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Thread: southern yellow pine decking

  1. #1

    southern yellow pine decking

    Does anyone have experience building a deck out of southern yellow pine? It is not very common where I live but a local decking supplier says that if I do not want to use manufactured products (I don't) and don't want to pay for exotic imports then this is the way to go. He said that redwood (standard here in the west) is getting very scarce because of recent wildfires and that he does not stock it any more and that the bog box stores won't either after their existing stock is sold. All of the big box stores around me have pretty low stock, seemingly confirming this. I like the look of the pine and the price cannot be beat. I am interested in how it stains. He also said it tends to come fairly green. I am not sure if I should be concerned about this or not.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Günter VögelBerg View Post
    Does anyone have experience building a deck out of southern yellow pine? It is not very common where I live but a local decking supplier says that if I do not want to use manufactured products (I don't) and don't want to pay for exotic imports then this is the way to go. He said that redwood (standard here in the west) is getting very scarce because of recent wildfires and that he does not stock it any more and that the bog box stores won't either after their existing stock is sold. All of the big box stores around me have pretty low stock, seemingly confirming this. I like the look of the pine and the price cannot be beat. I am interested in how it stains. He also said it tends to come fairly green. I am not sure if I should be concerned about this or not.
    I just bought some SYP treated lumber from Home Depot to rebuild part of a playset. It was soaked so I stickered it in my basement and ran a fan on it for a month. I've read that you can buy treated lumber that is KDAT (Kiln Dried After Treatment). That sure would have been great for my little project. I regret not trying harder to find it. My project wasn't big and whatever difference there might have been in the price would have been well worth it. You might call around and see if you can find it.

    Treated lumber is going to be green colored and that messes with your stain colors. The paint and stain people recommend that you let it air dry for 6 months before applying finish. They say that the moisture coming out of the wood will cause bubbles in the finish. It could be that, once the wood weathers a bit, the green will be less pronounced.

    I'm curious why you don't want to do your decking with Trex or something. I've used that stuff a number of times and really like it. The one piece that I don't get is that you can't support your decking with stuff that lasts as long. My general feeling is that the deck structure will rot out under the Trex and you will have to scrap your perfectly good decking.

  3. #3
    I just do not like the look of the composites. I've looked at all of them and hate all of them. Not enough variation or grain and color. They just do not look like real wood. They look more like real wood than they did ten years ago, but in my opinion they still aren't close.

    So could I theoretically build my deck and leave it unfinished for the rest of the summer and stain it in the fall? It's pretty dry here in the summer. The samples they showed me had only a slight greenish hue.

    If I were to go with the pressure treated pine would I need to worry about how it interacts with any of my tools? Obviously I'll mostly be using a circular saw, but I have some somewhat complicated plans for railings that are going to involve my hollow chisel mortiser and probably other shop tools.

    I''m excited to use my new Milwaukee Hole Hawg and Skil Sawsquatch that you guys talked me into buying.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Günter VögelBerg View Post
    I just do not like the look of the composites. Not enough variation or grain and color
    ..Strictly my opinion but I'm not a fan of the look of treated lumber .. probably less so than composites. It can be painted or stained but that reduces variations as well.

  5. #5
    I never liked the pressure treated look either, but this pine they showed me I liked.

  6. #6
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    [QUOTE=Günter VögelBerg;2934336]I just do not like the look of the composites. I've looked at all of them and hate all of them. Not enough variation or grain and color. They just do not look like real wood. They look more like real wood than they did ten years ago, but in my opinion they still aren't close. /QUOTE]

    I agree with you 100%. The stuff is supposed to last forever, and maybe it will, but by the time it ages a bit it just gets this funky, shabby look to it. I've never seen 10 year old composite that looks nearly as good as my 10 year old ipe decking. And the ipe costs considerably less than the better quality composite. Try as I might, I can't make myself like the stuff. But, each to their own.

    Around these parts, the PT lumber sold for decks & fences is mostly a light brown color, not green. And it ages very nicely without any stain, but I bet it would look better with a stain than the green stuff.

  7. #7
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    Gunter,

    I have built a couple of decks using PT southern yellow pine. You do not need to worry about your tools, but you do need to use fasteners that are rated for pressure treated lumber.

    Also, the lumber you get will be wet--real wet, which means it will be heavy and as it dries it is going to warp--really warp. As opposed to woodworking, you want to start construction ASAP after you get your lumber delivered. When you lay your deck boards, most likely you will want to butt them up up tight to one another. As they dry, they will shrink and provide the right spacing between them.

    You are spot on about building the deck and then waiting until the fall to stain. You want it to dry out before stain.

