Sunbury Cedar

Sunbury Cedar

How to Take Care and Maintain Your Deck

How to Take Care and Maintain Your Deck

  • decks
  • maintenance

In the Lower Mainland, as much as it feels like a paradise some days, we have to remember the climate here is a temperate rainforest.  That means we get rain.   A lot of it.  But you already know that, you live here!  What does that mean for maintaining our decks?

Its best to establish routine maintenance for your deck, ensuring you get the best livability out of it while its nice out, but that you will see it last as long as possible. 


This is a perfect time to wash and stain your deck.  Getting rid of the mold and mildew will help keep the rot at bay.

1) Give it a good clean.

  • Remove any debris from between the deck boards.
  • Sweep the deck off.
  • Apply the appropriate cleaner to the type of deck you have.
    • Wood deck – use a stiff bristled brush, and apply the cleaner evenly to the deck surface.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for letting it soak in (usually 10-15 minutes) and then hose off.  Do not use a pressure washer, as the high pressure can destroy the wood fibers leading to poor penetration of stain and accelerated rotting.’
    • Composite decking – use a soft brush, and scrub using a manufacturer’s recommended cleaning product.  Rinse off thoroughly and enjoy!

2) If there is any light maintenance to do, replacing boards, addressing missing or popped nails and screws, now is the time to do it.  If you notice any rough edges or splinters beginning, take care of it now with a sanding.  Our retail store has all the items you need to repair your deck.

3) Apply stain (wood decks only).

We carry a variety of stains to refinish your deck with.  We recommend that unless you completely sand and strip the existing stain off your deck, it’s best to apply the same type of stain overtop of the existing stain.

Use a clear stain to allow the grain of the wood to shine through.  Use a semi-transparent stain to tint the wood or for better UV protection.  Solid stains are useful if your deck has been weathered in the past, or you want to match the deck to compliment another color.

Make sure the deck is dry before you begin application, and that the weather is expected to stay dry for a couple of days.  Use a brush, or a roller and back brush, to evenly apply the stain.  Better to have two thin coats than one really thick coat.


Inspect and repair.

In between your BBQ’s and summer get-togethers, it’s a good time to give a close inspection to your decks’ structure.  The pressure treated sub-frame is the skeleton of your deck, and you want to make sure your ‘bones’ are in good shape.

1) Inspect for any signs of rot.  Use a screwdriver to lightly probe the joists and beams underneath your deck boards for any signs of soft sports.  Check the posts and railings to ensure there is no movement.  A rotting post can give way, causing injury.

2) Look at the ledger.  The ledger is a key structural member of your deck, the attachment point to your house.  This should be lag bolted to your house, not just nailed.  It’s important that the flashing is intact and doing its job of diverting water away from your ledger.  An improperly attached ledger or rotting ledger is the most common cause of a deck collapse.


Preventative maintenance.

This is a good time to wash and stain your deck if you didn’t get to it in the spring.  It is also worth giving your deck a rinse before putting it away for the winter.

Keep your grass, trees and bushes neatly trimmed and away from the deck.  Ensure you’re sweeping off leaves or other debris regularly to prevent mold and mildew from getting started.

Move furniture or other items occasionally to avoid UV rays from only discoloring certain parts of the deck.

Sunbury Cedar

Water vs. Wood

Water vs. Wood

  • damage prevention
  • decks
  • maintenance
  • moisture
  • water damage

How Water Affects Wood
By Graham Bailey
UBC Wood Products Processing Student

It’s well known that water can cause some problems for wood. But do you know why? Or how? Knowing what exactly water does to your wood product can be a powerful tool in the fight against warping, splitting, rotting and failed stains. In this article, we’ll discuss both the structure of wood and the environment it’s in, explaining how and why water affects wood.

Wood is designed by a tree for two main purposes: support and transport. The support part is obvious, but what about transport? Water, nutrients and chemicals need to move to all parts of the tree. This need causes the tree to develop tube-like cells (Figure 1), which run vertically and horizontally. We’re going to focus on the vertically oriented cells, which are called longitudinal tracheids or simply tracheids (trake-ee-eds).

Red Cedar Cells

Figure 1: A cross section of Western Red Cedar (Courtesy of Dr. Simon Ellis, UBC Wood Science)

Tracheids make up the majority of cells in a tree. They’re typically 3-4 millimeters long and 0.03 millimeters in diameter. To put that in perspective, you could fit about 170 tracheids inside a pin. So, these cells are really small. And they’re also hollow, and their walls are kind of spring shaped.

