Why Redwood

Why Redwood

Humboldt Sawmill redwood is naturally strong, naturally beautiful and features shear strength up to 5x greater than plastic decking products.

Humboldt Sawmill Redwood

Beauty. Strength. Comfort.

Much lighter in weight than plastic composite and tropical hardwoods, redwood can be easily cut, sawed, and drilled with regular woodworking tools. Yet for all that lightness, redwood is one of nature’s strongest building materials with shear strength up to 5x greater than plastic decking products. That’s important — whether you’re looking to build a deck, pergola, play set, or other outdoor living structure, the enduring strength of redwood means added safety and security.

Nature can be harsh — sun, wind, rain, and insects can wreak havoc on some outdoor structures. But redwood stands up to the elements. It is naturally resistant to insects and decay. It resists warping, splitting and stays comfortable to bare feet even on the hottest, sunniest days. With simple care and maintenance, your Humboldt Sawmill redwood structure will provide decades of excellent performance, and long-lasting value.

There’s something about redwood. The warm, rich color and beauty create a breathtaking first impression. It’s a wow factor, yet it blends into the landscape creating a peaceful and relaxing natural outdoor living environment. And over time, it ages gracefully with lasting character that other building materials simply cannot duplicate.

 Every day we grow more than we harvest

A positive impact on the environment

Environmental stewardship is the cornerstone of Humboldt Sawmill redwood and Douglas-fir lumber products. The timberlands, manufacturing, and distribution operations of Humboldt Sawmill are certified to the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC® C013133). An independent, non-profit organization, FSC membership consists of three equally weighted chambers -- environmental, economic, and social -- to ensure balance and the highest level of integrity. FSC certification ensures that products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits. FSC certification and standards are widely considered to be among the world’s most stringent.

Humboldt Sawmill products are grown and harvested in a responsible, ethical manner with an eye for long-term sustainability. We do this by harvesting redwood and Douglas-fir logs at a level consistently below our forests’ annual growth rate and by replanting trees annually, two methods that ensure Humboldt Sawmill lumber will be a renewable resource for years to come.

Unlike plastic decking products, which often produce pollution as a byproduct and can end up in landfills, Humboldt Sawmill redwood can be recycled throughout its useful life. Redwood bark, for example, is often recycled into beautiful mulch and ground cover. Old structures made of Humboldt Sawmill redwood are often salvaged and re-milled to take advantage of high value, exceptionally beautiful lumber. Even old Humboldt Sawmill redwood fence boards can find new life as a functional planter box.

“I love redwood because it’s evocative, it’s warm, it’s rich, and the wood has a beautiful grain. On the outside, it’s durable and resistant. It’s interestingly both a classic structural material and a beautiful finishing material.”

Aleck Wilson, Architect
small treee

At the end of its useful life, Humboldt Sawmill redwood will biodegrade and re-enter the earth from whence it came. Plastics often do not decompose and may remain in landfills indefinitely.

In addition, we have made an on-going commitment to implement our best efforts to avoid trading and sourcing wood or wood fiber from illegally harvested wood, wood harvested in violation of traditional and civil rights, wood harvested in forests where high conservation values are threatened by management activities, wood harvested in forests being converted to plantations or non- forest use, and wood from forests in which genetically modified trees are planted.

Red is the new green

Doing our part to help reduce greenhouse gases

Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, trap heat in the atmosphere, and are considered a primary cause of climate change and global warming. Scientists agree that reducing greenhouse gases is an important way to address these pressing issues.

Managed redwood forests are actually very effective at removing carbon dioxide from the air, thereby helping to reduce greenhouse gases. Because trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, a fast-growing species like redwood makes a big impact. Through the process of photosynthesis, carbon is absorbed into the wood fibers and oxygen is released back into the air. This is known as carbon sequestration.

Even as redwood trees are harvested and made into the lumber, the carbon remains sequestered in the wood. The average redwood deck holds about a half-ton of carbon; wood is 50% carbon by weight.

Class B Flame Spread Rating

Superior performance of redwood lumber under fire exposure

Redwood decking and siding conform to ASTM E-84 (Standard Test Method for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials) Class B flame spread. As such, redwood decking and siding are approved for use in California's Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) fire hazard severity zones as defined in California Building Code Chapter 7A, Materials and Construction Methods for Exterior Wildfire Exposure. Class B flame spread rating assures builders, contractors, and homeowners, as well as fire and building officials, that redwood decking and siding (Construction Common or better grades) can be used safely and without restriction throughout all areas of California. The Redwood Decking Meets Wildland Fire Standards information sheet provides additional details.

Because we continue to grow more trees than we harvest year- after-year, the net amount of carbon sequestered each year increases. This continued cycle of carbon removal and storage is a crucial process in reducing greenhouse gases. Many manufactured, artificial building materials are energy intensive and actually release carbon into the atmosphere. Choosing natural, Humboldt Sawmill redwood helps lower your personal carbon footprint and make a difference in reducing greenhouse gases.


Redwood vs. Plastic


When it comes to the look and feel of real wood, nothing compares to redwood decking. No artificial material like plastic can mimic the way natural wood grain feels to the touch of bare feet.