    Good luck

  8. #8
    So any concern leaving the deck unsealed for 2-3 months? I could probably stain/seal in early October and our summers are dry so I imagine that would be adequate time.

    If I cover it with a tarp will it prolong the working time I have? I can put down the decking pretty quickly but building the benches, railings, etc is going to take some time, but I don't want to pay to get this stuff delivered twice.

  9. #9
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    Living Yellow Pine country, and building houses for 45 years, I've built many. I assume you're talking about using 5/4 x 6 decking boards. If you're not buying a whole bundle, pick your boards, and leave the ones with bark on them in the stack.

    Joists are framed on 16" centers, and I alternate screws on opposite sides of the board, from one joist to the next. That helps alleviate surface checking from two fasteners across the face. Picture is such a deck that I built in 1992, and has never had anything put on it-picture with torque wrench lets you see there is not severe checking on this old deck. I do pressure wash it every few years, and was pressure washed a couple of months after I took that picture. I use 8cc nails for spacers when fastening down fresh, wet stuff. It's wet from the treatment plant. They kill dry it before treating, but the treatment plants around here don't kiln dry it after treating. Dry can be special ordered, but for a deck out in the weather, I don't see paying a premium for it.

    For railings, I always have some hand picked, clear boards drying for at least two years to run parts out of.

    Use Deckmate screws with the black labels on the boxes. They're "star drive" which is really a torx head.

    Picture of dock shows it after pressure washing. I built that in 1991, built the same way, with alternating screws, and just replaced 6 boards this past Spring. Squares are 16'.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Tom M King; 06-18-2019 at 3:33 PM.

  10. #10
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    I've built thousands of square feet of decks for myself and friends with pressure treated SYP. It's the standard for decks around here.

    Most is sopping wet when bought and you can either sticker it and let it dry for a while or put it up wet and expect shrinkage. You can also buy KDAT (kiln dried after treatment) which is a premium price but generally a higher quality and dry, of course. I use wet PT for posts, joists, steps, and decking boards and KDAT for railings.

    PT pine can be stained or painted after it dries. I think it's best to wait 4-6 months in our climate. I prefer to leave it natural. If kept clean it will last a long time. At the house we are in now we just rebuilt a deck that was built about 30 years ago, not because it was in horrible shape but mostly because we remodeled the exterior and I wanted a better design.

    BTW, for decking most people use 5/4 decking boards. For my bigger decks I liked to use 2x6 PT lumber. This is a lot sturdier and doesn't cost all that much more. I built the deck in the pictures that way at our last house (except perhaps around the pool, can't remember). Posts were 4x6, joists were 2x8 to 2x10 depending on span, and center and edge beams were double 2x12 or equivalent. This one was extra fun since I did it without help, mostly in 90+deg summer temperatures!

    decks.jpg deck_3_P9051595e.jpg

    JKJ


    Quote Originally Posted by Günter VögelBerg View Post
    Does anyone have experience building a deck out of southern yellow pine? It is not very common where I live but a local decking supplier says that if I do not want to use manufactured products (I don't) and don't want to pay for exotic imports then this is the way to go. He said that redwood (standard here in the west) is getting very scarce because of recent wildfires and that he does not stock it any more and that the bog box stores won't either after their existing stock is sold. All of the big box stores around me have pretty low stock, seemingly confirming this. I like the look of the pine and the price cannot be beat. I am interested in how it stains. He also said it tends to come fairly green. I am not sure if I should be concerned about this or not.

  11. #11
    Why the 5/4 instead of 2x? cost? Around here 2x6 redwood is the most common deck material, but apparently is becoming scarce. I went to a decking supplier and was told they don't have any and can't get any. I went to Lowes, Home Depot and a local building supply outfit and the stuff they had was really picked over and just did not look good.

  12. #12
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    The 5/4 decking boards are all clear. You can order a whole bundle of No. 1 2x6's, but all the 2x6's suppliers around here keep are no. 2 grade, or worse, and have knots in them.

    I've built many out of 2x's too, but since all the small suppliers were put under by the big box stores, the quality of 2x material has gone way down.

    I don't stain wood outside because I like to pressure wash it. Being by a large body of water, mildew loves it. After pressure washing, I will often run my floor buffer over the floor with a 100 grit screen, so it's kind to bare feet. If I stained it, pressure washing wouldn't go so good. I can make bare wood look new again.

  13. #13
    Hello, There are millions on the East coast built out of pressure treated pine, look at the hidden fastener systems make the job look much better.

  14. #14
    So should I plan on using the 5/4 or is there a compelling reason not to? I have to decide tonight because I am setting my footings and ledger board.

  15. #15
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    No good reason not to use it. It's finished size is 1" thick.

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