Business Operations

Seasons Change, But Redwood Timbers Stand the Test of Time

As distributors and retailers of quality building materials throughout the West, one of your primary goals is to keep your customers up to speed on current trends and products.

As distributors and retailers of quality building materials throughout the West, one of your primary goals is to keep your customers up to speed on current trends and products.

When customers are planning outdoor living spaces, they will need both the design and materials to stand the test of time. It only makes sense that the “bones” of the space have a durability and harmony with their surroundings. Natural products such as stone and wood create an effortless transition outdoors from the ground to the planned space, but of all the products available, redwood timbers should be at the top of the building materials list.

Redwood timbers, beams, and posts are a great choice for any outdoor landscaping plan. Larger in size than traditional dimension lumber (at least 6” x 6” for a post), redwood is the ideal wood to use in a wide range of projects where large structural components are required. But what’s even better: it has excellent strength and durability, shrinks and swells less than other woods, and is less likely to warp or split. And each redwood timber is naturally unique, with its own grain, color and texture.

Redwood timbers are available in dimensions of 4” x 6” up through 12” x 12” and lengths up to 20’. Larger dimensions can be special ordered. Tried and true Construction Heart grade (RIS para. 125) is the workhorse grade, while the architectural grade of Heart B (RIS para. 106) is available for those jobs that demand a clearer appearance with limited tight knots. Most redwood timbers are delivered FOHC and can be specified rough-sawn or S4S.

Numerous recent projects illustrate the versatility of redwood timbers.

Palomar Builders, the largest homebuilder in Redding, Ca., has installed redwood pergolas on some of its model homes in the Salt Creek Heights development. These structures built using redwood timbers underscore the sustainable features promoted within this community. After all, modern forestry practices ensure that more redwood trees are grown each year than are harvested. The builder expects to use more redwood throughout the development as home buyers tour the models and appreciate how well the pergolas connect with the natural surroundings and beckon people from indoors to enjoy the outdoor space.

To pay homage to what was once the world’s longest wisteria-covered pergola, the 800-ft. pergola in Concord, Ca.’s Totos Santos Plaza, a redwood arbor was recently constructed for an Eagle Scout project at the Galindo House in downtown Concord. The unique character and natural durability of the arbor’s timbers will make an ideal pairing with the soon to blossom wisteria.

Incorporating redwood timbers into landscape design is the expertise of San Francisco-based Metamorphosis Landscaping. Redwood timbers utilized as structural elements for trellis and pergolas provides the beauty and longevity to match the plantings which are designed to endure for many decades.

In the Hollywood Hills of Southern California is another dramatic example of incorporating redwood timbers with landscaping. A large trumpet vine draped pergola on a historic residence was originally built using Douglas fir. Suffering from decay and termite attack, the homeowners decided to replace the pergola with the right material, decay and termite resistant redwood timbers. Doing research, the homeowner determined that redwood Construction Heart 3×12, 8×8 and 8×12 timbers, some cut to lengths if 20 feet, would be the best structural support for those tree-like trumpet vines.

The natural strength of redwood makes it the perfect material for structural yet visually interesting jobs. And it’s not limited to California-area projects, either. A number of lumber retailers throughout the West offer redwood lumber and timbers―products that are renewable, recyclable and biodegradable, providing environmental advantages over alternative materials.

Colorado has always been a market which welcomed redwood. As one of the nation’s largest timber frame fabrication facilities, Rocky Mountain Joinery Center, Lafayette, Co., recently began offering redwood timbers as an option to its customers seeking pergola, pavilion and arbor packages. Its team of machine operators and timber frame specialists put together precision packages for timber frame retailers, builders, developers and architects throughout North America and worldwide. Redwood timbers are milled from carefully managed and responsibly harvested forestlands in Northern California.

As more homeowners and contractors are learning that redwood is sustainably managed and readily available, demand for redwood timbers is growing. From shade structures to gazebos, arbors that transition from one point in the yard to another, exposed framing or rafters, more and more homeowners are coming to appreciate the natural beauty of redwood that makes their own space all the more breathtaking.

 

 

Charlie Jourdain

Charlie Jourdain is manager of business development with Humboldt Redwood Co. (www.getredwood.com).