Outstanding Outdoor Spaces

Outstanding-Outdoor-SpacesThe April 2014 edition of Professional Builder  magazine features a very good article about how homeowners can expand their home’s livable space with well-designed outdoor elements. Professional builders from across the country weighed in regarding budgets, design options, and improving existing landscapes.

Claudia Schmutzler of Windsor Gardens & Decks recommends that her clients, “Create something that draws you from the inside.” She also advocates using redwood for decks due to its inherent beauty, longevity, and resistance to termites and other insects.

Read the latest edition of Professional Builder  magazine and check out a variety of awe-inspiring photos of beautiful backyards throughout the country.

 

Mendo Mill & Lumber 70 Year Anniversary!

70th fwFor the last 70 years Mendo Mill has helped build and shape Mendocino and Lake Counties. With humble roots as a lumber mill on Orr Springs road in 1944 Mendo Mill has since grown to be Mendocino and Lake Counties’ Premier Home Center and Lumber Yard.

Several years after opening the mill Mendo Mill changed direction and opened their first retail location in Ukiah. With its success Mendo Mill expanded to Willits, Clearlake, Fort Bragg and most recently Lakeport.

Now with five full-service home centers Mendo Mill is large enough to handle the needs of the largest contractors, but still small enough to give personal attention to the Do-It-Yourselfer.

For our professional customers we have Contractor Sales Specialists available in each location as well as outside sales people, and material delivery service; all of these services are designed to help you keep your focus on the job.

For our weekend-warriors and DIY-ers we have a staff of knowledgeable people that can help you quickly find what you are looking for and perhaps provide some advice. We also have a kitchen design center in each location with experts that can help you change rough drawings and dimensions into the kitchen or bathroom of your dreams.

As one of the top 20 Ace Hardware Retailers in the world we have the buying power and product selection to provide you with what you are looking for at a very competitive price. With over 65,000 items available to our customers we are able to provide a one-stop home improvement experience.

In addition to our hardware department in each location we also have:

• Newly re-designed Paint Department with color-matching services, a wide selection of stock colors and a full line of accessories
• Seasonal garden departments with a large selection of plants, soils, amendments, irrigation and tools
• Covered Lumber Yards with a huge selection of building materials
• Fully stocked plumbing department
• Electrical department, complete with tools and materials
• Online shopping through AceHardware.com with free and rapid ship-to-store

Whatever your building, maintenance or remodeling needs are we are committed to providing excellent customer service to every customer, every time. If you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to Contact Us.

Mendo Mill: Helpful, Convenient and Always Competitive.

Redwood Deck Maintenance for the Winter Months

Winter is upon us, and even though you may not use  your redwood deck as often, it still needs a little TLC and attention during colder months. Fortunately, Humboldt Redwood decking is easier to winterize and maintain than many other materials. Take a few simple steps to get your deck prepped for the winter and you’ll be ready to enjoy it as soon as spring starts to warm things up.

Cleaning

The first, and possibly the most important, step in winterizing your Humboldt Redwood deck is to give it a good cleaning. Here’s how:

  • Sweep off all debris from the deck.
  • Use a mild cleaner that is formulated for wood, following the product instructions.
  • Follow up by washing the deck with a watered down bleach solution to kill any mildew spores.
  • Rinse the deck off with your garden hose.
  • If there is significant mildew or discoloration instead of the mild cleaner use a mixture of one cup bleach, one cup trisodium phosphate and one gallon warm water. Next apply a solution of 4 ounces of oxalic acid crystals dissolved in a gallon of warm water. Apply with a soft bristled brush then allow it to dry before rinsing the deck off with your garden hose.

It’s also important to inspect the deck after cleaning to make sure no debris is caught between the boards, which could lead to drainage issues.

Laying Down a Layer of Protection

Moisture from rain, sleet, or snow can have an impact on a redwood deck during winter. Redwood can weather naturally and withstand the elements on its own, but using a sealer, stain or mildewcide solution provides an extra layer of protection. Just make sure it’s between 50 and 70° Fahrenheit on the day that you apply the finish.

