Info Packed Webinars

Eradicating failure to promote success in making educated decisions about natural wood specification.

"I learned a lot about avoiding typical problems that can prove incredibly costly and ruin the material."

C. Arbelaez

"Chris Buffalo gave excellent information on wood siding, stain options, costs, and various design pitfalls that architects can fall into."

D. Sullivan

"Great presentation. Makes it much easier to advise our clients who want real wood on the exterior. Information is king in this case."

D. Stark

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AIA Continuing Ed

Course Certification

Webinar Host

chris buffalo
Chris Buffalo
Architect Education Consultant

Introduction

Buffalo Lumber’s Truth Webinars are a completely different approach to education.

Eradicating failure to promote success means approaching wood care and use from a “this is what you need to watch out for” point of view and not “wood is the greatest thing ever” perspective.

Exterior Wood Performance Considerations Webinar

exterior cedar siding webinar

Note: this is an AIA/CEU offering 1 learning unit and counts as “Health Safety & Welfare” HSW Credit.

Exterior Wood Performance Considerations is a foundational course where we cover the basics of what you should be considering at the design stage. An amalgamation of thousands of architect consultations it explores multi-thousand-dollar impact decisions that do not always get considered at the design stage. We show you where the design itself can pose challenges to long term performance of natural wood and how to account for it. We examine failures to show you why you need to do things in a certain way.

Exterior Wood Stain Considerations Webinar

bevel wood cedar siding

Note: this is an AIA/CEU offering 1 learning unit and counts as “Health Safety & Welfare” HSW Credit.

Exterior Wood Stain Considerations is an in-depth look at how the stain manufacturing industry has changed since the 2012 VOC Law change. We go directly at how this law (and the manufacturers' reaction to it) have created challenges that many people simply don’t know about until its too late. We explore why there have been so many failures since 2012 and present strategies to address these issues. This webinar talks about the $100,000 difference in maintenance costs over 10 years depending on the decisions you make at the design stage. We expose challenges on the manufacturing end so that you can navigate the ever-evolving landscape of long-term wood care.

Webinar Testimonials

Great presenter - passionate and knowledgeable.

Anthony Y.

Webinar Testimonials

Very nice presentation. Enjoyed the upfront personal experience dialog of the presenter as opposed to someone that just reads the text from a slide.

Robert W.

Webinar Testimonials

Excellent information on what to consider when using natural wood siding, especially the water based stain issue.

Christine R.

Webinar Testimonials

Great presentation. Makes it much easier to advise our clients who want real wood on the exterior. Information is king in this case.

Donald S.

Webinar Testimonials

Chris Buffalo gave excellent information on wood siding, stain options, costs, and various design pitfalls that architects can fall into.

Daniel S.

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FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

In our installation Videos, the stages we had were:

  1. Prepping for Stain
  2. Stacking and Sorting “Stacklimation”
  3. Wall Preparation/Gap Technology
  4. Vertical Installation Mistake (this applies to vertical wall prep)
  5. Level and Plumb
  6. Hand Nailing vs Gun Nailing
  7. Setting up a saw station
  8. Planning for expansion and contraction
  9. Cutting and sealing

I may not have listed these in the exact order. They are on our Youtube channel.

Our builders and wood lovers will typically use 1x cedar trim to wrap windows etc. I may not understand the question correctly, we do have a 4×8 Mock Cedar panel product, and have wrapped large beams with 1x cedar to make it match (rather than paying for HUGE cedar beam). Hope this helps.

Cedar Breather can be used instead of furring strips, if it allows air and water to flow behind the wood. You want drainage and drying from any product you choose. We like Benjamin Opdyke’s Home-Slicker Line of products for our wood!

Mildew can grow on some oil-based stains due to pigment particles in the finish not being big enough to protect mildewcide in the product. This problem has worsened since 2012. Cleaning Mildew is reasonably simple, we use Oxygen Bleach, wash and rinse. This process will clean mildew, if done carefully it should not streak. Your best bet is to try a small amount of Oxygen Bleach on a low visibility area of the house before committing.

Carpenter Bees have to be addressed at their visible sites as they appear and in preventative measure. At the site they have products that in essence plug the holes and treat the surrounding wood. The preventative measure is a product called “Bug Juice” you can add to your stain at re-finish time to keep them under control.
Annual inspections and addressing problem sites will keep them from ruining the siding.

Transparent stain has little to no pigment in it, to answer your question correctly, rough texture would double the life of moisture protection in a transparent stain (from 1-2yrs to 2-4yrs); However, the lack of pigment would allow the wood to turn grey at the 1-2 year mark.
Rough texture will double the life span of transparent, semi-transparent and semi-solid stains. Once you get to solid stain you are talking about paint.
Rough texture does not improve the life span of opaque film forming finishes (IE opaque stain or paint)

If wood siding is finished on the backside (stained or primed) you can install directly to the house wrap; However, it is still best to leave space back there for air and water to flow, consider using a mesh wrap or cedar breather wrap instead.

