Split cedar posts

aurorarobJune 20, 2006

Great forum! Let me start by saying, I couldn't afford IPE. :) Yes, I realize that in the long term it can be cheaper than the alternatives...but at some point for new construction, you have to stop the bleeding :) So, here I am with my partially completed cedar deck.

The deck is pressure treated framing with cedar deck/rail/balusters. I stopped by today to check on the progress and I noticed that the cedar 4x4 railing posts have splits in them. These splits are about 1/8" wide and because some of the posts have several splits, they actually can span the entire height of the post.

My question is "Is this normal?" I realize that "normal" is relative, so I apologize for the use of the term. What I'm really trying to understand is should I ask for them to be replaced, or is that just part of the fun with cedar?

Thanks in advance,


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It must be normal if you see a lot of it in the posts, that is normal for your supplier, replacing them with the same thing would probley get the same results.Western Red cedar is a little splitee any where you get it even if its klin dried. John

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 11:00PM
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the cheese board.. where splits put you in a snit. Where cracks slap you in the back. Where checks, become a deck.
If the guy had any workmanship he would have sent back the posts and got new ones. I did this before with posts.
Called them right up, complained, and they picked up and delivered new ones that were like glass. Nice and tight. Yes, the new ones might crack but maybe they won't or won't for awhile.
Now that the guy has them installed, be prepared for a battle.
Wood splits are unpredictable epecially with cedar, pressure-treated... so, he will have good footing to smite any attack you may have. It all goes back to his originally decision to blow off the cracks and push ahead like the lazy SOB he is. lol

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 11:17PM
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Thank you both for the quick responses! Thanks for the laugh gorillabuilder :)

I'll test the waters tomorrow morning with the deck guy and my builder and see how it goes...but it sounds like a fight that might not be worth fighting, especially since overall the construction and quality of the deck look very good to me.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 11:31PM
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I have built with outdoor cedar 4X4s before and have not experienced the splits you describe - even years later. To me, it sounds like a perfect description of pressure treated pine, not cedar! Pressure treated pine always spits and checks.

Cedar is valued for it dimensional stability and resistance to cracking and checking. I think cedar is best used for pretty indoor applications such as interior exposed beams and exposed ceiling planks. Those are applications where people do not walk on or bump into the soft cedar.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 9:45PM
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Because cedar is so stable it makes an excellent wood for exterior applications if it's caulked and painted properly.
I used 6 X 6 smooth cedar posts for the upper posts of the deck...theyre beautiful, some had some minor cracking which filler took care of easily. All my house exterior trim is cedar.....

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 22, 2006 at 5:47AM
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