Check for Structural Problems & Imperfections

The harsh winter months will do nothing but exasperate any current problems. Carefully inspect the deck on all sides, including the substructure underneath. Look for rot and decay, cracks, loose boards, splintering, handrail instability, and structural issues on any stairs on the deck.

Any questionable spots should be addressed right away.

Remove Furniture and Accessories

If you’re not using your outdoor furniture and accessories, it’s best to find somewhere to store these items  to keep them out of the elements and off the wood. Storing the furniture will also improve its longevity and make it easier to keep up proper deck maintenance throughout the winter months.

Deck Condition Issues to Look Out for During Winter

After winterizing the deck, a few other things to regularly monitor include:

Water pooling up or freezing – During the cooler months if water collects on the deck and temperatures drop, water may freeze over which can cause slipping for anyone that walks across the deck surface.  After it rains or snows use a push broom to remove the water. Refrain from using shovels, salt, or other chemical ice removers all of which can damage the deck surface.

Rust – If metal planters, furniture and grills aren’t removed, rust can transfer to the deck surface. As above, it is recommended to store these items elsewhere if not in use during the winter months.

Why Redwood Decking is the Best Winter Option

When it comes to winter weather nothing outperforms Humboldt Redwood decking. Even if the temperature drops Humboldt Redwood will hold up outdoors and continue to look great for years because it’s:

  • Weather resistant and durable even during extreme conditions
  • Not as susceptible to shrinking as other types of wood
  • Able to retain sealers and stains well
  • Easy to care for – redwood maintenance is minimal throughout the year

Oftentimes people build decks in the summer, and they decide to use Humboldt Redwood for its visual appeal, durability and longevity as well as its insect and rot resistance. Little do they know months down the road when the cold sets in their deck will continue to look amazing and offer all the same benefits!

Exciting Career Opportunities with Humboldt Redwood!

Humboldt-Redwood-Career-OpportunitiesHumboldt Redwood is currently accepting applications for immediate consideration for a wide range of available positions. Please visit our Career Opportunities page to learn more. Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and resume including salary history for any positions for which they are qualified.

Humboldt Redwood offers a professional, exciting work environment. We are American-owned and operated, offering good jobs in Northern California and throughout the Western U.S. through our sister companies Mendocino Forest Products, Mendocino Redwood Company, and Allweather Wood. Some of the benefits of working with us include:

  • Competitive wages
  • Excellent benefits packages
  • Paid vacations and holidays
  • Dynamic and fun team environment
  • Exciting personal growth opportunities
  • Career advancement opportunities
  • Environmentally and socially responsible company philosophy and operating standards
  • Positions available in Northern California, where the Redwoods meet the Ocean!

Humboldt Redwood is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer. Visit our Career Opportunities page to find open positions. You may also learn more About Humboldt Redwood and Our Operations. You may also Contact Us for additional information. We look forward to hearing from you!

Holiday Deck Projects and Ideas

We’ve helped homeowners with everyday Humboldt Redwood deck designs, and now we’re turning our attention to holiday decorations. There’s no better way to get into the spirit than by dressing up your deck to reflect the season. Here are a few deck projects worth trying out during the holidays.

Deck Design with Foliage

There are so many ways that the nature around your deck can be used to create festive holiday decorations. Foliage décor ideas include:

  • Wreaths
  • Garlands
  • Bouquets
  • Pinecone tree ornaments

Also consider adding an outdoor Christmas tree to your deck. Outside you can go as big as you want and you won’t have to worry so much about sweeping up needles everyday. Humboldt Redwood decking can withstand rain all year long so watering your tree regularly during the holiday season won’t affect it. When decorating your tree use lights that are rated for outdoor use and ornaments that can stand up to the elements.

