Fence-All has been selling, designing, and installing wood fences, decks, and railings since our very beginning in 1976.
Our careful wood selection process, internal grading systems, and in-house shop facilities allow us the opportunity to match different lumbers to different budgets.
Every piece of lumber is chosen specifically to fit a Fence-All Wood Fence, Deck, or Railing Design.
Milling to the proper size and proportion results in better looking, longer lasting fences and decks.
2. What type of wood is best?
To make the best products it’s essential to use the best lumber.
Western Red Cedar has always been the Fence-All Wood of Choice.
Careful selection, professional milling and the practical designs of our Red Cedar Fences, Decks, and Railings make Western Red Cedar our most popular wood type year after year.
3. Do you offer alternatives?
For those working on a tighter budget we offer all of our Fence, Deck, and Railing designs in Pressure Treated Lumber
Fence designs (only) are available in three separate Cedar grades.
#2 cedar is often the more economical Northern White Cedar.
4. Can you tell me more about Red Cedar versus White Cedar?
Red Cedar is from the Rocky Mountains; White Cedar is from Northeast Ontario.
Mostly due to shipping costs, white cedar is a lower priced alternative for customers "in the east".
Western Red Cedar is a wonderful species, with a very straight grain. The wood is light weight (24 lbs per cu ft or 385 kg/cu m) and has little shrinkage.
Red Cedar has very high natural decay resistance and a characteristic odor that is famous around the world.
Eastern White Cedar is a close relative of Western red cedar, genetically speaking. However, the white cedar tree is much smaller and so the lumber is quite knotty, compared to the clearer lumber of red cedar. The wood is a lighter weight (21 lbs per cu ft or 335 kg/cu m) and so is weaker than red cedar by a considerable amount. The grain is straight; shrinkage is low; splitting is easy. Decay resistance is very high.
The specific gravity of White Cedar (SG) is 0.31, versus 0.47 for Red. Strength is 45,000 psi for White versus 61,000 for Red.
5. Which type of Cedar is more rot resistant?
While the decay resistance of the heartwood is fairly equal (although some would argue that White Cedar works better in the east and Red Cedar in the West), the strength, including the ability to hold fasteners, of red cedar is superior to that of white cedar.
6. Is Pressure Treated a more expensive, maintenance-free lumber?
Pressure Treated Lumber is a less expensive alternative to Cedar, or other wood types that are more natural choices for outdoor projects.
Because most common wood species have little resistance to decay, some form of chemical preservative is necessary to protect the lumber from rot and from attack of insects and fungi.
This chemical treatment does not stop dimensional changes in the wood which are caused by changes in the weather and humidity.
Customers purchasing Pressure Treated Lumber should expect to save money, but they should also expect to see increased levels of splitting, cracking, twisting and cupping.
7. Do you recommend staining?
Although Western Red Cedar will weather over time to a silver gray color that might be appealing from an architectural perspective, we believe that applying some kind of protective finish provides the best results both from an aesthetic and performance point of view.
For Pressure Treated Lumber effective water repellants will retard the impact of moisture in the wood and, thereby, help reduce splitting, cracking and twisting that is common with these types of wood.
8. Is staining the only maintenance required?
Even after applying an exterior finish discoloration will occur over time.
Usually dirt and pollens in the air are the most common cause of discoloration and can easily be removed with a mild detergent using a brush.
Fences and Railings should be stained every three to five years, while a Deck should be stained every year due to the wear and tear from regular use.
9. How long should I expect Fence or Deck to last?
Properly finished, any of our wood products can last for 20 years or more, even in challenging environments.
The height of a fence, distance between posts, and wind exposure are all factors that affect the years of service.
10. How long should I expect the cedar to continue to look good?
Western Red Cedar has twice the stability of most commonly available softwoods.
The stability is a result of its low density and shrinkage factors. It lies flat, stays straight, and holds fastenings tightly.
Cedar is easy to cut, form, glue and finish.
11. What about environmental concerns?
Wood is the only renewable building material on earth.