What does that have to do with wood-water interaction?

It turns out that if you take a bunch of really small tubes and bunch them together, they tend to absorb water. And if they’re spring shaped, they will actually get longer as they absorb water, and get shorter as water is removed from them.

So why does that matter? If that were true, you might say, then when wood gets wet, it’ll just get longer. You could buy an 8 foot 2×4 in July and by November it might be long enough to replace that split 10-footer in your deck, right?

Well, no not quite. The structure of wood is highly variable, and its cell-density can change drastically depending on where in the log a piece of lumber is cut from (Figure 2). Denser cells absorb more water and dry more slowly, while the opposite is true of less dense cells. Most lumber contains areas of differing density, and if this contrast is stark enough we run into problems. If the lumber is wet and begins to dry, those two regions will contract at different rates, and we get something called differential longitudinal shrinkage, though its more commonly known as a hockey stick or firewood. With that in mind, we can develop the following rule:

Wood Cell 2

Figure 2: An example of variable cell-density. The orange cells are denser. (Courtesy of Dr. Simon Ellis, UBC Wood Science)

Wood can only warp when its moisture content changes


On top of that, those changes only occur when the moisture content drops bellow roughly 20% in cedar. All moisture changes that happen above 20% cause absolutely no change in red cedar. The average “green” moisture content for red cedar is between 58% and 259%. Green lumber is any wood that isn’t kiln dried.

Another important fact here is that wood will equalize its moisture content with the humidity of the environment it’s in. For example, green lumber in the winter in Vancouver will eventually equalize at about 21% moisture content. In the summer that drops to about 10%.

But what does that mean for you? Basically, any green lumber you find is going to be soaking wet, and that isn’t a problem. Wood can only warp when it dries too much.

To wrap – or warp – up, we’ve looked at the basic structure of wood, and why that structure can change a boards shape. We also touched on what humidity has to do with moisture content, and that wet does not equal bad when it comes to buying green lumber. This knowledge will help you to better use wood products, and hopefully make your next project that much better.

Stay tuned for more articles on wood science, and make sure to leave a comment if you have any questions!

Sunbury Cedar

A Deck Builder’s Guide to Protecting Your Deck This Winter

Winter is just around the corner. Is your deck ready for the upcoming season? With the nasty weather on the way, you’ll want to prepare your deck from all that rain, snow, and sleet. To help you protect your home’s outdoor activity hub from the harsh elements, our deck builders have put together some handy tips on how to winterize your deck.
Clear off your deck

Leaving your planters and furniture out all winter long can wreak havoc on your deck. Moisture can leach from your items, leaving behind stains, and causing mould and mildew. To prevent a decking disaster, clear off all the clutter from your deck and store them away in the storage shed or garage.
Get rid of the debris

Before the winter sets in, make sure to remove all the debris from your deck. Leaves, twigs, and dust can trap moisture that will not only create a breeding ground for mould, but also cause rot that can seriously damage the wood.

Warped-Wood-Deck repair

Scrub it down

One of the most important things you can do to protect your deck this winter is to give it a thorough cleaning. Scrub your deck using mild soap or a specialized cleaning solution that doesn’t contain any bleach. Remove all the dirt and grime from the surface and in between cracks.

Seal your deck

Rain, snow, and sleet can damage your deck, causing warping and discolouration. Applying a fresh coat of sealant will go a long way in protecting the wood from the harsh winter elements. If your finish is starting to fade, make sure to replace the stain to shield your deck against moisture and ice.

Shovel that snow

Nobody likes to shovel snow. But keeping up with the snow removal duties will help prevent water damage and warping. Before you start scooping away, however, make sure to only use a plastic shovel. Metal objects can scratch your deck or even remove that new finish you spent the afternoon applying.

Cover the deck with a tarp

For that added layer of protection, spread a tarp over the deck. It will help keep moisture from seeping into the wood, preventing cracking boards, warping, and mildew from forming.

With Old Man Winter right around the corner, you don’t want to wait too long to shield your deck from the upcoming winter elements this season. With these handy tips and a little TLC, you’ll be back out on your deck in no time.

For professional deck builders you can count on, contact Sunbury Cedar.