Add Holiday Flare to Your Fire Pit

During the winter months you fire pit becomes a main focal point. It’s the perfect place to incorporate holiday décor that will make a statement. Add green and red tempered glass to the bottom of your fire pit for a festive flare whether or not it’s lit up. These can also be added to gas or wood fireplaces, so no matter how you keep warm your pit or fireplace will put off a holiday glow that pairs perfectly with the rich color of a redwood deck.

Put Wrapping Paper Around Planters

Looking for a really creative way to decorate your deck? Try adding wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows to outdoor planter boxes. Metallic paper and accessories are recommended for durability outdoors. You can also add a strand of lights to fichus trees or other potted plants to finish off your festive décor.

Accentuate Your Structures

At night your beautiful outdoor structures usually fade into the dark. But during the holidays you can show them off by stringing up lights. String lights along the lines of your gazebo, arbor or deck to emphasize the shape. Humboldt Redwood is known for its durability, but rather than punching in extra holes with staples and nails use light clips to affix the strings to your structures.

Really have fun with it by throwing a deck decorating get together with family, friends and neighbors. Serve up hot cider, hot chocolate and holiday treats while your favorite Christmas soundtrack plays in the background. It can become a holiday tradition that everyone looks forward to year after year!

Join Humboldt Redwood at JLC LIVE in Portland, OR

Join Humboldt Redwood December 5-6 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland for JLC LIVE Northwest. We will be presenting our largest booth space ever at 20’x20’ to show off our beautiful Humboldt Redwood decking and railing products. Visit us in booth #825 and see for yourself the real, strong, redwood difference!

This is JLC LIVE’s 50th Show returning for the 3rd consecutive year to the Oregon Convention Center. JLC LIVE Northwest showcases nearly 100 building product manufacturers with 7 live clinic and demonstration areas which attract quality attendees from the Pacific Northwest stretching from Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho and Western Canada. Attendees come to perfect their skills through live clinic demonstrations and in-depth education sessions, as well as to network with industry experts and exhibitors who showcase trendsetting technology and products.

Attendees may complete Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB) Discretionary electives courses at JLC LIVE. Visit the Continuing Education course page for additional information. Other courses are offered in subjects including Business, Materials & Techniques, Production, and Sales & Marketing.

We look forward to seeing you there!

JLC50LOGO

Choosing the Best Wood for Decks

Any contractor or builder will tell you the most important decision you have to make when constructing a new deck is which wood you’ll use. From the structural integrity to the visual appeal the deck wood affects it all.

This guide was created to outline the points that should be used to compare the best wood for decks. Think of it as a cheat sheet that will make choosing the right deck wood easy and stress-free!

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Deck Wood

In order to appropriately compare and contrast, each material should be measured by the same parameters. The parameters to use when choosing the best wood for your deck are:

  • Strength – Some decking materials are stronger than others, so it is important to consider the strength of the material when choosing which type of deck to install.
  • Look and Feel – The grain, texture and color all play into the appearance of the decking material.
  • Durability – How good will a wood stand up to the elements? Rot, insects, sun, cold, heat – they all take a toll on deck boards.
  • Longevity – All deck woods have a lifespan no matter how well they’re kept. Longevity is a factor in the long-term cost of maintenance and replacement.
  • Cost – The cost of deck materials varies dramatically, but it’s important to get the best material that fits within your budget.

How Different Types of Deck Boards Compare

Using the parameters above we have compared some of the most popular deck building materials currently available. Read on to see how each one stacks up to the others.

Plastic Composite Deck Boards

  • Strength – Plastic composite decking is not structurally rated on its own. Without proper joist spacing, typically 12” to 16” on center, a plastic composite deck may be “bouncy” and unstable, rendering it unsafe for use. Your contractor or builder should ensure proper joist spacing for safety.
  • Look and Feel – Plastic composite materials do not have the same look and feel of real wood, though some manufacturers get close. Feel is extremely important to consider as plastic composite deck boards hold more heat than real wood. This means during hot summer days walking around barefoot  is generally not recommended and could be uncomfortable for pets.
  • Durability – This material is not generally going to be affected by wood destroying insects and is very resistant to rot. However, it can develop mildew and mold.
  • Longevity – Plastic composite deck boards will last approximately 20 years. While that is on par with some wood products below, the biggest difference is what happens after it’s no longer used as a deck. Instead of being repurposed or recycled, plastic composite deck boards will likely end up in a land fill.
  • Cost – Plastic composite decking may cost as much as 50% more than some natural wood decking products.

