Redwood: The Natural Solution to a Man-Made Problem

By Charlie Jourdain

Mankind is ingenious if nothing else; and such inventiveness has allowed us to make incredible advances in science, technology and other pursuits that have made life easier. At the same time, some of our leaps and breakthroughs have resulted in unintended consequences that haven’t been kind to the environment.

At the California Redwood Association, we embrace science and technology, but we also believe that in many cases using products grown by nature can be the best decision for the environment and for the end-user. Sometimes, man does not need to add to what is already wonderfully designed.

We’ve discovered this as we’ve analyzed building products – most notably lumber used in decking. Though likely with the best of intentions, there are companies that try to use recycled plastic to create lumber (a composite, synthetic mix), but in doing so, contribute to carbon emissions through the use of fossil fuels. And just as unfortunate, composite lumber often gets dumped in landfills, where it doesn’t go away.

In the end, through what we’ve experienced and through an extensive Life Cycle Assessment and Environmental Product Declaration, we’re convinced that whenever possible we should responsibly use what the Earth has already provided. If so, we are much closer to being truly sustainable than cooking up products in the lab.

Redwood is biodegradable; when it’s lived out its usefulness it goes back to the earth to help make more trees.

Over the last several decades, redwood lumber producers have turned the legendary wood species into what may be the most environmentally friendly building product in the world.

How? By truly embracing the attributes of redwood, which grows naturally only in a small region of the world, protecting redwood that is ancient, and then growing redwood on highly-regulated, private commercial lands zoned specifically for timber production. Redwood is so unique that it seems to have been made for building – fire resistant, insect resistant, durable, resists warping, strong and beautiful.

And how does it compare to man-made products?:

  • Renewable vs. Non-renewable: Redwood is grown using the soil, sun and water, and for every tree that is harvested in a privately-owned commercial forest, seven trees are planted. Developing man-made products requires using chemicals, fossil fuels, colorants, binding agents and fillers before being molded or extruded.
  • Carbon footprint: Redwood decks store carbon throughout their lives, and use significantly less energy and fresh water to be processed into lumber. A composite deck consumes 15 times more energy – 87 percent of that energy comes from non-renewable fossil fuels, a major source of carbon emissions.
  • Biodegradability: Redwood is biodegradable; when it’s lived out its usefulness it goes back to the earth to help make more trees. Composite decks, however, often go to a landfill.

We also believe that it’s important to remember that the huge redwood trees that come to mind for many – the towering and legendary trees – are protected in perpetuity on 100,000 acres of parks and protected lands.

All the members of the California Redwood Association (CRA) are committed to sound forest management practices to ensure that our forests will remain healthy, beautiful and productive for generations to come.  We take pride that 100 percent of CRA member owned timberlands are certified as well-managed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).  This means responsible harvesting at sustainable levels and protection of the natural habit.  

At the California Redwood Association, we’ve seen the market come full-circle in terms of understanding the natural solution vs. man-made solutions. More and more homeowners and remodelers are realizing that to be truly green, it’s hard to improve on Mother Nature.

Charlie Jourdain is president of the California Redwood Association.

You may also read the original article on the Triple Pundit website.

Redwood Decks are Beautiful AND Sustainable

Sustainable, Beautiful Redwood DeckFor some homeowners, a deck is an extension of what makes a house a home. It can be a place to retreat to after a long, work-filled week as well as a place to spend time with family and friends.

For some, a deck can even serve as a way to express environmental values. That’s  the word from the California Redwood Association (CRA).

According to the Association, when California homeowners were asked about their choice of decking material, 75 percent of those surveyed said that it’s important for their deck to be eco friendly. Ninety percent believed a deck should be recycled and reused, not dumped in a landfill.

Unfortunately, it can be confusing for builders and homeowners to know what’s sustainable and what’s not. To demonstrate that redwood may be the most environmentally friendly building material available, the CRA commissioned a life-cycle assessment. This process is commonly used to quantify the environmental footprint generated when producing and consuming products that are used in everyday life.

The result of the assessment is the finding that redwood may be considered one of the most environmentally responsible building materials available.

For instance, it is a renewable resource that is grown and harvested under the most stringent forestry regulations. Using nothing more than the energy from the sun, and the careful management of redwood forests, redwood is renewable, recyclable and cleaner to produce than composites or plastics.

