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Author Topic: What works better for exterior trim (fir or cedar)?  (Read 12711 times)

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Offline Timothy K.

  • Posts: 20
  • Painting & Restoration Contracter
What works better for exterior trim (fir or cedar)?
« on: December 02, 2011, 01:00 PM »
I would like some opinions on Fir vs Cedar for exterior trim applications, when properly primed on all sides and primed on the cut ends. This includes D-grade Fir and C-grade cedar. I am in the process of replacing trim on an English Tudor style house built in the 1920's and trying to be as  esthetically correct as possible for the process. This house is in the mid-west and it gets down to 0 degree's in the winter and in the 100's in the summer with very high humidity.

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Offline WarnerConstCo.

  • Posts: 3391
    • WarnerRemodeling
Re: What works better for exterior trim (fir or cedar)?
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2011, 01:04 PM »
For wood, I would use Cypress. 

Another option is Miratec.  I use that all the time when someone does not want wood.

It is cheaper then wood too, paints great and you have a choice of wood grain or smooth side.

Also available in 3/4" and 1" thickness.

Offline Scott B.

  • Magazine/Blog Author
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  • Posts: 1273
  • Paint contractor/writer/trainer
    • Prep to Finish
Re: What works better for exterior trim (fir or cedar)?
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2011, 01:14 PM »
As a paint contractor, I deal with both on exterior finishing applications, as well as several other more exotic species, in both clear and paint grade. From what you are describing, I would choose cedar. It is generally easier to work with. It is softer, so it takes finish very well, oils in particular. If you do choose cedar, and depending on color and finish, do a little research on tannin bleed. That is the biggest challenge of painting it. Beyond that, it works very well. I put cedar clapboard siding on my own house about 10 years ago and it has done extremely well, much more so than the pine trim I applied with the same finish system at the same time. And the fir door on the mudroom is not far from the last round up.

Offline Timothy K.

  • Posts: 20
  • Painting & Restoration Contracter
Re: What works better for exterior trim (fir or cedar)?
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2011, 01:43 PM »
 I'm not to worried about the tannin, i will prime it with Pittsburg sealgrip and finish coat  it with dark color Permanizer. Cypress is a thought, but material price plays a major role in this decision. The d-grade cedar is $2.27 cuft and the  fir is $1.61 a cuft. So. . . properly primed, I'm mostly looking at the longevity factor.

Offline erock

  • Posts: 893
Re: What works better for exterior trim (fir or cedar)?
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2011, 05:30 PM »
With the company I work for, we manage a condo complex with cedar trim.  We are replacing boards all the time.  My guess is by the next five years all the cedar board will be replaced with Azek.  But, the way the builder installed the cedar boards is keeping money in my pockets.  The builder did not seal the end grain on the cuts. Nor did they use any caulk.  The only side sealed is the face of the board.  And they didn't prime the boards!!  So we are replacing a lot of rotting boards.  Oh and no tabs on the J channel...but that's a different topic!

So try to seal the end grain of your boards and use a good primer,  and I don't think you could go wrong with fir or cedar.  As long as you maintain it properly.
Just my two cents. 

Eric
Kapex, DF500 , HL 850, OF1400, MFK700,  TS 55, PS 300, OS 400,  CXS, C15, TI15,  MFT 800, MFT1080,  (3) MFT/3, CT 26, CT midi, LS130, DX93 ,  DTS 400, RO 125,  ETS 125, LR32, VS600,

Offline Brice Burrell

  • Posts: 6599
  • Remodeling Contractor
    • The Green and Dark Blue blog
Re: What works better for exterior trim (fir or cedar)?
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2011, 02:31 PM »
I'm not to worried about the tannin, i will prime it with Pittsburg sealgrip and finish coat  it with dark color Permanizer. Cypress is a thought, but material price plays a major role in this decision. The d-grade cedar is $2.27 cuft and the  fir is $1.61 a cuft. So. . . properly primed, I'm mostly looking at the longevity factor.

I believe you're going to have trouble with either these low grades in the long run.  Btw, you're short an "h" on the end of Pittsburgh. There's one thing we Pittsburghers hate, and that's people shorting us our h. [tongue] [big grin]
Check out my new blog, The Green and Dark Blue Blog.

Offline paul_david_thomas

  • Posts: 269
Re: What works better for exterior trim (fir or cedar)?
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2012, 09:30 AM »
I'm all for cedar - however, that's because it smells soooo good when you cut it.

Is it really wrong to sniff the timber ?
TS55, MFT/3x2, Domino, CMS, C12, RO150, RTS400, Kapex 120, CTL26, OF1400 & Two German Wirehaired Pointers :-) They really help !