Redwood Deck Wood

  • Strength – Redwood is naturally strong and structurally rated. A redwood deck may be installed with 24” on center joist spacing, which means it requires fewer substructures, materials, and cost than a plastic composite deck.
  • Look and Feel – Redwood is sought after because of its rich color and texture. Despite its warm red color, redwood does not readily absorb heat so it stays cooler to the touch even on the hottest summer days.
  • Durability – Natural tannins in redwood heartwood make it naturally resistant to rot, insects and the elements. It is known to hold up well without warping or splintering, however a clear or semi-transparent stain should be applied every two to three years to maintain the color. Otherwise, redwood deck boards require very little maintenance. Redwood is also fire resistant and may be used in fire hazard severity zones without restriction.
  • Longevity – With proper maintenance a redwood deck can be expected to last around 25+ years.
  • Cost – Redwood costs about 50% less than plastic composite decking materials.

Cedar Deck Wood

  • Strength – Cedar has similar strength properties to redwood and other natural wood products.
  • Look and Feel – Cedar has a less vibrant color profile than redwood, but displays the same natural texture and grain pattern that has made natural wood decking the most popular decking choice for generations.
  • Durability – Cedar has many of the same qualities as redwood, though it may not take stains and sealers quite as well. This will make it a little more difficult to maintain its original color.
  • Longevity – Cedar will last around 20 years with regular maintenance and upkeep.
  • Cost – Cedar is mainly harvested and milled in Canada, which can increase the price for US consumers, though it is generally more affordable than plastic composite decking products.

Tropical Hardwood for Decks

  • Strength – Tropical hardwoods are among the most strong deck materials available on the market due to their extreme density and hardness.
  • Look and Feel – Hardwoods offer a beautiful finish to your deck with exotic colors and grains. Paired with a smooth finish this decking material can have a lot of wow factor. However, many hardwoods are darker, which means they will hold in more heat during hot summer days.
  • Durability – Tropical hardwoods are extremely dense and durable. They are also rot and insect resistant, though they do require an annual sealant to maintain their rich, dark color.
  • Longevity – Of all the decking options, tropical hardwoods will hold up the longest at around 30 years or so.
  • Cost – Hardwoods are the most expensive deck building materials on the market. In addition, their density and heavy weight mean they are expensive to install. All tropical hardwoods require pre-drilling and may require special tools and additional labor to install.

We hope this deck wood comparison guide has been helpful. Using the five key criteria it should be easier to contrast your options and figure out which one works best for your project.

 

Redwood Deck Maintenance: How to Keep Redwood Looking Good

There are many reasons why redwood is the deck wood of choice for people across the country, and easy maintenance is one of them. But that doesn’t mean you should install it and forget it. It requires less maintenance than other types of deck wood, but if you want to keep you redwood deck looking good through every season and for years to come here’s what you need to do.

The Essential Tips for Deck Wood Maintenance

Cleaning It Up

Redwood is naturally stain resistant, but mildew and rot can still be a problem if the deck isn’t cleaned properly. If you don’t know how to clean redwood we’ve listed the must-know essentials below.

What You’ll Need:

Broom, non-metallic brush, mild detergent or wood cleaner, pump sprayer, garden hose

What To Do:

  1. Make it a habit to sweep the deck surface regularly if debris such as leaves build up.
  2. Every 6 to 12 months mix warm water with a mild detergent or wood cleaner and pour the mixture into a pump sprayer.
  3. Spread a light coating of the cleaner onto the surface.
  4. Use a handled, non-metallic deck brush to scrub the deck.
  5. Use a hose to wash off the deck.

