Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Decking Installation Tips: 5 Things You Should Know Before, During, and After

Hardwood decking installation can be a fun, rewarding experience. Hosting a summer BBQ or pool party is just that much better when you're able to brag to your friends that you installed the new deck they're enjoying. The following are five helpful tips you can use to make your deck installation project a success.

The following information is taken from the article Decking Installation Tips on StoneWoodOutlet.com.
Decking installation is difficult and should only be attempted by experienced DIYers. If you are unsure about your installation abilities, call a professional.

1. Acclimate, acclimate, acclimate!
If your are installing a wood deck, it is critical that your decking material is near the final moisture content before starting to install. Most of our hardwood products are kiln dried down to 10-12% moisture content (MC), which is ideal and does not require additional acclimation time on the job site. We also sell air dried (AD) Ipe which does require acclimation for up to two weeks, depending on the starting moisture content. Air dried products can range from 10% MC all the way up to 25% MC. Using a moisture meter is great way to determine starting MC.

2. Be wary of shrinkage.
Shinkage will be very minimal if installing kiln dried hardwood material or air dried material which has been fully acclimated down to 10% MC. Generally, only the dryest condition will cause shrinkage - such as installing in the high desert areas in Oregon. We generally recommend a full 1/4" between 1x6 or 5/4x6 boards, and 3/16" between 1x4 or 5/4x4 deck boards. If installing in a very dry environment, you should plan to use a 1/16" smaller gap between boards. If you are installing air dried material with a starting MC around 18%, then we recommend 1/8" between boards. Your will get shrinkage of up to to 1/8", possibly even 3/16", with air dried material. The longer you let it acclimate, the less movement you will get after installation.

3. Use the right finish.
The best finish we have found is Duckback from SuperDeck. We carry both the natural and walnut exotic hardwood oil finish. Our preference for ease of maintenance is the Duckback walnut oil, which adds some brown pigment to the mix in order to help protect the wood's natural color from UV exposure. We estimate that the walnut oil finish will outlast the clear finish by one to two years.

4. Straighten up that board, private!
When dealing with crooked boards, we recommend using a Bow Wrench. This tool allows the installer to easily take out up to 1" of side bend. We have these tools in stock.

5. Fasten the deck correctly.
Although there are many different hidden fastener systems which all claim to work well, we always recommend screwing through the face with 2 screws per joist connecion with each board. Screwing through the face is the most reliable and least expensive way to install a hardwood deck.

Hardwood Decking Fasteners

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

5 Common Tile Terms (And Why You Should Know Them)

So you’ve decided to retile your bathroom or kitchen. That’s great. If you’re like most homeowners, though, you probably aren’t all that familiar with many common tile terms. Is that a problem? It could be, yes. Whether you’re doing research online or talking with a tile installation professional, it’s important to know basic tile terms so you can fully understand the product, the installation process, and proper maintenance techniques. The following are five of the most common tile terms, what they mean, and why they are important.

Visit StoneWoodOutlet.com to see all the beautiful tile products we carry.
1. Impervious
What it means: The degree to which tile can resist liquid penetration, usually measured with colored dye.
Why it’s important: Tile that is highly impervious is more resistant to water damage and mold, especially in the bathroom. Always ask about the imperviousness of tile before making a purchase.

2. Leaching
What it is: In short, leaching is when liquids ooze out of the joint between ceramic tile veneer and run down the entire tile surface.
Why it’s important: Leaching can be a big problem for homeowners, especially in rooms with high humidity, like bathrooms. Being able to recognize leaching as soon as it occurs means you can minimize the damage it can do to your tile.

3. Live Load
What it is: The amount of total weight a building can withstand, including people, furnishings, and other movable objects.
Why it’s important: Knowing your home’s live load is important for many applications, but especially when installing heaving floor coverings like tile. Some homeowners don’t take themselves, their families, or their furnishings into consideration when choosing flooring. If you choose a material that is too heavy, you will go over your live load limit and risk structural damage to your home.

4. Sealer
What it is: A film or adhesive used to fill voids and prevent the passage of liquids or gases.
Why it’s important: Not all sealers are created equal and, unfortunately, some tile installers will attempt to cut costs by using an inferior product. Knowing the different types of sealers and what they’re used for can be a big advantage during the installation process.

5. Shelf Life
What it is: Exactly what it sounds like – a product’s expiration date.
Why it’s important: All things go bad in time. If an installer is using caulk, grout, or any other necessary installation product that is past its shelf life, the chances of that product not performing correctly goes up dramatically.

These are just a few of the dozens of tile terms commonly used in the tile industry. For a complete list, visit the Stone Wood Outlet Tile Term Glossary.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hardwood Flooring and Allergies: Are You At Risk?