Wood is a completely natural building material that's 100% biodegradable.
Harvesting wood has been shown to be much less intrusive than the mining of raw materials for steel and concrete such as iron ore, coal and limestone.
12. Can you tell me more about the new type of Pressure Treating?
Alkaline Copper Quaternary Ammonium (ACQ) is a wood preservative - containing copper and quaternary ammonium compound (quat) as active ingredients - that protects against rot, decay and termite attack. It is the most common replacement to the old CCA method. Quat is a product commonly used in commercial disinfectants and cleaners. It acts as a co-biocide. Some copper does leach from ACQ-treated lumber, making it unsafe for garden or marine use.
13. What about using non-treated lumbers, other than Cedar?
There are other woods that work well for outdoors but they can be very expensive. We believe Cedar gives the optimal combination of price and value.
Fence-All does not offer lower costing non-treated woods because of excessive warping, cupping and rot.
Customers should expect the same cracking and twisting that is associated with Pressure Treated Lumber.
14. Does it matter if a wood fence touches the ground?
Wood that is touching the ground will rot at an accelerated rate and may cause the entire fence to heave with frost.
Wood fences are best installed at least 2" above ground level.
15. Do wood fence posts have to be set in concrete?
Although there are times when an alternative might work better, the most cost effective and sturdiest method of installing wood fences is to set them in concrete.
16. Can I let vines grow on my new wood fence?
Never use Pressure Treated Lumber around edible products.
Contact with vines or plant life will encourage rot in untreated non-cedar wood types.
17. Do post caps help to deter rot in wood fence posts?
The choice of cap and the height to cut off posts is purely an aesthetic choice.
Cut them at your preferred height and remember to consider the height of the post cap when doing so.
Posts rot at the ground level much faster than up at the top of the post.
18. Why do knots sometimes fall out of the fence boards?
Knots and the surrounding wood have different densities. Since knots are more dense, they expand and contract less than the surrounding wood, loosening the bond. For customers concerned about this, we recommend our #1 Western Red Cedar, or Select Grade Cedar. The knots will be smaller and tighter. The cost is slightly more, but your fence will have a longer serviceable life.
19. What causes black marks around the nails in a wood fence?
Black stains are caused by natural wood extracts interacting with the metal. Moist wood increases the likelihood of this interaction. To help avoid this Fence-All uses only hot-dipped galvanized spiral nails and fasteners.
For ACQ Pressure Treated Lumber, which leaches copper, special double galvanized fasteners are required.
20. What do you recommend for helping the wood posts last longer?
Many homeowners try to plan ahead and ask if we have a solution for posts that will last longer.
Upgrading to steel posts was a somewhat popular option in the past but it always had inherent problems (steel promotes rot in the wood).
Now we are able to offer PVC posts, with a lifetime warrantee against rot, that will fit almost any wood fence style.
21. Why does wood rot?
Cellulose and lignin, the main components of wood, ensure the rigidity of the cells which make up the trunk of a tree. Certain types of fungi are very fond of cellulose and lignin. With the help of enzymes, these fungi dissolve the cellular walls of the wood and consume the dissolved materials as food. Thus the wood weakens and rots.
Some species of wood are more resistant to decay than others. Cedar, for instance, gives fungi a tough time. A cedar fence post can last over 25 years without any special treatment while a maple or spruce post will last only 5 years without preservatives. Cedar's ability to resist decay is a result of the resin and chemicals it produces naturally: they keep insects away and inhibit fungi growth.
It takes favourable conditions for fungi to grow: water and air are needed and the temperature must be neither too cold nor too hot. Dry wood will keep well for many years, as will the furniture and staircase inside your home. Wood submerged under water won't rot either because the decaying process needs air. Wood exposed to both air and humidity, like a picnic table or a fence post, is much more vulnerable. A fence post will rot faster at ground level than underground because air is present to speed up the decaying process.
"Throw your heart over the fence and the rest will follow." -Norman Vincent Peale