 Protecting Wood with a Clear Penetrating Finish  

Regular cleaning is enough to keep Humboldt Redwood decks looking great year round. However, if you want an extra layer of protection a clear penetrating finish can help. It’s simple to do and relatively inexpensive.

What You’ll Need:

Waterproof finish with UV protection, pump sprayer, eye protection, pressure washer

What To Do:

  1. Check to make sure there isn’t a chance of rain for the next 4-5 days and that the temperatures will remain above 50° F.
  2. Clean the deck surface thoroughly. If the deck is particularly dirty or covered in leaves or debris, a pressure washer may be used. However, you should always check with a professional and use the lowest pressure setting to avoid damaging the wood fibers.
  3. Let the deck dry for approximately 48 hours.
  4. Always follow manufacturers’ directions when using a deck finish.
  5. Fill the sprayer with the clear penetrating finish.
  6. Use the sprayer to coat the entire deck surface with a layer of the clear finish.
  7. Do not walk on the deck for 48 hours while the finish is drying.

 Keeping Vegetation in Check

The plants in pots on your deck are totally different that the ones growing freely around the structure. Vines in particular can do significant damage to a deck if not properly maintained.

What You’ll Need:

Clippers, weed eater, eye protection, gardening gloves

What To Do:

  1. Work your way around the perimeter of the deck checking for any spot where plants are encroaching on the deck wood. Look high and low, from the ground up.
  2. Don’t forget to look under the deck as well for any growth that may be occurring below the surface.
  3. Cut back or uproot any vines that are wrapping around the deck. Aggressive varieties of vines can grow rapidly and work their way into crevices of deck boards, causing them to crack or split.
  4. Use the weed eater to trim grass around the footings and edge of the deck at ground level. This will help keep moisture away from the deck.
  5. Trim back any bushes or tree limbs that make contact with the deck. This will help keep leaves off the decking.

Making a Quarterly Inspection

About once every year, particularly as seasons are shifting, do a quick inspection of your deck. This will give you a heads up on possible maintenance issues, and help you monitor how things are changing. Catching an issue early is the best way to minimize the time and cost of a repair on any deck.

What To Do:

  1. During daylight hours start by examining the underside of your deck. Look for sagging, fracturing, rot or weaknesses, especially on joists.
  2. Look at every footing and post. Make sure they are securely in place and don’t budge when pushed upon. Check out the soil around the footing to make sure there are no drainage issues that could effect the integrity of the footings.
  3. Check the steps for loose boards, sagging and weak spots.
  4. Go along the railing and test its rigidity. At no point should it give, even a little.
  5. Walk along all of the deck boards. Feel for any spots that are spongy, which is a sign of rot. Look for nails or screws that have popped up and warping in the boards.
  6. Repair any major issues as you uncover them.

How Redwood Maintenance Differs From Other Woods

Humboldt Redwood requires a lot less maintenance than other types of wood. Redwood is unique in that:

  • It doesn’t require a sealer like other types of wood and can be left to weather naturally.
  • However, with time the unsealed redwood will turn a soft gray color. While this won’t affect the integrity it will need to be sealed if you want to maintain the rich red appearance.
  • It is stain resistant so heavy-duty cleaning is rarely needed.
  • There are cleaners that are specially formulated for use on redwood decks. While some cleaners can darken wood these help to brighten it to help maintain the color.
  • Bleach can be used on redwood deck boards to get rid of mildew.
  • Oxalic acid can be used on redwood decks can bring back its beautiful, natural color and to remove iron stains.

Finding high quality redwood products is the first step in minimizing the amount of maintenance you have to do. If you are building a new deck or repairing an existing structure, visit our Where to Buy Humboldt Redwood page to find an independent dealer or retailer near you.

 

Preparing Your Deck for Winter

Preparing Your Deck for WinterAs fall has begun, thoughts turn to seasonal tasks that every homeowner should take on before the weather turns colder and/or snowy. Now is the perfect time to think about deck maintenance and how to prepare your decking material for the change in seasons.

