Recently, the American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) raised its U1 standard for preservative-treated lumber in certain above-ground applications.
When officially adopted by building codes, the new standard will require UC4B-treated lumber to be used in above-ground applications where wood will be:
- Located less than 6 inches from the ground
- At risk of getting poor air circulation
- Difficult to maintain, repair, or replace
- Essential to the performance and safety of the entire construction
- In prolonged contact with damp leaves or other vegetation
- Consistently exposed to moisture
- Used in a tropical climate
Deck joists, beams, and ledger boards will have to be UC4A ground contact material.
Posts, stair stringers, and certain deck board installations will also require ground-contact treated lumber.
Typically, there’s lag time between when recommendations are made and when building codes adopt them. Local municipalities will decide when their inspectors will enforce the new rules. At some point, however, this change will be effective everywhere. Ultimately, we expect that it will become the de facto requirement for framing and that lumberyards
will only carry heavier-duty lumber.
THE IMPACT ON BUILDERS: IT’S NOT ALL BAD!
With the higher standards will come increased cost to you and your customers
as you need to buy more of the expensive, heavier-duty lumber.
However, there also is a positive side to these changes.
The new standards will provide customers with the benefits of better
quality, enhanced durability, less maintenance, and increased safety.
Those are strong selling points!
For more information about when the new standards will be incorporated into building codes in the areas you serve, contact the local municipalities in those jurisdictions
THREE QUESTIONS TO ASK TO DETERMINE THE BEST OPTION
All properties and personal preferences are different, so not all types of fencing will work for all people. Here are three considerations to keep in mind as you help customers determine which fencing options will be the best fit.
Why does the customer want the fence? What purpose will it serve?
About 40% of the time people want a fence because of disputes or discomfort with their neighbors. For them, a six-foot privacy fence might be ideal. Other customers may want something simple to delineate a property line, and a picket fence might serve their needs just fine.
Other customers may need to enclose pools or keep their dogs in the yard.
Purpose should always be a top-priority consideration.
What style of home do they have?
Most customers will want fences that are of a similar style or that will otherwise
complement the look of their home. For example, you might suggest a trendy aluminum fence to enhance a property with a contemporary-looking house. For a farmhouse or colonial-style home, a white or tan traditional picket fence might be a good recommendation.
What does the future hold?
Does the customer anticipate having children or getting a larger dog in the years to come? Asking customers to think ahead about how their lives might realistically
change in relation to how they’ll use their property will help you help them arrive at the best decision.
If you’re looking for structural composite lumber that’s a cut above others for applications such as docks, marinas, and other submerged (or close-to submerged)
structures, consider Trimax®.
It offers enhanced durability and is ultra-resistant to moisture, fungi, chemicals, and marine borers. Other advantages of Trimax structural lumber include:
- Easy to install and maintain
- Environmentally friendly
- Backed by a 25-year limited warranty You can cut and install Trimax like you
would natural wood, using conventional tools and methods. But, unlike wood,
Trimax doesn’t splinter, split, rot, or stain. To maintain its beauty and performance,
it requires no scrubbing, staining, painting, sanding, or sealing. Trimax is made from a patented blend of virgin and recycled post-consumer/post-industrial HDPE (high-density polyethylene), with non-organic additives to stiffen it. With no trees used in anufacturing Trimax, you have the peace of mind that you’re doing right by the environment
when using it.
For more information about Trimax and its many benefits in projects that need optimal strength with minimal maintenance, call us!
When homeowners want to expand their living areas and enjoy the outdoors more, consider suggesting screen railing to them. At Homestead Outdoor Products, we offer ScreenRail (by Westbury® Aluminum Railing)—one of the most innovative, well-engineered screen railing products on the market. With options that include a structural balcony/railing system or a heavy-duty kick-panel system, ScreenRail is easy to assemble and very durable.
- Key benefits to share with your customers include:
- Allows fresh air in while keeping insects out
- Offers integrated screen and railing in customizable sections to fit nearly any
- Comes in an array of finishes to match exterior and interior preferences
- Provides versatility—makes a wonderful option for porches, patios, pools,
Call us to find out more about ScreenRail and its many applications!
Exposure to the extreme heat of summer can wreak havoc on PVC decking.
For example, during the recent heat wave, we delivered white vinyl bead board to a customer. Upon delivery, we discovered the top boards were badly warped. Why? The trim had come encased in plastic and wrapped in a black plastic cover, which resulted in a greenhouse effect.
The intense heat that built up was too much for the boards, causing them to expand and contract to the point of warping.
We, of course, replaced the boards, but it goes to show how heat can compromise decking material if precautions are not taken.
So how can you help decking material stand up to the high temperatures and humidity?
Consider these best installation practices to keep decking material from expanding and contracting when Mother Nature turns up the heat:
- Ensure there is adequate ventilation for decking materials (when in storage
and during transport).
- Cover decking with a light-colored tarp before installing.
- Fasten boards as soon as possible after cutting them.
- Use two screws per joist (no more than 1/2” from ends) when installing.
- Provide enough clearance beneath the deck to allow for proper air circulation.
