. Basin and buy some quality lumber. Or go to Vegas w/ the ol'lady for a weekend and take back some lumber. Gas is far cheaper then having to do a sub-quality home improvement project! You will be better off in the long run if you do the job right the first time.
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 7:20:34 PM EDT
As a metal framing contractor, stories like this make me appreciate the materials we use. Every single stud is perfectly straight and perfectly dimensioned. [8D]
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 11:52:41 PM EDT
Try looking up [url]www.terrylumber.com[/url] to see if there is a location close to you. I've got two of them within 15 minutes of where I live, and they stock pretty decent lumber. Try using engineered lumber for your header and all the other important pieces. Laminated veneer lumber, or glue laminated beams are ideal and stronger & straighter than regular wood. If you can't use the man made stuff, try finding redwood 4X8 (pricey, but it will be dry and straight and better for outdoor use anyway), or perhaps vertical grain fir. All these options will be more expensive, but it appears you don't have much choice. If you have to drive an hour to find a good lumber yard, do it - otherwise you will just have a bigger headache down the road.
Link Posted: 6/11/2003 1:58:40 AM EDT
Thanks for the info everyone. I thought about using engineered lumber or taking some 2x8's (I found some that were kiln dried) and laminating them together to make the 4x8 header but the city won't go for either those unfortunately unless I resubmit my plans for a new inspection and that gets expensive. I'll check and see if there's a Terry store near me. I know there aren't any right in this area but maybe there's one within a couple hours of here. In the local area I'm stuck with Lowe's, Home Depot and a small yard called Barr Lumber. I thought Barr would be my best bet but when I called them they told me to expect their 4x8s to be wet and they will definetly crack quite a bit and crack some too. That sounded like what I've already got. Cope I know what you mean about the metal studs. After this mess I think that's the way I'll build my next home. John
Link Posted: 6/11/2003 8:33:33 PM EDT
pilot4x4, Since your city building codes are a pain in the ass (royally it seems), it appears your best bet is to go with redwood or vertical grain fir for the 4X8 header. Again, this will be more expensive but since the above mentioned lumber is generally used for exposed, "decorative" purposes it will be dry and straight.
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