Howdy from Texas!
I am building a new house and am looking to build a Pecan/Hickory wrap
It will be a ten foot wide full wrap around porch with corresponding
roof. (Depending upon where you live, you may call it a shed, shed
roof, cover, patio, etc).
Basically, I am saying that it will have vertical protection from rain
and only the occasional wetting from blowing rain. The support
structure will be normal treated lumber and the upright posts will be
cedar. I am only looking to do the deck boards from hickory.
How resistant is it to rot and can you point me to any resources
documenting this? I have only come across two Internet postings
indicating it is bad. One was a railroad test that listed unprotected
hickory as 5+ years out in the weather. One other contridicted and said
it would make great fence posts. I could find no supporting evidence of
I can purchase kiln dried 4/4 Pecan locally for 56 cents a board foot
finish planed. That is at least 70% cheaper than I can buy 5/4 deck
material for and has the perfect look for my farm style house.
Thanh from Texas
What is the increased longevity for sealing with a water sealer, such
I can't give you specifics about how long the wood will last, but I've
not gotten good enough results from Thompsons to justify the cost, even
if it was on sale for 1/2 off. It simply doesn't last. Water beads up
for a short time, and then the wood appears to be bare and water soaks in.
Can't you get redwood?
According to A Guide To Useful Woods of The World, Carya illinoinensis
(pecan) is subject to attack by the hickory beetle and is subject to
damage by frost. All the other Carya relatives--such as nutmeg and
shagbark hickory--list as non-durable. Basically, that means you're
better off selecting another wood, or using PT wood. In a long time of
messing around with wood, I've never even heard of using any hickory
for fence posts. The thought of having to drive nails or fence staples
in the stuff makes me shudder. Mesquite would make good deck boards,
but you're looking at something closer to $10 a BF there, I'd guess.
David, I can completely agree with you on the Thompsons. We used to be
regular users, but have pretty much given up on it due to recoat
requirements (nothing scientific, just observation). I have not priced
redwood for this project, but I know from what I have heard/priced in
the past it would be cost prohibitive. Cedar would be as well, though
this would be my second choice, over PT for third.
Charlie, is the hickory beetle something known to be in Texas? I have
read many stories about beetle and other insect infestation up north,
but in Texas, I've never heard of anything other than termites and
occasionally carpenter ants. Our trees are so far apart, beetles would
have to do an in-flight refueling to make it to the next one.... :)
Where can you get a copy of the referenced material? How much does
having a covered porch influence my decision. My logic is that I could
take a 2x6 piece of white wood (crap!) and I could lay it on my porch.
Fifty years from now, I'd bet it would still be laying there. It would
be warped and very dry, but not rotted. Why would the deck be any other
We freeze less than a dozen times a year...I think our frost line for
burying pipes is 10-12 inches around here and that's only for the bad
My porch will be right at 2000 sf, so 2x6x10 cedar is quoting at $6,500
(WOW!). PT is readily available here for about $.80 per board foot,
bringing the total to $3,500. Being able to install hickory for $2,300
is very appealing.
I am wondering if non-durable means 'rots like whitewood' or 'isn't as
good as teak or cypress'. I hate not having a clear answer. Any web
We were thinking that if the house burned down, it would be a great
smelling fire... :)
Or I could replace ten percent of the deck each year and use it for
I don't know of any of our native trees down here that have good
weather resistance without aggressive weather protection such as paint.
If you get pecan, some of it has so much open face grain it would seem
to be a waste of your time on this case, even painted.
At one time I had a line on plain, yellow pine from a mill in Bastrop
that was so resinous that it lasted great outside with just paint. I
have run into many an old house that had hard yellow pine subfloors,
main floors, and porch floors on outside screened in porches. Also, in
the hill country the same pine was used on front sitting porches for at
least a hundred years, judging by the old country and ranch houses in
Fredricksburg, Bandera, Comfort, etc.
I have NEVER, EVER had any kind of luck or satisfaction out of
Thompson's. In fact, it has cost me money in refinishing two decks. I
don't know if it is because it flashes off in our 100+ degree summers,
or if the finish isn't any good. Three full coats as per mnfg. specs
still lasts about a year. Now I tell clients that they can pick the
finish and I will apply it, and no warranty if it is Thompson's.
**** But now an important question: Where in the world are you
getting your pecan so cheap?
.56 a foot sounds like I could just about drive anywhere in the state
to get some of that! Please let me know here, or contact me at
h c w o o d t u r n e r @ s b c g l o b a l . n e t
Just take out the spaces.