In addition, when lumber is milled into decking and other products, the bark, sawdust and scrapings are collected and used to produce clean energy. Sawmills are able to use this biomass energy to power their operations and add excess electricity to the state’s power grid, taking redwood’s energy efficiency to a level that manufactured materials never reach.

With redwood, you can be environmentally conscientious without sacrificing quality or elegance. Plastics and composites rely on chemical resins and fossil fuels that release carbon and increase emissions.

Trees, however, take carbon out of the air and store it in wood fiber. It’s estimated that a redwood deck can store more than a half ton of carbon, which keeps the carbon safely out of the air, helps reduce emissions and helps to lower a homeowner’s carbon footprint.

To learn more, visit

You can also view the original article here: “Decks Can Be Beautiful And Sustainable” by North American Precis Syndicate (NAPS)

Humboldt Redwood Featured in Recent Yardcore Episodes

Humboldt Redwood has been featured in a few, recent episodes of Yardcore, the popular TV show on the DIY Network. Yardcore features landscape professionals Jake and Joel Moss. The duo are given a quick tour of the yard and a five-minute tour of the home’s interior to get clues, and then make it all happen in 48 hours — without ever meeting the homeowner until the final reveal! For one lucky homeowner willing to take a chance, this could be like winning the landscape lottery. Yardcore is a landscaping series that makes the impossible possible!

Check out these recent episodes, all featuring Humboldt Redwood!

DIY Network: Yardcore Episode “Eclectic Entertainers Paradise”

DIY Network: Yardcore Episode “Musical Jukebox Bar”

DIY Network: Yardcore Episode “Ultimate Outdoor Lounge”

2014 Sunset Celebration Weekend

For the second year in a row, the California Redwood Association and member mills including Humboldt Redwood, participated in the annual Sunset Celebration Weekend in Menlo Park, California. The 10×20 2014-Sunset-Celebration-Weekend-002redwood booth space once again featured unique Humboldt Made products, including food and beverage samples from the following artisan producers:

Over the course of the 2-day weekend event approximately 4,000 visitors passed through the booth space to experience a little bit of “Humboldt living” in the South Bay. Visitors also learned Why Redwood is the best choice for durable, beautiful outdoor living spaces. Redwood furniture and accessories finished off the display space and included round bistro tables for entertaining, as well as redwood serving tables where the cheese, hotsauce, chocolate and other food and beverage products were sampled for visitors.

Thanks to everyone that stopped by the Real. Strong. Redwood booth this year. We look forward to hosting an even larger party at the Sunset event in 2015 – see you there!

New Real.Strong.Redwood TV Spots Go Live!

New Real.Strong.Redwood TV spots, Dioxide and Plants, build on messaging established in 2013 to inform homeowners, contractors, and other building professionals of the striking differences between real Redwood and manufactured plastic composite decking products. Produced by San Francisco-based advertising agency barrettSF, these TV spots join Structure and Colors in a four TV spot campaign that is part of a three-year collaboration among Humboldt Redwood Company, California Redwood Company and the Humboldt County Economic Development Division.

To learn more about this exciting marketing program, please read our previous blog posts:

“Colors” Redwood TV Spot Goes Live!

“Structure” Redwood TV Spot Goes Live!

Marketing campaign promotes redwood decking

Redwood lumber marketing project launching soon: supervisors approve using Headwaters Fund Grant

Terra Linda High School Group Visits Mendocino/Humboldt Redwood

042514_MendocinoRedwoodCompanyTour-2423On Friday, April 25th approximately 40 students and parents from Terra Linda High School in San Rafael, California toured the mill facilities and forest lands of Mendocino/Humboldt Redwood in Ukiah, California. Students and parents were educated on the topics of sustainable forestry, our operations, and why redwood is such a sustainable, beautiful building material. The daylong tour allowed the young people to see a vibrant, North Bay business on a typical workday and to interact with company employees. The students are part of the Marin School of Environmental Leadership Engineering Program whereby they work on practical problems while always keeping environmental sustainability in focus and using creativity as their vehicle for solutions.

The trip was sponsored by Golden State Lumber and Clough Construction. Golden State Lumber has achieved Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) chain-of-custody certification for its operations and offers a wide range of FSC® certified products as well, including Humboldt Redwood lumber. Clough Construction is committed to sustainability and is a member of the Marin Builders Association’s Green Committee.

You may view a slideshow of images from the trip on our Facebook page.

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 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.


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!