Why Garden Cedar Sheds Are the Smart Choice

Looking for more storage space? A garden shed is a beautiful and handy addition to any backyard. Great for storing garden tools, lawnmowers, snowblowers, bags of soil, planting pots, and just about anything else that is cluttering your home, a beautifully crafted garden shed is the answer to all your storage problems. But with so many cedar shed types and styles to choose from, it can be a little tricky finding the right one. Here are just some of the reasons why garden cedar sheds are the smart choice.

Cedar keeps its shape

Many types of wood warp in harsh weather conditions—but not cedar. This wood is super solid, capable of keeping its shape no matter what Mother Nature throws at it. From rainy or snowy winters to dry and hot summers, a garden cedar shed is the all-weather solution that won’t shrink or swell.

Resistant to rot

British Columbia gets its fair share of wet weather. Natives to the Pacific Northwest, cedars know this fact quite well. Because of the exposure to huge amounts of damp weather, these trees have developed water-resistant properties to protect them from fungus and mildew. So, if you have a garden shed made from cedar, you won’t have to worry about rot damage.

Insect repellant

Worried that insects are going to make a snack out of your garden shed? Believe it or not, cedar is naturally resistant to insects too. Unlike many types of wood, cedar not only looks amazing, but also fends off destructive insects, making it the ideal bug-proof choice for garden sheds.


Protecting the environment is a major concern for many homeowners. Everyone wants to do their part to protect the Earth and preserve resources—and choosing cedar garden sheds can help homeowners do just that. Compared with manufacturing plastic, vinyl, or steel sheds, cedar sheds are far less damaging to the environment.

Smells amazing

As if you needed any more reasons to choose this strong, gorgeous garden shed option, cedar also smells fantastic. If you want to bring the great outdoors into the comfort of your own backyard, nothing compares with the aroma of cedar wood.

Make no mistake, investing in a cedar garden shed makes perfect sense. Metal, plastic, and vinyl sheds simply can’t compare with the charm, beauty, and versatility of a cedar shed.

For gorgeous garden cedar sheds, visit Sunbury Cedar today!

Red Cedar Indoors

Red Cedar Indoors

Known for its warm, rich colours and natural resistance to decay, Red Cedar has been a prize building product for outdoor projects. Perhaps lesser known are its interior applications.

Living Rooms

Soak in the sun or light the fire, it’s lounging time! Wood adds an abundance of character to living areas and showcases a home’s natural beauty. The spring and summer sun pouring in highlights the red and yellow tones, or creates warmth and contrast in the winter months.

Living Room 1


The essence of a house is its kitchen. It’s more than just an area to prepare meals. It’s the heart of a home, a gathering place, it’s what makes a home a home! The natural warmth of cedar makes it the ideal choice for elegant kitchen walls, ceilings, and trims.



Perhaps the ultimate in luxury home spa options. Red cedar has been used for decades in saunas because of its high tolerance for the ranges of heat and moisture that it can handle. The cell’s stability keeps it from warping and twisting in extreme temperature ranges.


Barn Doors

So much of our interior spaces are made with rather cheap and bland materials. Real wood gives a genuine and natural feel. A barn door can be rough and rustic or quite refined. The hardware is easy to find and makes for a straightforward DIY home improvement.

Barn Door
Sunbury Cedar

Simplifying Staining

Simplifying Staining

  • clear stain
  • Deck
  • deck finishing
  • finishing
  • old stain
  • peeling stain
  • purluxe
  • re-finishing
  • refinishing
  • sikkens
  • staining
  • translucent stain

By Graham Bailey

UBC Wood Products Student

What are you Finishing?

wooden pergola

Deciding what finish to use on your deck, siding or fence can be one of the more confusing choices that you have to make when you build with cedar. Do you go with a translucent or solid stain? What brand is best to use? How long does your lumber have to dry before you stain it? What about pressure treated material? What do I have to do before I can throw the first coat on, and how many coats do I need?

We get it. It’s confusing. But that’s why we’re here; to cut through the brochure marketing, and help you choose the best product, use it the right way, and get the most out of your cedar products, from start to finish.

