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iceman11
cedar railings
iceman11

live in Pittsburgh, PA (southwest PA)

I'm thinking about replacing my current deck railing with cedar. I may do the deck boards too, if I can find 5/4 X 6 boards. I will skin the posts with cedar boards resawed to approx. 3/8" thick. the reason for using cedar is that with my new design, I will need to cut quite a few pieces of 2 X 2 X about 5'-0" long, and the cedar will be easier to mill than treated lumber. I also think it will look better, and have less tendency to warp. after completion I will coat with a semi-transparent stain.
does anyone know of a reason why this could be a bad idea?
overall, any opinions as to the good or bad points of this idea?

thanks

Mastercarpentry
Re: cedar railings
Mastercarpentry

Cedar is a soft wood compared to most so it will be easily dented compared to more common woods used for railings and decking. It also similarly has less strength for a given dimension. The usual grades also tend to splinter although that happens with treated pine lumber too. If you are OK with all that then go for it and use a good grade of wood to minimize these possibilities from becoming problems. I do like cedar, don't get me wrong, but I don't think it best where you're wanting to use it- YMMV

Phil

dj1
Re: cedar railings
dj1

IPE would make a better choice for the post covers.

Sombreuil_mongrel
Re: cedar railings
Sombreuil_mongrel

Hi,
Consider using some joinery and a lot of glue to hold your thin wood skins/wraps together to themselves. Thinner wood is more prone to warp, not less, but if it can be held firmly together at the joints, it will be a unit with structural integrity, and very stable. Build the wraps first, paint the inside surfaces and seal the end grain, and slide them down over your posts.
Casey

HoustonRemodeler
Re: cedar railings
HoustonRemodeler

What they said plus;

Cedar isn't as structurally strong as other woods and often needs to be larger to handle the same loads and stresses as other species

iceman11
Re: cedar railings
iceman11

I'm not too concerned with structural issues. the top $ bottom rails will be approx. 2" high X 1 - 1/2" thick on each side of the 1 -1/2" square pickets/ballusters (in a sunburst pattern), with a 1 1/2" X 5 1/2" cap, supported by blocks on the bottom @ 3'-0" maximum spacing. That being said, I will heed your advice about strength and not do the deck with cedar, as the current decking is 5/4 X 6, and I wouldn't want to go thicker.
I was more concerned with how well the cedar would hold up cosmetically. Would it discolor or grey more than treated lumber? Would it need recoated more often (all cedar will be vertical)?
Regarding the posts, I can't make a sleeve and slide it over, since the posts support the roof. I can prefab 2 halves for each, or a 3 sided sleeve (if the measurements work right). Sombreuil, I was actually thinking of using some biscuits at about 2'-0" spacing (posts are 8"-0" high) to hold the corners together, along with some P&L premium glue (similar to liquid nails, but better. I have used this to adhere cap stones onto a retaining wall about 5 years ago, and you can't move those without moving the entire wall. I will also liberally glue the skins to the post with the same material.
thanks for all of your input. if anyone has any further comments, they would be appreciated.

a safe & happy new year to all.

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