Douglas Fir for decking?

marksasMay 1, 2007

Has anyone used Douglas Fir 1x4 boards for decking? I'm building two decks, 18x16 and 8x12. My father has pushed fir since the beginning saying people have been using it for 100 years,etc. I would like to go with Mahogany but i think it will be out of my price range considering two decks. The Fir is only about $1.03/lf, the mahogany i'm not sure of. I've also been told that the Fir has a problem splintering easily, but doesn't all would? Also, the decking will be stained and I'm located in the Boston area. Thanks for any input.

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Your Father is right Doug Fir has been used that long for outside projects. Trouble is we are no longer cutting old growth now days it second growth Big differance.

If you can find cvg old growth Doug Fir for that price defentley put it down. John

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 10:30AM
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Thanks for the reply! I'm buying everything through my local Home Depot, so not sure about the "growth".

Can the Fir achieve the same beautiful results as all the Ipe decks w/ TWP or Cabots oil? What would you recommend to use on the Fir for a similar finish? Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 10:38AM
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Just make sure you check prices on Ipe. According to some quick calculations and the price you gave of $1.03/lf for 1x4 Douglas Fir, the decking cost of Ipe would only be about $500 more than the Fir you were looking at. Still may be outside your budget, or you may not want to build with Ipe. Just a thought.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 11:07AM
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I have been gradually replacing the 24 yr old 1X6X8 redwood boards on my decks with fir. Years ago I got fed up with staining every year or so and went with a deck solid color paint. By going this rourte, the fir 1X6's are protected and should last for years. The fir lumber at HD is usually very green, so I let the boards dry for a few months in the garage before installing.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 12:56PM
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Rule of Thumb>> dont buy anything important from the box stores

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 3:30PM
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John -

Your probably right about the lumber from home depot. The problem is that my wife is set on buy only from there, for reasons i can't go into. Anyway, thats why i'm considering either EON decking which they highly tout, or composite like the new "Tropics" from Veranda, which looks way better than the crap they made before. Let me know what you think. Both products can be see at their websites:

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 4:34PM
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Man you dont even want me to get into either one of those. If momma aeint happy there is nobody happy. J

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 8:28PM
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I bought my house in 1979 (upstate NY) and it had a 2 year old Douglas Fir deck on it in a sunny location. I used a solid oil stain on it every few years and over the next 10 years the deck gradually rotted out. The rotted boards were gradually replace with pressure treated which, although they didn't rot, shrunk, cracked, and warped. Two years ago we put an addition on the house and tore out the pressure treated deck and went with Ipe. Ipe is great. The only downside is it has to be re-stained yearly unless you are willing to let it go grey.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 10:39AM
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I am putting a deck on my house in a wooded area. The deck will have sun most of the day but, the many tress in area make create a good deal of moisture. I put a mahogany deck on my last house and had very good luck over 3/4 years. But the mahogany was pre-stained/sealed so I think that kept the moisture from seeping in from below the deck. Do you know where I could purchase pre sealed mahogany? In the Boston area? If not, what would you recommend that looks as good and wears aw well or better under these conditions?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 6:18PM
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In Calif., I can get ipe presealed. Ironwoods does it.

They use a olympic clear product that is way down the list of prefered sealers for ipe. The top portion lasts about a month. I imagine that the framing side lasts a good deal longer.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 10:28PM
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We are using 1x8 doug fir for our deck @ a cost of 44 cents a ft'. I am in California and the wood is #2 utility or better. We are renting the house and with kids dogs nail marks bbq stains and any number of things that can stain a deck, we felt this would be the best way to go,
It is very green and very wet, if we want to protect it we have to prime it with an oil base primer and then paint it with a deck paint or we could choose to use an oil based waterproofing.

We could have bought #2 kiln dry @ 66 cents a ft. but all we are paying for is the dry, not a better grade of wood.
All the old growth in redwood and doug fir is gone so they simply won't last that long.

Ipe is great wood and it must be stained yearly to maintain the color or it goes gray, a few things to remember:
1.All cut/but ends must be immediately sealed with a special sealer after cutting
2.It must be predrilled and fastened with stainless steel screws. Initial install is expensive but it will last a long time.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 1:13AM
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Our decking contractor built us a deck out of Trex Transcend (wood grained plastic coating on the top and sides Trex--"rope swing" color) on the top side and dark burnished chocolate brown on the underside of the Trex boards. The framing, floor joists, posts, and glulam beams are all out of" Douglas Fir." The posts are all being wrapped in white vinyl. The fascia perimeter is also covered with Trex Transcend. We had to add additional post to make the deck freestanding, because of the brick veneer. They will also be wrapped in vinyl. I would love any suggestions on how to make the the beams on the inside next to the house look better too. I would greatly appreciate any input on what is the a very good low maintenance long lasting sealant for Douglas Fir wood that will look good with this white and taupe color combo. I have heard that solid body stains will eventually flake and peel and have to be sanded down and restained in 5 years, which isn't very appealing, although I like that look a lot and it covers up most of the woods' imperfections. Clear (non-pigmented) stains can be sprayed on with a garden sprayer, but I've heard it's better to brush it on, so it'll soak in better, and doesn't risk getting spray droplets on the top side of the boards that might stain them. Transparent or translucent stains with pigment look very nice, but really show when they need to be re-done, and you have to mask everything off to avoid getting stain on the Trex boards. Our deck is on the west side of our home and wraps around to an upper smaller deck on the south. About half of it has a roof over it. Does anyone have a stain/sealant they've used that they really like? How long did it last before having to be re-done? Also, it's too late to seal the top side of the floor joists, which I now know should have been done. Any suggestions or tips about which sealer(s) works best and how to protect the bare "Douglas Fir" wood that shows between the Trex boards, now that the deck is nearly completed. We have the metal hidden fastener system. Anyone have any info or experience about which lasts the longest--oil or water based stains? How long you can go before having to re-seal them? How long will a Douglas Fir framework last if you keep it sealed? Which last longer primer & paint or stain? Many thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 12:33AM
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