Part 1: Cedar Decking


Finishing a New Deck


Let’s walk through the ideal way to stain a new, uninstalled deck. For starters, we’re going to talk a little bit about wood-moisture interactions. The number one reason that wood of any kind cracks, warps, cups or that the paint or stain on a given board peels or bubbles is water. Wood can take on or loose water depending on the environment it’s in, and it can do this in a matter of hours. This means that there is no hard and fast rule about allowing your lumber to dry outdoors. It is different for every environment and every piece of lumber. Saying a week to six weeks is completely arbitrary. That said, there is a way to know for sure. Purchasing a pin-less moisture meter is a cheap, effective way to determine the moisture content of your deck prior to staining.

Once we understand how water interacts with your deck, the rest is easy. Unlike the drying time, there are some rules and steps that apply to finishing your deck regardless of its environment.

Decide what type of stain you want to use, and determine if it needs to be applied to all six sides of the deck.

  1. Spray the lumber with water.
  2. Apply a solution of 4 ounces TSP, 1 quart liquid bleach, and 3 quarts water. Allow the solution to sit for 15-20 minutes and then scrub with a hard bristle brush. This will remove any weathering or “mill glaze” from the surface of you deck, allowing the stain to fully penetrate. Do not allow the solution to dry.
  3. Spray the decking with a pressure washer, set to a maximum of 500 PSI, 8-12 inches from the surface of the deck. This should not visibly peel or remove material from the deck. If you see that you are removing significant material from the deck, turn the pressure down, move back, or spray at a shallower angle.
  4. Allow the wood to dry. Ideally we want a moisture content of 12% to 18% or lower. Use a pin-less moisture meter along the length of the board to determine the moisture content. Make sure the moisture meter is set to cedar.
  5. After the decking has dried, sand with 60-80 grit sandpaper. Remove dust as you go.
  6. Apply your stain as soon as possible, to take advantage of the work you’ve put into preparing the deck. Generally, steps 2 through 6 will have to be repeated if the deck is left to weather for more than a week.

Think of a new deck as a first impression: you only get one shot at doing it right. Take a little extra time, use a higher quality stain, and you’ll thank yourself the next time you finish your deck.

Re-Finishing an Old Deck

Wood Deck Background


Refinishing a previously stained surface is where most deck owners get tripped up. There is generally a bit of confusion as to what needs to be done, and what condition the deck needs to be in before fresh stain is applied, as well as when a deck should be re-finished.

One of the advantages of stain is that it allows a deck owner to choose when they want to re-finish. Because stain penetrates the material, it won’t peel off when it needs to be refinished, unlike a building finish such as polyurethane. The finish will fade slowly over time, and when it gets too faded for your liking, that’s when you re-finish.

For the most part, follow the steps above for finishing a new deck. The only real difference is that the old finish needs to be removed from the surface. In the case of having a stain on a surface which is peeling, a chemical stripper should be used in place of the TSP solution which will have very little effect on a peeling finish. The goal here is to completely remove the old finished with a chemical stripper, rinse, sand, and let it dry a couple of days. This will expose or “loosen” some wood fibre so that the new stain has something to take hold of. The colouration from the old stain doesn’t need to be completely removed from the wood if you’re using a similar pigment. If you’re going with a finish that is a completely different formula, you’ll want to remove as much of the old finish as possible. Again, the main goal is to “rough up” the surface so that the stain has a chance to penetrate into the material.

Translucent Stains


All of the Sikkens translucent stains that we sell are oil based with an added pigment. Oil based stains tend to work better on cedar decking because they soak into the wood

We sell two different top of the line Sikkens ProLuxe finishes here at Sunbury Cedar; Cetol SRD RE and Cetol DEK FINISH.

Cetol SRD RE (Alkyd and Linseed Oil)

Cetol SRD is by far our most popular deck stain. Its low price, high-quality alkyd solution, and easy one coat application make it the go to for refinishing and decks that have already been installed. It is also better suited for decks that are within 2 feet of the ground.

Cetol DEK FINISH (High Solids Alkyd)


Cetol DEK FINISH is our top of the line oil based translucent deck stain. Its high solids alkyd solution is one of the best penetrating stains on the market, which in turn makes it one of the longest lasting stains available. It has a bit of a higher price when compared to the Cetol SRD, and it needs to be applied to a deck with at least two feet of separation from the ground. Cetol DEK FINISH also needs to be applied in two coats on all six sides of the deck board. By applying the stain to all surfaces of the board, the amount of moisture that can move in and out of the wood can be minimized. By reducing moisture exchange, the board will be less likely to warp, split or decay over the life of the stain.