- Leave a 1/8” to 1/4” gap between decking and walls, posts, or other structures.
- Fasten the ends of boards securely to the building or to framing.
For more detailed information about maintaining the integrity of decking material before, during, and after installation, always read the manufacturer’s product guide.
Railing 5000: Superior Plastic Products’ 5000 Series railing provides an effective solution for medium- to large-sized projects. At a slightly larger size than most traditional railing offerings, this classic, lightweight, easy-to-install system adds beauty to any outdoor living area. It is available in two colors and baluster styles.
Railing 7000: Getting ready to do a project on an estate, restaurant, or high-end home? You may benefit from Superior Plastic Products’ 7000 Series railings. Designed for large installation needs, the elegant 7000 Series can be an ideal fit for large commercial applications. It looks impressive on over-sized residential decks and porches. It is available in white, and curved sections are also available.
With spring finally here, it’s time to start projects and kick off a new season of building. As you do, remember IRC codes are updated each three years to ensure the safety of structures and the well-being of the people in and around them. Here are a few code reminders to help you make sure your projects pass code the first time around!
- Handrails should be provided on at least one side of each continuous run of treads or flights with four or more risers.
- Guardrails should be located along open-sided walking surfaces. This includes stairs, ramps, and landings located more than 30 inches (measured vertically) to the floor or at a grade below any point within 36 inches horizontally to the edge of the open side. Insect screening does not qualify as a guard!
Exceptions: Guards on the open sides of stairs shall have a height not less than 34 inches (864 mm), measured vertically from a line connecting
the leading edges of the treads.
- Required guardrails should not have openings from the walking surface to the required guard height that would allow passage of a sphere 4 inches in diameter.
- Handrails at open-sided walking surfaces, including stairs, porches, balconies,
or landings, should not measure less than 34 inches in height and should not exceed 38 inches (as measured vertically above the adjacent walking surface or the line connecting the leading edges of the treads).
- Plastic composite deck boards, stair treads, guards, and handrails should be installed in accordance with the code and the manufacturer’s instructions.
> The walking surface of treads and landings of stairways should be sloped no steeper than one unit vertical in 48 inches horizontal (2% slope).
At Homestead Outdoor Products, we use WOLF trim-board, a cellular PVC trim that’s one of the best on the market. Although it doesn’t require painting for protection, by painting the trim with 100% acrylic latex paint or acrylic latex paint with urethane additive you can suit your customers’ tastes and sense of style. Paint life on trim-board is longer than on wood because it doesn’t hold moisture like wood does.
To do right by your WOLF trim-board when you paint it, keep these tips in mind:MAKE SURE THE SURFACE IS SQUEAKY CLEAN.
Clean the tailboard with a mild detergent and water or denatured alcohol before you start painting. The surface should be clean, dry, and free of:
- Loose or peeling paint
- Any other surface contaminant
MIND THE MANUFACTURER’S RECOMMENDATIONS.
Don’t leave the best results to chance. Follow the paint manufacturer’s preparation
and application directions. They really do know best!
GET TOUGH ON MOLD AND MILDEW.
Before you paint, use a mixture of three parts water and two parts bleach to remove any signs of mold or mildew on your trim-board.
If you’ve painted your trim-board a dark color, you must remove that dark hue before applying a lighter-colored paint (which should have an LRV of at least 55 units).
PREPARE TO USE A PRIMER.
Paint manufacturers will typically require a primer to be used if the homeowner wants the paint warranty.
Realize that paint, depending on outdoor temperatures, humidity, and other factors, may take up to 30 days to fully cure.
Easy, right? Follow these guidelines and you—and your customers—will enjoy the results.
Superior Plastic Products is simplifying some of their product offerings. They’ve removed the tan color in brochures and catalogs so they can focus on the more versatile clay and almond colors. In addition to the color difference, Superior will also be phasing out:
- Tapered Fluted Columns
- All 4” & 5” Porch Posts in the following styles: Oxford, Raised Panel, Richmond, and Recessed Panel (except for 6” Recessed Panel). Note that all 4” & 5” posts will remain available only while supplies last.
- 4000 Series Railing, including all balusters used for this series
For the most up-to-date product literature, stop by Homestead Outdoor Products or call us. Reach out to us if you have questions about these products.
With Evolve® Poly material, which is available in an array of colors, you can create exterior designs that are both eye-catching and extremely durable. Cut it, rout it, and file it to any shape you need to achieve the look you want. With Evolve Poly material, you get the natural look of wood, without the maintenance hassles
Evolve Poly material comes in:
- Poly Sheeting—Thin sheet boards of poly material are available in black and
- Poly Lumber—Large poly boards come in a variety of brilliant colors and are a
wonderful choice to create attractive accents.
Wondering if Poly material is right for your project? Here are the advantages and disadvantages to help you decide:
Pros of Poly Material
- It doesn’t rot.
- It’s machinable.
- It has great color retention.
- It comes in a wide variety of profiles.
- It’s ideal for food preparation areas because it doesn’t harbor bacteria
Cons of Poly Material
- It expands and contracts with changes in temperature.
- It tends to create static electricity.
Need more info? We’re just a phone call away!