The Skinny On Brown P.T. Lumber

outside_in-sliding_glass_door-ipe_deck-concrete_bar-richlite-rectangle_-editI”ll keep this short, since my patience has become short with this product.  Years ago I swore I would never use P.T. lumber again.  I said that because I discovered the endless benefits of cedar.  At that time composite decking materials were just hitting the market and I quickly brushed them aside because, well, they looked like plastic.  So the cedar love affair was deep and fruitful for well over a decade for me.  cracks

Then last year I found myself in a new home and in need of a new deck.  Off to the big box store down the street to pick up materials and start my weekend of framing.  Since I’d last paid attention the P.T. supply had changed shades from that nuclear green to a hospitable earthy brown.  This made a lot of sense I thought and did enough to close the visual gap between P.T. and cedar to win back this customer.  However that decision has left me in a pool of regret.  This product arrived in my backyard soaking wet.  I can’t give you an accurate reading but safe to say it had recently jumped out of the bath.

dsc_0093-216184856_stdWhat does that mean?  It means a lot of change is coming.  So while I accommodated the anticipated shrinkage by installing my finish floor boards snug against each other there was nothing I could do for the other forces coming in to play.  With the sun beating down on my deck for the first week the drying process became a force of nature unmanageable by any tools or fasteners in the standard arsenal.  The cupping the floor boards underwent left my deck a disaster.  The 4 x 4 posts have twisted and checked so bad they now look like an art installation and an engineers nightmare.   Just two months later I had to replace several parts and sand down the floor boards with an aggressive floor sander with 24 grit paper.  The process took 3 different sanders over 2 days and left me having to stain my deck to finish it off.  Now I don’t remember the old-school green P.T. lumber being so wet and I have never arrived at a clients house to see the twisting, cupping, and checking on older green P.T. decks like my new brown P.T. deck exhibited.  P.T. fail.  Another huge reminder just how great cedar is.