What to Avoid

For the most part, if a deck finishing product sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Anything that you apply to your deck without removing the old finish or that “builds” on top of the lumber is likely to fail very quickly. The surface oils in cedar won’t allow the finish to bond with the lumber, which allows moisture to get between the finish and the deck, resulting in a failed finished that peels quickly.

VLUU L200 / Samsung L200

Small Space Gardening

Small Space Gardening

  • decks
  • DIY
  • gardening
  • Growing
  • Small Spaces
  • Verticle Gardens
Small Space Gardening

All our living spaces are tight these days. With more and more urbanites living in apartment buildings, many people feel like there isn’t any space to grow plants at home. But you don’t have to give up your hopes of a beautiful, lush garden just to live in a densely growing city. You just might need to turn your way of thinking about the problem on its side–literally. You can actually achieve a lot by small space gardening.

DIY Garden, Living wall, lattice

“But my balcony is so small!” you exclaim.

The SmallSpace Grardening Trend

Never fear– small space gardening is quite the fast-growing trend (pun intended!). You might be surprised how much you can grow when you see your possible plot going up a wall vertically, instead of taking up space on the ground. Just ask Lorenzo Cryer, a local horticulturist, certified chef, and garden design expert at Dig Dug Done, who helps clients feeling squeezed to get growing space they never knew they had.

DIY Garden, Living wall, lattice

Cryer’s clients achieve this with Sunbury Cedar trellising and planter boxes outside kitchen windows, balconies, corners, and outdoor walls that need sprucing up. The cedar trellis system is made up of locally sourced products including felt pockets for vertical growing.

DIY Garden, Living wall, lattice

Cryer’s keen ability to view the space, understand the customer’s needs, and visualise the finished product helps his clients grow food, herbs, and flowers. You can grow any soft plants up to the size of small shrubs vertically.

What You Can Grow

Herb panels like oregano, thyme, and trailing rosemary are popular among kitchen growers, and so are winter greens like arugula and coriander. One of Lorenzo’s clients installed a vertical panel of tomatoes in April, and when it fully filled out in July, it yielded almost eight kilos of fruit.

“But wait – how can you get such a strong crop from a small space, when plants can’t stretch out their roots and absorb nutrients far and deep into the ground?” you ask.

DIY Garden, Living wall, lattice

Cryer says the real secret to small space gardening is in the soil: his soil and organic mix include steer manure, cocoa fibre, and peat to help the pockets stay wetter longer.

“My theory is, what happens above ground is only 25% to 30% of the growing process. What you do with the soil is 70%,” Cryer says.

Installation and Maintenance

After the system is installed and the plants are in place, they only need adequate light, water, pruning, and seasonal maintenance (depending on whether the plants are perennial or annual). They don’t require feeding. A string of growing lights fixed to the trellis can help you keep your vertical garden growing all year ‘round if you desire.

“The only real issue unique to small space gardening is, where does the water go when you water the panels? Make sure that you’re not inflicting it on downstairs neighbors!” Cryer remarks.

One bonus of the cedar trellis system is that condo-dwellers need not worry about attaining permission from their strata council to make suite modifications that would affect the building. The sturdy cedar trellis stands perfectly on its own, without needing to be attached to the building. By trellising into planters and securing them properly, your vertical garden can go up and down easily without repairs if you sell your home.

But with your own little vertical garden of Eden at home, who says you’d ever want to move?

For more information, or to book an appointment, contact Lorenzo at Dig Dug Done at 604-880-8538.

Sunbury Cedar

How to Pick Quality Wood

How to Pick Quality Wood

  • decks
  • how to
  • lumber
  • pick
  • quality
  • wood

There tends to be a lot of confusion around the word “quality” and what that actually means when we talk about wood. To some its grain pattern, colour or the number of knots. To others, its the straightness or longevity of a board. Most of these definitions fit into categories that are known as grades, and some properties of wood are the same across the board. In this article, I’ll explain what properties affect quality, the difference between grades, and what you should look for when preparing for your next project.

Before we define quality, lets discuss the properties of cedar. All cedar is inherently long lasting.

Every grade of cedar perform well in wet conditions, and is resistant to decay and insect attack. Resistance is a property of the material, not the grade.

Colour is another quality that isn’t defined by grade. It varies, in some cases greatly, across grades.