A well maintained deck adds great value to your home and provides years of activity and enjoyment for the family. If you have a deck built of a material like redwood, which is strong and durable, your maintenance will be low. But it will still need some maintenance, as do all decks.

“The easiest thing that homeowners can do to maintain their deck is to give it a good cleaning,” says Bonny Weil, general contractor at BW Build in San Francisco.

Throughout the summer season, decks accumulate dirt, barbecue stains, rust, mold and mildew. Deep stains may require a hard cleaning.

But, don’t get out the power washers just yet. Bonny advises against using high-pressure water nozzles, as they are a deck’s worst enemy and can carve the wood along the grain lines. The best cleaning technique is to use a garden hose, a soft car brush and a deck cleaner such as Wolman Deck & Fence Brightener.

“If you clean your deck once a year in this manner, it will look practically brand-new,” Weil explains.

If a homeowner insists on sealing their deck, Bonny recommends a clear penetrating finish such as: Penofin or Thompson’s Wood Protector. Plan on re-applying this finish yearly. However, if you have a choice, stay away from products that coat your deck such as urethanes, lacquers and paints. “When they chip and peel, you’ll have to sand to get the rest of the product off.”

For decks that are chipped or peeling finish, that need to be restored, it’s best to hire a painting contractor to sand it. For do-it-yourselfers, the best tool to use is an orbital sander. Start with 80 grit and work your way up from there.

Another important step is to check for deck safety and imperfections. Owners should check for deck stability, rot, stair and handrail strength, popped up nails and splinters. Any problems found in these areas should be mended before the winter months. Also make sure that the space or gap between deck boards is clean and free from debris.  This will help with drainage of rainwater and snow melt.  Ideally, the gap between boards should be 1/4-inch to 3/16-inch wide.

For decks in states with snow, remove all planters and deck furniture and store in either a garage or under the deck. This will prevent rust or mold from forming.

During winter, the best thing a homeowner can do for their deck is keep as much snow off of it as possible. Use a push broom to remove snow, avoid using shovels – for they may mark up the wood. Also, don’t use any salt or ice removers to prevent the wood surface from deteriorating.

For more information on deck maintenance, check out tips from the California Redwood Association at www.realstrongredwood.com. For more information on Bonny Weil General Contractor, visit www.bw-build.com.

Former Journeywoman Carpenter Bonny Weil began her building career with classes in Construction Technology at Santa Monica College in 1979. Ms. Weil has been a licensed general contractor since 1990. She spent more that two decades building and managing a wide variety of challenging and unique projects before establishing Bonny Weil General Contractor in 2004.

© 2013 RenovateYourWorld.com. See the original blog post here: Preparing Your Deck for Winter.

Redwood Deck Makeover Featured on Good Day Sacramento

Redwood-Deck-Remodel-Featured-Good-Day-SacramentoLocal CBS affiliate KMAX in Sacramento featured an entertaining redwood deck makeover during the Good Day Sacramento morning segment on October 11, 2013. Licensed California contractor and redwood building expert, Gary Mierzwak, walked morning viewers through the process of identifying a worn out backyard deck and the steps required to replace that deck with a beautiful, brand new redwood deck.

The segment featured time lapse footage showing the building crew moving through the demolition and rebuild with Gary Mierzwak providing important tips and information for each step in the process. The segment wrapped up with a live, on-camera reveal of the stunning new deck. Perfect for entertaining in a small space, the deck includes built-in seating and room for new landscaping in between the deck and existing fence.

Some of the reasons the homeowner chose to replace their existing deck with redwood include the following:

  • Natural beauty of real redwood
  • Local, California-grown product
  • Cost effective
  • Environmentally friendly

Watch the segment for yourself and see the before and after photos on the KMAX Sacramento website.

Redwood Deck Makeover

Backyard Deck Remodel Photo Gallery

Show Information – October 11, 2013

Special thank you to the California Redwood Association and Gary Mierzwak for participating in this exciting project!