Offline Deansocial

  • Posts: 2024
Re: What works better for exterior trim (fir or cedar)?
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2012, 05:30 PM »
my mum warned me of them filthy wood sniffers [scared]

yeah i smell most woods i cut for the first time.

Offline JimRay

  • Posts: 86
Re: What works better for exterior trim (fir or cedar)?
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2012, 06:09 PM »
A friend of mine has been using post-pressure-treated kiln-dried southern yellow pine for shutters for some time now, with great results (according to him). I was leery at first, but the idea of insect / rot resistant wood that is kiln dried is certainly interesting. He says it machines well, and will outlast Mahogany for exterior use.

HTH,

Jim Ray

(I have no idea where he gets the stuff, but if you live in Central VA, I bet he could put you on to some.)
Jim Ray

Offline Oldwood

  • Posts: 176
  • Alberta, Canada
Re: What works better for exterior trim (fir or cedar)?
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2012, 06:19 PM »
my mum warned me of them filthy wood sniffers [scared]

yeah i smell most woods i cut for the first time.

One of the young guys working on the jobsite wanted to bottle the yellow cedar sawdust & sell it as perfume [tongue]
It smells great, I am quite partial to Cherry & American Black walnut also.

Just anther filthy wood sniffer.

Gerry
Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance.
Confucius

Offline jacko9

  • Posts: 1545
Re: What works better for exterior trim (fir or cedar)?
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2012, 09:36 PM »
Try Bear Creek Lumber in the state of Wa.  they have great cedar for super prices!

Offline jmarkflesher

  • Posts: 192
  • Scoot
Re: What works better for exterior trim (fir or cedar)?
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2012, 06:53 PM »
I just installed 1/2" x 6" beveled Western Red Cedar siding on my house this past summer, about 6000 linear feet. It was clear vertical grain and cost $1.10 a linear foot. I got to pick lengths I wanted and was able to get up to 21 footers.I primed all sides and cuts with an oil based tinted primer. First finish coat, 100% acrylic latex, went on before installation. If you are using acrylic latex primer, you must let primed cuts dry completely before you install or you are wasting you're time. This is a big disadvantage with latex primer. I used splitless ring shank 8D No. 304 stainless steel nails, use 6D because old studs are hard. I would still wash all cedar with a wood prep to open the pores and control tannin. The four pieces I did not use wood prep on bleed. They say not to overlap nail but I have done this on other jobs that are 30 years old with no splits. Never use bleach on cedar to kill mildew, this is now a no no and has been linked to paint sheathing. Building wrap is a whole new subject. A 15 year study on wraps by The University of Massachusetts concluded that if the professor was to build a house today he would use 15# felt (tar paper). The new trend is to put all siding on 1" spaceres that are nailed directly into the framing studs. This creates an air space behind the back of the siding and the building wrap. There are houses in New England that are over 100 years old with the original cedar clapboards with no finish ever applied. Where do you buy that siding?
DEC 21st, 2012 TIC TIC TIC   WAS A DUD

Offline Dixon Peer

  • Posts: 169
  • location: Summit, NJ
    • http://peercon.com
Re: What works better for exterior trim (fir or cedar)?
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2012, 03:03 PM »
I just installed 1/2" x 6" beveled Western Red Cedar siding on my house this past summer, about 6000 linear feet. It was clear vertical grain and cost $1.10 a linear foot. I got to pick lengths I wanted and was able to get up to 21 footers.I primed all sides and cuts with an oil based tinted primer. First finish coat, 100% acrylic latex, went on before installation. If you are using acrylic latex primer, you must let primed cuts dry completely before you install or you are wasting you're time. This is a big disadvantage with latex primer. I used splitless ring shank 8D No. 304 stainless steel nails, use 6D because old studs are hard. I would still wash all cedar with a wood prep to open the pores and control tannin. The four pieces I did not use wood prep on bleed. They say not to overlap nail but I have done this on other jobs that are 30 years old with no splits. Never use bleach on cedar to kill mildew, this is now a no no and has been linked to paint sheathing. Building wrap is a whole new subject. A 15 year study on wraps by The University of Massachusetts concluded that if the professor was to build a house today he would use 15# felt (tar paper). The new trend is to put all siding on 1" spaceres that are nailed directly into the framing studs. This creates an air space behind the back of the siding and the building wrap. There are houses in New England that are over 100 years old with the original cedar clapboards with no finish ever applied. Where do you buy that siding?

I never did buy in to the house wrap stuff, but because it is architect specified on some jobs, have had to use it.  The 15# felt was always good.  And as to the houses in New England that are over 100 years old with the original cedar claps on them, well, it's OLD GROWTH cedar that is depleted now and what's left isn't being cut, a much superior material to "tree farmed" stuff that's fast growth.  We did western red cedar roofs that lasted over thirty years before needing replacement.  No more.
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