With that out of the way, lets discuss the properties that do vary by grade. The most obvious is number and type of knots. In the lowest grades, knots can be loose, meaning they are likely to fall out. These grades are typically used for fencing applications. The next level up has mostly tight knots that are unlikely to fall out. It is normal for this grade to have lots of knots, and they number of knots don’t affect any other property of the material. The highest grade generally doesn’t contain knots, but may sometimes have a small knot on one side of the board. This is totally normal, and doesn’t affect the quality of the piece.

The grading process is one of the more time consuming, labour intensive processes in the lumber industry. Delta Cedar Sawmill, located across the street from Sunbury Cedar, does an excellent job of delivering quality lumber consistently. On top of that, our staff constantly re-grades lumber in our yard, so that our customers don’t have to pick through piles looking for a good piece. Re-grading also cuts down on the amount of lumber we throw out, which ultimately lowers our impact on the environment and keeps prices down.

Now that we have a better understanding of quality and grading, lets take a closer look at the different grades available at Sunbury Cedar, as well as the grading process. As you may know, there are 3 main grades of cedar that we sell at Sunbury: fencing, select tight knot (STK), and clear. Fencing is the lowest, cheapest grade, STK is in the middle and clear is the highest grade. The different grades are mainly determined by the number and quality of knots in any given board.


Shown here is a loose knot in a fencing board. These knots have a higher chance of falling out or crumbling.


This is an example of a tight knot found in STK. It is unlikely to fall out.


This is a clear board. The length of these boards are generally knot-free (and also not-free, remember to take your yard slip inside before leaving!) Note that there may be knots on only one side.


Finally, lets look at some defects that you should avoid and some that you can work with.



Particularly in a decking application, this is a very easy defect to work with, as the wood is fairly flexible in the direction of the bow. This means that it can easily be “ironed” out once it is nailed or screwed down.


This is a fencing 1×2, and you would be hard-pressed to dig through the pile shown in the photo and find a piece that wasn’t at least a little warped. When it comes to pieces this small, warping comes with the territory. Again, they can easily be straightened if they’re being nailed or screwed down.



This is a type of warping you should probably avoid, again mostly in decking, because it’s harder to “iron” out. It’s not as common as bowing, and we generally pull pieces like this to be re-graded.

Knot Clusters


This is (k)not a defect. The grouping of these knots do not make the piece more unacceptable to cracking, warping or decay. They only affect the appearance.

Cracking or Splitting


This is a 4×4 STK post. It is quite common for timbers of this size to show some cracks forming. This doesn’t mean that it will completely fall apart in 6 months. If you’re going to be cutting or nailing around these cracks, then you should avoid pieces like this. Otherwise, they’re perfectly normal.

Chain Stain


This can happen to any board, but mostly occurs with 1-by material (1×4, 1×6, 1×8 etc.). 1-by material is graded for the rough side, and chain stain will usually be found on the smooth side. It purely affects aesthetics.

To wrap up, we’ve discussed cedar grading, quality and some basic properties. We’ve also looked at some common defects, and why they may or may not affect the quality of the lumber. Hopefully this gives you the information you need to get started on your next project. If you still have questions once you’re in our yard, our knowledgeable staff will be happy to help you pick the best lumber to get the job done right.

Sunbury Cedar

DIY Railing Kits

DIY Railing Kits

  • Cedar Decks
  • Composite Decks
  • Deck
  • decks
  • DIY
  • Outdoor Living
  • Railing
  • Railing Kits
  • Railings
  • Trex

DIY Railings Made Easy

Do you want to add beautiful railings to frame your space? It can be easier than you think! If you want to focus on planning the perfect layout, and making it a reality in as little as an afternoon, consider a pre-cut railing kit. In this article, you’ll learn how to choose the right railing kit for your taste and budget, what you need, and tips for making your project a success.

Benefits of a railing kit

Whether you’re updating, renovating, or starting from scratch, a high-quality railing kit gives the interior or exterior of your property a consistent, beautiful look, and saves you all kinds of headaches in assembly.


An all-in-one kit of pre-cut materials like this one from BW Creative Railing’s saves you time measuring, cutting, and drilling.