Just like peanuts or shellfish, domestic and exotic hardwoods contain oils and particles that can cause severe allergic reactions in some people. Most people who work in the wood industry don’t have wood allergies, and most hardwood flooring customers won’t be working so closely with the wood that it could become a problem. However, it is still a good idea to know exactly what kind of reactions wood allergies can cause, who is most at risk, and the different ways you can avoid a reaction.

Taken from Hardwood Floors Magazine’s Green Blog, the following are a few “common-sense concepts” you should take into consideration when working with or around wood.

If you believe you are having an allergic reaction, stop what you are doing immediately and call 911.

1. Take Reasonable Caution
With this tip, Green Blog author Elizabeth Baldwin emphasizes the “common-sense” steps all woodworkers should observe, such as wearing protective gear like masks, gloves, and long-sleeve shirts.

Something as simple as a paper mask can help reduce exposure to wood dust and other potentially harmful particles.

2. Stay Clean
Here Baldwin states that keeping a clean and well-ventilated workspace will keep dust from piling up and blowing into your and your coworker's face. Keeping a clean workplace will also cut down on the chances of having an unfortunate incident involving wood splinters.

3. Be Aware
Stay ahead of the game – monitor yourself and others around you for symptoms of an allergic reaction, including skin irritation and rashes, difficulty breathing, and difficulty seeing. If you notice any of these symptoms, clean yourself up, take any necessary medication, and go to a doctor.

As Baldwin explains in her post, the problem with wood allergies is that everyone experiences them differently. Saw dust and wood oil may be perfectly fine for one person and mean certain death for another. Even two people that are allergic to the same type of wood can experience that allergy in very different ways. And as Baldwin aptly points out, “just because something doesn't cause a reaction the first time you touch it doesn’t mean you’ll never have an allergic reaction. Your sensitivities can increase with exposure, just as lactose intolerance can suddenly afflict a long time lover of ice cream.”

So if you are beginning a woodworking project yourself, or have hardwood flooring being installed in your home, remember to take the necessary precautions: wear protective gear, don’t inhale wood dust, and get to a doctor if you start to notice an adverse reaction.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Spring Renovation Projects – Hardwood and Composite Decking

Welcome back to your favorite Stone Wood Outlet exclusive blog series, Spring Renovation Projects. Summer is right around the corner – June 21st, to be specific – and to celebrate the end of our spring blog series we’re featuring a home renovation project that is perfect for the beginning of summer: decking.

Most of you won’t attempt to build a new composite or hardwood deck by yourself. That’s fine – you probably shouldn’t. What you should do, however, is study up on the types of decking materials you can choose from before going to a decking supplier. The following are seven of our favorite decking products, ranging from exotic Ipe decking to tough composite decking. These are the best of the best when it comes to decking, and we carry all of them at deeply discounted prices. Enjoy!

ipe hardwood decking
Ipe decking is just one of the many beautiful decking materials Stone Wood Outlet carries.

Types of Decking Materials

Ipe Decking
This striking South American hardwood is world renowned for its natural beauty and inherent durability. It is one of the strongest decking materials you can buy and is visually quite versatile. If left untreated, Ipe decking will fade to a sophisticated silver-gray tone. If treated, it will retain its original rich reddish-brown coloring.

Tigerwood Decking
Tigerwood is a distinctive exotic hardwood that turns any backyard into a festive, visually-engaging area. This species is naturally durable and resistant to decay, making it the perfect decking material. It also features a unique grain pattern and is a great choice for many different decking styles and applications.

Cumaru Decking
This hardwood species has an amazing density and a class A fire rating, making it a perfect choice for anyone with a barbeque or backyard fire pit. The dense cellular structure also means Cumaru is naturally resistant to the elements. Its warm, honey-brown coloring and distinctive graining make it the perfect accent to many different home paint and design styles.

Meranti Batu Decking
The perfect choice for classic Mahogany decking, Meranti Batu features natural durability, a consistent brick-red tone, and is quite easily installed. Perfect for sun decks or beach houses, Meranti Batu creates a relaxed, laid back paradise.

Angelim Pedra Decking
If you’re looking for a more traditional looking decking material, look no further than Angelim Pedra. This beige-brown hardwood features red undertones and sophisticated graining. It has a medium density and is resistant to fungi and termites, especially when paired with an effective sealant.

Brazilian Redwood/Massaranduba Decking
Due to its incredible density and water-resistance, Brazilian Redwood is the perfect decking material to use near pools, lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. The rich red color and dark grain pattern give the wood a look that is both exotic and interesting as well as warm and comforting.

Moisture Shield Composite Decking
Our composite decking material is made from 95% pre- and post-consumer recycled content and carries a limited lifetime warranty against rot, decay, and termite damage. While most decking materials require some sort of lift, this composite can be placed directly on the ground. The wood and plastic work together to create a durable, attractive hardwood decking alternative.

Questions? Contact our knowledgeable customer service staff today at 503-222-9663, or visit us online at www.stonewoodoutlet.com.