I recommend Seal Once as initial protection because it lasts quite a while. The thing to remember about letting the wood age naturally is that it won’t age evenly around the house. The sun will hit some areas more and those will turn grey faster and will tend to have a lighter hue than some other areas of the home. Over time the grey will even out but keep an eye on north wall for mold/mildew and address any as soon as you see it. In addition to sealing I recommend coastal customers do the Bi-annual cleaning and spot clean any dark spots with Oxygen Bleach as soon as they are noticed.

First, I would only specify cedar for exterior especially if you want to leave it untreated. The short answer is that you can specify cedar untreated, but I don’t think it’s a good idea. Currently I recommend at least a clear coat to protect against moisture. The best performance reputation I have seen is “Seal Once”. It’s a clear that is supposed to last up to 10 years. If you specify the space behind the wall (watch performance webinar) and start with Seal Once the owners should be able to spot clean and let the wood weather naturally for the rest of its life. We used to use a bleaching oil to help the greying process even out, but Cabot’s changed to bleaching stain and, in my opinion, it sucks. I am still working to find a bleaching product I can feel good about recommending.

If you are asking about the film that can build over a few coats of semi-transparent stains, than the best thing to do is use an oil-based penetrating finish (like Timber Ox). As the oil passes through the wood, it leaves little to no residue on the board. A simple cleanup with Oxygen Bleach and conditioning with Oxalic Acid should remove any residual stain
Contrast this with some film forming semi-transparent stains which are basically a very thin paint. If this is the product used, you will need chemical strippers to remove every molecule of the existing finish. This may be what you are experiencing with today’s stains.

The stick sidings (Bevel, T&G, Shiplap) are all the same. We can run them though the machine and rack dry in same fashion. Shingles are different in that we have to either dip them or use a special machine that can do all sides before they are installed. Shingles are going to be more expensive to finish at factory level but its worth the extra cost for comprehensive protection.

A semi-solid is getting into a film forming finish which operates more like a paint. If its been working for you there is probably no reason to change at this point. If you are unhappy with it, you will have to use a wood stripper to clean a semi-solid stain from your home. At 25 years old, I don’t think its necessary unless you are extremely unhappy with the current situation. To answer your question the best Semi-transparent finish is Timber Ox. Semi-Solid stains are not as standalone in my opinion because they all form a film, so they perform pretty much the same.

Concentrated Oxygen Bleach and water is the best way to spot clean. Take a rag and dab the spot first with your solution.
Let it sit for about 10 minutes and rinse it. The bleach will keep working after you apply it so its important to let it sit at least 10 minutes so it can do its work. The bleach should not change the color of wood around it unless there is dirt and debris on the rest of the wall. If this is the case it is a good idea to clean the entire wall with a light wash and concentrate on dark areas during the process.

The problem with wood is nuance. Power washing in and of itself is a great way to clean wood. The problem is when the inexperienced hear that they don’t hear “keep the pressure down and keep the spray wide and keep the nozzle far enough away from the surface to avoid damaging the wood fiber.
They turn the pressure up like washing a car, hold the nozzle too close and blast the surface of the wood. The water pressure dissolves the outer wood fiber unevenly and creates a situation where you can’t finish the wood and it looks awful. 99% of the time we can fix whatever problem you have with cleanup. When someone pressure washes too close your only choice is replacement. I make such a big deal out of it because it happens too frequently and costs a ton.

The only engineered product we currently deal with is finger joint. If you are talking about laminates or different substrates entirely it’s a different conversation. Finger joint is natural wood cut into smaller pieces and glued together to create a natural wood product for painting. The joinery process has advanced to make this a viable product. 

Laminate cedar products are not proven in my opinion though they are getting better. A 1/8 inch veneer of cedar will shrink and swell in wet and dry seasons and the challenge has been to find a backing product with the same ratio of size change. Last I heard they were trying to glue knotty cedar behind clear cedar. In my opinion, its too early for us to commit but it sounds promising. In a year or two we will take another look.

I went around the horn with IPE a few years back. I answered this on the call, but I want to expand it here for future enthusiasts. IPE is such a dense wood that it doesn’t like to take a finish. I called one manufacturer who said, “sure it will take a finish” and another who said, “it’s a crapshoot as to whether it takes or not”. Best I can tell you is that the guys who finish it are oiling it up every 6 months. The rest of the people don’t do anything to it. It would be case by case, if you are going to stain it, stain all sides but check to see how its taking the stain first. I know I am being contradictory but that is where I ended up when I did this research. If I were going to use IPE, I would leave it alone to weather naturally.

It depends on the aesthetic you are going for. If you want to retain the brown and amber hues of natural wood, you will need a pigmented stain and you will need to re-finish to keep it those colors. If this is the case Timber Ox is the best stain because true oil cleans up with the least harmful chemicals (oxygen bleach and oxalic acid). Maintenance schedule will vary based on smooth rough etc. and coastal weather can increase maintenance needed to keep coloration. 1-2 years smooth and 3-5 years rough is reasonable expectation.