If you need a line on the hard yellow pine, let me know if you can't
find it and maybe I can lend a hand.
So does anyone know if you can have lumber pressure treated for you? Or
what it costs?
All, Texocal in Temple, TX has over 3 million board feet of lumber on
hand. That price was on 3000 board foot quantity, but it's not more
than a few percent premium for smaller quantities. My price was on #2
common. It's obviously higher for SAS.
Here's their website (it's not much of a website)
I can't say their service is the best, and they will tell you that when
you call their salesmens cell phones (which they readily give out) that
they might not hear you because they are back near the planers.
But they have a great selection and great price. I've posted prices for
most of their items below. Cherry and walnut are both up from about six
months ago, while most of the other prices have fallen.
#2 Com SAS 1000 bf pricing
0.60 1.50 Ash up to 12/4
0.50 1.36 Poplar up to 8/4
1.00 1.70 Red Oak
1.00 1.95 White Oak
1.05 Aromatic Cedar 5-8"
0.56 1.25 Pecan-Hickory
0.90 2.30 Soft Maple up to 8/4
3.30 Hard Maple up to 8/4
5.50 Black Walnut
Check my earlier question about paying someone to pressure treat the
So is the concensus to treat beforehand with a full submersion dip? So
we are talking about a ten or twelve inch 10' stick of PVC pipe with
caps and a quarter section cut out of the pipe? Fill it with some water
repellent other than Thompson's and go swimming? How long should they
soak? Any drying process?
This will probably be in the 7/8"-15/16" range. I don't know if it's
plained one side or both.
Oh, and I was counting on putting down two layers for the price I
described above.If I did only one layer, I could install my 2000 foot
porch for $1100 bucks worth of deck boards!!!!!!! How awesome would
For a buck a board foot, I'd go with white oak and forget all the
perigrinations you're going through with hickory. White oak is
reasonably durable, less splintery, gives great strength, and is easy
to work for a hardwood. Hickory is splintery, tends to split easily,
and is generally not much fun to work. Too, it splits and checks even
after drying if used outside in larger pices--ladder rungs and wheel
spokes seem to work fine, but boards don't, IME. If you find a
commercial PT outfit that will do your hickory, you've got transport
two ways plus the PT cost (and for a small lot that can work out to a
decent amount per BF). If you could be certain you were getting
shagbark hickory (Carya ovata), you'd be fine without PT or other work,
as long as it is decently protected by porch roof, etc., and finished
well, but hickory today is mostly sold mixed, and is not all as good as
Thanks to everyone for their quick replies!!
While I have not decided one way or another, I am definitley inclined
to go with a hardwood rather than PT. The white oak route for a buck is
not too bad if I can get 6/4 from these guys. Then it would be very
comparable in price to PT.
It's just something to totally different to say that 'I have an oak
deck' versus 'I have a PT pine deck'. There's a big WOW factor in there
for my appraised value as well.
Not to mention character, beauty and durability.
PT the hickory? It's more than tough enough!
My best luck re stain has been Cabot's. If the wood is that cheap, you can
afford to PT it and soak both sides in Cabots before laying. I built a
trough to soak my poplar siding.
OMO - nothing scientific, but what you are describing (vertical
protection from sun/some rain) with a good weather treatment on top
makes me believe you will be okay. Hickory/pecan is moderate in
strength and weight but if you are not talking loads of traffic it
*should* be fine. As for Thompson's - Consumer Reports rated it
unsatisfactory several years back. Seems they had better luck with an
Olympic product. Bear in mind that these are largely just oils and
after several years of exposure they tend to make the wood look very
ugly. In my area of NC the wood turns a pukey green and pressure
washing it is not good for the wood surface. Use screws to put down the
deck and buy an extra 20% above your normal 115% of coverage area to
give you some stock for maintenance. Heck at that price per b.f. you
could almost go into biz as a cabinet-maker :-}
Built it using the pecan/hickory. As one poster stated treat all sides
Is the decking going to be 5/4 or standard 3/4?
If its the standard 3/4 than space your joists MUCH CLOSER for strength.
You may use a finish on it like they apply to basketball/gym floors.Apply
about three coats to your high traffic areas. I have used this finish on
some tables for a driving school and after years now it still is smooth,we
all know what teenagers are like in a class room with marking tables.
Now my fee for helping you is drive a semi-trailer load to my place so a
can install the same porch :) :)
Have fun building your porch and I'm sure it will be great.
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