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Home Improvement Pro Tips

How to Save Money on Your Outdoor Projects

Whether you’re a professional builder or DIYer, you want to keep an eye on the cost of your project. Here, then, are Real Cedar’s top three Pro Tips on how to lower the cost of your lumber by 10 -15% right off the bat…and in some cases, even more:

  1. Incorporate Non-Standard Lengths

Building a beautiful Western Red Cedar deck? Good call! Western Red Cedar not only looks great, it’s naturally resistant to rot, decay and insects, which means your structure is going to last a long time with minimal maintenance. Furthermore, when you factor in its stunning appearance and incredibly strong performance properties, cedar is a relatively affordable building material. But if you want to save even more money, consider incorporating 8, 10 and 14-foot lengths into your design.

Reason being when specifying Western Red Cedar decking, the price in 8s 10s and 14s is often less per foot than the same material in more common lengths. That’s because most building codes require you to build 16” on center, so divisible lengths – or “prime lengths” like 12 feet and 16 feet are more in demand and tend to sell for more.

  • Need more info on how to specify, store and finish Real Cedar products? Visit our decking section for pro tips and how-to videos.
  1. Ask for Shorter Lengths

For smaller projects such as cedar pergolas, you often don’t need longer lengths such as 18 and 20 feet. These lengths are generally more expensive per board foot because they’re harder to manufacture. Why? Raw logs like Western Red Cedar are wider at the base than at the top, meaning they yield fewer long boards than shorter ones so the lack of supply commands a higher price.

That’s why building professionals know to ask their local Real Cedar supplier if they carry any shorter lengths. So not only does this mean less cutting, it also means more money left in your pocket. For decking projects, you can ask for shorter lengths as well. You can either stagger the boards, keeping in mind you may end up with a lot of butt joints. But that can actually add a lot of texture and visual interest to the deck. For a cleaner geometrical look, another option is to use a transition piece. For example, instead of using all 20s, use twice as many 10s and run a middle piece between the two sets of 10s. You may need an extra joist or two, but the savings are still quite significant, especially if it’s a larger project – in a lot of cases, you can save 20% or even more.

  • Use the Western Red Cedar decking calculator and find a Real Cedar supplier near you on our to ask if they carry shorts.
  1. Consider Knotty Grades

Architecturally, clear and knotty grades of cedar are both superior products when it comes to performance and appearance. They both boast a naturally beautiful tonal range that aesthetically elevates all types of outdoor project – be it a classic or contemporary design. Typically though, building professionals and DIYers opt for clear when they want a crisp clean modern look. When they want to add texture and warmth, they opt for knotty grades. Of course, when you factor in how much value is added to your home when you incorporate Western Red Cedar into your projects, both clear and knotty offer great ROI.

However, at the end of day, knotty grades are the more cost-effective choice. So next time you’re specifying a Real Cedar order, you might want to consider Architect Knotty decking and Select Knotty siding. In addition to saving you money, knotty cedar is very versatile. No longer seen a merely a go-to product for rustic cabins, knotty cedar is renowned for how it enriches modern designs as well.

 

DID YOU KNOW? Western Red Cedar is pitch and resin free, which mean it can accept and hold a wide range of finishes beautifully. Find the perfect stain for your next project and get the application pro tips you need to get the job done right in Real Cedar’s finishing section.