Plastic is a petroleum product that requires resource-intensive manufacturing processes from non-renewable resources. Redwood is an abundant and renewable resource that comes from sustainably managed forests right here in the USA.

Your cost of building and owning a deck include not only the upfront purchase of building materials, but also the labor construction costs as well as ongoing maintenance over the lifetime of your deck. Altogether, the cost of a plastic deck is often more expensive than a redwood deck.

Redwood Vs Plastic

Redwood vs. Reclaimed Wood


While popular in outdoor living and home design projects, reclaimed wood should be considered carefully as it is not without some pitfalls. Unscrupulous dealers have been known to make false claims about the source of their products, selling “new” wood while marketing it as “reclaimed”. Redwood is milled in Northern California from sustainably managed forestlands.

Reclaimed wood is often substantially more expensive than redwood due to sourcing and restoration costs. Old wood with nails, failing finishes, and other defects must also be sorted and prepared for safe usage. Dealers that do not take the time to properly prepare reclaimed wood for sale may pass along hidden dangers to consumers such as mold, asbestos, pesticides, insects, and general rot. Working with newly milled redwood is safe as it does not contain old nails, screws, paint, or other hazards.

Redwood vs Reclaimed Wood

Redwood vs. Cedar

Redwood and cedar have many similarities; however there are significant differences that set the two apart. Redwood is a deep reddish-brown color whereas cedar typically has a yellow-brown hue. Redwood mills grade to Redwood Inspection Service (RIS) grade rules. The RIS is exclusively authorized by the American Lumber Standard Committee, Inc. to formulate grading rules for redwood lumber. Cedar manufacturers often develop proprietary grades which may vary in consistency from mill to mill. 
Cedar is largely sourced from British Columbia, Canada on somewhat sensitive lands. Humboldt Sawmill redwood has access to 850,000 acres of FSC certified redwood forestlands and two state-of-the-art sawmills in Northern California, supporting thousands of workers earning family wages and benefits in the US.

Redwood vs Cedar

Redwood vs. Tropical Hardwoods 

Tropical Hardwoods include species like Cumaru, Ipe, Tigerwood and others. When comparing redwood to tropical hardwoods, there are a number of important differences.

Tropical hardwoods are generally more expensive than redwood on a square foot basis as they are sourced from far away Central and South America. They are also more expensive than redwood on an installed basis. By nature, tropical hardwoods are extremely dense and heavy. This means that working with and installing them are expensive, as special wood-working tools and extra labor are generally required.

Because tropical hardwoods are sourced from developing nations in Central and South America, in some cases, less care is afforded to the environmental impact of these products. Disappearing rainforests and reduced native habitat for indigenous people and wildlife are the result of destructive harvesting practices. Because redwood is 100% grown and harvested in the U.S., consumers can be assured that state and federal forestry regulations are strictly adhered to. 

Redwood vs. Tropical Hardwood

you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers


Have all the coast redwood trees been cut down?Arrow

Absolutely not. California boasts over 1.7 million acres of thriving coast redwood forests. About 450,000 of these acres are contained in public areas for the community and visitors to enjoy, such as in parks and reserves. Most of the state’s old-growth redwood trees are permanently preserved. Some of these magnificent trees are over 2,000 years old!

Is redwood lumber still available for purchase?Arrow

Redwood is certainly available in the marketplace for use in all kinds of building projects, whether you choose to work with a professional or do-it-yourself. Visit our Where to Buy page to find a retailer in your area. Our sister company, Mendocino Forest Products (MFP), distributes redwood and Douglas-fir lumber products to The Home Depot stores in several Western U.S. states.

Do you sell directly to builders, contractors, or consumers?Arrow

Our products are available through independent, retail lumberyards and home improvement centers. Please visit our Where to Buy page to find a retailer in your area.

What makes Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certified redwood preferable?Arrow

FSC has been setting internationally recognized standards for responsible forestry management since 1993, providing official trademark accreditation services to forestry companies that abide by its strict regulations. These standards for exemplary forestry management promote the companies, organizations, and communities that support these practices. You can purchase Humboldt Sawmill lumber products with confidence, knowing they were sourced and manufactured to FSC standards.

Does redwood possess a flame spread rating?Arrow

Yes it does. Redwood has been thoroughly tested and conforms to ASTM E-84 Class B flame spread. Redwood decking and siding Construction Common or better grades are code approved for use in California’s Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) areas without restriction.

Why should I use Humboldt Sawmill redwood for my outdoor living project?Arrow

There are plenty of reasons to use Humboldt Sawmill redwood in various outdoor living projects. Simply put, other materials don’t measure up to Humboldt Sawmill redwood’s strength, durability, beauty, and environmental responsibility.

What are the California Proposition 65 Warnings for Wood Dust?Arrow

⚠️ WARNING: Drilling, sawing, sanding or machining wood products can expose you to wood dust, a substance known to the State of California to cause cancer. Avoid inhaling wood dust or use a dust mask or other safeguards for personal protection. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/wood.

⚠️ WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals, including Titanium Dioxide, which is known to the State of California to cause cancer, and Methanol, which is known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/wood.