Choosing your railing kit

“BW Creative’s premium kits are made of Western Red Cedar with no knots and a beautiful grade. We also offer a Western Pine, which is a green-treated product. It’s a bit of a knotti-er product, which will be seen, but it’s great for a budget piece, or if you’re trying to match an existing project.” – Scott Rolufs, Sales Manager at BW Creative

Costs and Savings

A railing kit from BW Creative Railings will cost anywhere from $17 to $100 per lineal foot. To save money, remember, in some cases you can get a kit to cover multiple sections of your project, so plan out your project carefully to make sure you’re not wasting material. You’ll also need to remember not to exceed certain lengths between posts, at least every 6 feet.

Skills and Tools You’ll Need

This project isn’t difficult if you are comfortable:

  • Taking accurate measurements,
  • Cutting the wood with a saw or power tool,
  • Drilling pilot holes, and
  • Fastening everything together to the deck (store assistants can show you how to do this right).

Make sure you have access to:

Installation Process

Before you start, make sure you know what the coding compliances are for your area. BW Creative has documentation of the stamping that’s available, which you can show an inspector or the city before you start a job, if needed.

Need help?

If you get stuck, need help or have a problem, don’t panic. Talk to the staff at the store: they’re knowledgeable about the product, and have a good grasp of deck building. You can also check the How-To video, and read through the instructions again – you’ll find pictures and diagrams throughout that will help you make sure you’re installing it correctly. If all else fails, you can call the BW Creative Sales Team.

Learn more

You can learn more about BW Creative Railings at

Somerset Cedar - 2
Sunbury Cedar

Treated Lumber in Your Garden: Is it safe?

Treated Lumber in Your Garden: Is it safe?

  • CCA
  • cedar
  • garden
  • gardening
  • lumber
  • pressure
  • PT
  • treated

With an ever-growing community of gardeners, we often get a question at Sunbury Cedar that goes something like this: can I use this pressure treated stuff for my garden bed? Is it safe? Will my family get sick?

It’s an important question, and one that I’ll answer in this article. We’ll first look at the history and processes involved with pressure treated lumber, the chemistry behind cedar and finally discuss the pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision.

So what is pressure treated (PT) lumber?


It’s exactly what it sounds like. Typically, mills take a cheaper stock that is prone to fungal decay and soak it in a chemical bath while applying pressure. This process forces the chemical into the wood, increasing the decay-resistance of the wood significantly.

In the past, a chemical known as chromated copper arsenic (CCA) was used in almost all PT lumber. Now one of those chemical names may jump out at you, namely arsenic. Yes, arsenic is poisonous to humans. Once the general public realized this, there was a movement to stop using the chemical altogether. The wood products industry voluntarily stopped using CCA in residential lumber in 2004, though it is still widely used for telephone poles and in other structural applications. It should be noted, that there are no confirmed cases of families or children becoming sick after being in contact with CCA lumber. The levels of arsenic in CCA lumber were such that you would have to consume a large amount of wood fibre to see an immediate adverse reaction. I do not in any way recommend this, but you get the point. Additionally, some researchers have proposed that plants would not survive long enough to uptake enough arsenic to affect long term human health.

Regardless, CCA lumber is not produced anymore, so we don’t have to worry about it. Since 2004, a variety of new treatments have been developed to preserve lumber. Although there is limited research on possible health side effects of these new treatments, most manufacturers provide extensive warnings regarding their use in gardens.

With all this said, I don’t want to scare anybody off the use of PT lumber. Modern pressure treated lumber is a safe, quality product when used correctly.

A more popular alternative to PT lumber in gardens is red or yellow cedar.


Red cedar contains an organic compound called Thujaplicin. Yellow cedar contains several extractives that contribute to its durability, chief among them being the compound Nootkatin. Both of these compounds exhibit anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that make cedar a naturally durable material. Yellow cedar is considered more durable, as it is significantly more dense and harder than red cedar. The natural extractives found in cedars provide them with excellent durability overall, allowing them to survive for well over 10 years when in contact with soil and moisture, and in some cases over 100 years. Keep in mind, however, that wood is a natural material, and because of this its properties are inherently variable. There is by no means a guarantee on how long a particular board will last in your garden.

To answer the questions, we started with: you probably shouldn’t use PT lumber in a garden that’s growing food for you or your family. If it’s a garden that was built before 2004, you should definitely replace the PT lumber, as it was likely treated with CCA. Even if it isn’t part of a food-producing garden bed, the arsenic in the treatment can affect water supplies. Don’t be afraid to use PT lumber in your backyard, but use natural products like red and yellow cedar for your vegetable gardens.

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