This group has been an extremely valuable source of information for me
in the past years, so I thought I'd post another in a very infrequent
series of questions. Thanks in advance for any and all advice.
I am building (well, I am the developer, which is to say I am having
built) a small commercial building with 16,000 sq ft of office and
light manufacturing space. The building is in an area of N. California
with quite mild weather all year 'round. We are trying to make this a
"sustainable" building; that is, optimizing the building's energy use,
water consumption, indoor air quality, and so forth.
We're specifying a mix of wood and other materials (stucco and/or metal
siding, TBD) for the exterior skin of the building. Because I'm paying
for the construction but may also own the building for years, when
picking a wood species for the siding I need to take into account not
just installation cost and the environmental factors but also the cost
of ongoing maintenance.
My preference would be to use a wood species that requires no finishing
at all. This will lower the nonrecurring and recurring costs, reduce
the amount of chemicals consumed, and require no long term maintenance
hassle. I understand that any wood left untreated will weather to gray
or silver over time. I have not found many species that can be treated
(or not treated, as the case may be) in this way: teak, ipe, manchiche,
perhaps sinker cypress. Of these, I am seeing reclaimed teak quoted
over $20/bf (insane), sinker cypress $8-10/bf, and I don't have pricing
on ipe or manchiche yet. For comparison purposes, three-coat stucco and
paint is about $5/sq ft (more or less equivalent to a bf in this case)
Treating with Cetol is of course an option, though not my preference.
So the question is, based on your experience, what is the best choice?
Can I really get away with not treating *any*
of these woods or is that
asking for trouble? What other woods should I be considering (my local
hardwood dealer is recommending jarrah)? Got sources for good
reclaimed, certified, or otherwise sustainably harvested lumber?