The Pacific Northwest, in all its wonder and glory, does in fact experience extreme weather - long periods of winter rain followed by arid sunny summers (shh, don't tell anyone about our amazing summers). These weather extremes are particularly challenging for waterproofing exposed wood, which has the potential to soak up water and rot. Then, when it dries out, it can shrink and crack. In order to prevent water from damaging exposed wood, Dovetail employs several strategies: best practices (what we like to call "the fundamentals of building"); expertise built through years of applied knowledge and experience; and the highest level of quality and craft.
The Challenge: Exposed wood subject to weather extremes - prolonged rain and sun. Repeat.
- Paint: these deck posts will be painted, the first step in waterproofing.
- Ensure water does not become trapped. Within the design, allow for shedding and drainage.
- Protect end grain: no exposed end grain. End grain that's exposed sucks up moisture and begins the rotting process.
- Joints: fully glue all joints, which protects end grain and minimizes water retention
- Minimize seams: when possible, build details out of one piece of wood
- Reinforce seams: dado (cut a trench in the wood) and glue up wood details to prevent water from creeping in between two pieces of wood
- Use exterior-rated plywood even in areas with minor moisture exposure.
- Fasteners: stainless steel fasteners are superior to galvanized
- Choose appropriate materials: clear Western Red Cedar, for example, is indigenous to the Pacific Northwest and thus acclimatized to Northwest weather. It's naturally resistant to rot, decay, and insect attacks.
- Sustainability: Cedar is a renewable resource, often harvested from some of the most sustainably managed forests in the world.
Architects and home owners: we'd love to hear about your experiences designing and living with exposed wood. How have your homes and projects held up?