If you want to let the wood turn grey over time, I am currently recommending Seal Once as the initial finish. From there you can decide to keep a finish on it or let it weather naturally. In the open joint cladding case study, I advised them to leave it unfinished and use the oxygen bleach to spot clean any dark areas that appear (which are mildew related most of the time). Seal Once has a 10-year reputation so a weathered natural look, done properly, can be minimal maintenance. Once every few years it is still a good idea to clean the entire home with light oxygen bleach wash and rinse thoroughly.

First you will have to make sure to remove all of the existing stain. If this involves using a wood stripper have a pro do it. The best finishes on the market in my opinion are Timber Ox if you want a semi-transparent color and Seal Once for a clear. Once the opacity reaches semi-solid the playing field levels out because they are all film forming finishes and perform similarly.

Absolutely. Factory machines can coat 4 sides in one pass and have racks to dry the wood. Sealing properly means sealing all six sides which makes drying in the field a tremendous challenge. Proper field finishing can be achieved and there are experienced builders who won’t do it any other way, but I feel factory finish is a better recommendation.

To be honest I don’t have much experience with Mahogany, most of my expertise lies in exterior wood siding and we did not see a lot of Mahogany used for siding. They use it on a lot of doors, but I am not sure about performance in direct exposure.

I don’t have any good closeup comparisons in my presentation where rough and smooth are right next to each other.
We do have some rough texture next to smooth texture pictures on our discount cedar page at Buffalo Lumber.
https://www.buffalo-lumber.com/cedar-siding-price/
(From Web Page)
This product is discounted because of flaws, the customer was using both smooth and rough together on an interior wall to maximize his coverage.

Obviously, we have to make final decisions with samples in hand.
I want you to inform your clients of the potential maintenance cost difference of the “over 40-back 10 feet” rule and see if rough is more tolerable.

I remember 2 hurricane area consultations specifically; in both cases we advised a tongue and groove pattern with an extra face nail. You have to check local requirements to make sure but T&G + face nail is the most purchase we can achieve. It shouldn’t come off unless the entire wall comes with it.

I just don’t know enough about plywood to give an educated answer on this. Linseed oil can be used on our products, but we are recommending more pigment and moisture protection than linseed oil alone can provide in most cases.

There are no code changes pending towards 18 inches that I am aware of. It’s a case by case decision with many variables. 18 inches is the highest we have seen water bounce up and damage a wall. Southern exposures with high amounts of rainfall and wind require 18 inches. The same house’ northern exposure may be more than adequate at 8 inches.
Our focus was on stained wood in this presentation, painted woods add a level of protection that may allow for 8-inch clearance to be adequate. I prefer wood to be higher than 8 inches off of any potential splash-back situation. I recommend minimum 12 inches for painted wood clearance on Southern Exposures.

I would say “Seal Once” is a breakthrough treatment. It can protect wood from moisture for up to 10 years. Their pigments begin to wear out at the 5-year mark. If you want the warm brown and amber tones the pigment will need to be refreshed every 5 years, but it will be safe from moisture.
If you want the natural greying look, the Seal Once will protect it for up to 10 years.
The main benefit of the factory finish is our ability to get the sides and the back finished and rack it to dry. You do not need the factory to use an expensive stain for this benefit.
Once that back seal has been achieved at the factory it is in the owners best interest to upgrade the finish on the exposed face of the board to suit their needs as soon as the wood shows signs of needing maintenance.

Oxygen Bleach and Oxalic Acid are both sold in Canada. Stain Solver is our favorite Brand of Oxygen Bleach, Oxalic Acid is basically the same no matter where you buy it. Canada is affected by the VOC law change because most factory finishers are in the US, with the Tariff, the one finisher we had in Canada moved their entire factory finish operation over the US to deal with the cost increases. 

Most of our manufacturers are in the US so I don’t know the entire scope of Canadian born, Canadian delivered manufacturers, when we send to Canada it has to go through US first. It can get confusing. The best advice is to call manufacturer and make sure the cleanup involved with whatever stain you choose matches the priorities of your customer.

In this case we are seeing a flat sawn view. In a quarter sawn or vertical grain view, the lines in the board denote annual grain rings and you can delineate the age of the tree. In a flat sawn view, we are looking at the grain from a different angle of the cut. The grain you see would not delineate age of the tree as much as how they cut that board vs a quarter sawn angle.

I have never seen it cause an issue. The water that gets trapped on that small shelf has plenty of time to dissipate through evaporation. We see most moisture related issues when the water has no place to go and conditions that do not allow for evaporation such as behind the siding etc.

It does lessen the need. Back sealing was invented to protect wood pressed directly against house wrap. I still like to see at least a bump wrap behind wood. This would allow excess moisture to drain behind the wood. Bump wrap does not guarantee drying but is cheaper than rain screen roll and better than flat wood against house wrap combinations. This should satisfy push back and give some protection (in addition to back sealing).

Rough face can be specified as “Sawn Textured, Rough Face use” vs Smooth Face specified as “Surfaced, Smooth Face Use”. We leave the word “texture” out of the smooth face specification to prevent mistakes at the mill level.

We like Timber Ox Green best of all. Penofin, Sikkens and Defy I think have made the most progress in formulations as far as the larger brands.

Timber Ox Green, Penofin, Sikkens, and Defy in that order are my favorite brands.

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