Kiln Dried vs Air Dried vs Green
The Importance of Acclimation to the Micro Climate
Natural wood products are a great choice for exterior decking. And when you're considering using a naturally durable hardwood such as Ipe, Batu, Red Balau, Bangkirai, Yellow Balau, or Torem, understanding the importance of humidity, moisture content, and acclimation are critical to the success of your project.
What is Moisture Content?
Humidity and temperature combine to create an equilibrium moisture content in wood products. Moisture content itself is defined as the "weight of water divided by the weight of the 100% dry wood that remains after all water (moisture) has been removed".
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"I've been installing decks for over 20 years. I don't need to read your instructions." Red faced and fuming, Joe was really pissed off when I told him you can't install a hardwood deck 4 inches off the ground with no spacing between boards. I thought he was going to throw a punch, but he was really just massively embarrassed. A decent general contractor with lots of experience, he just "forgot" about the nuances of installing wood decking after years of installing PVC's and composites.
Tangential and Radial Shrinkage in Wood
Deck spacing between boards is absolutely critical when it comes to installing wood decking. Let's start with the quick technical background. With changes in moisture content, wood swells and shrinks in thickness and width only, not significantly in length. You can always butt your boards tight without worrying about them swelling or shrinking in length. When you look at the end of tree you see the concentric growth rings radially, from the center (or pith) out, the wood moves only half as much as it does tangentially to the growth rings. This difference between radial and tangential shrinkage is critical to understand and it varies significantly between the different species of wood.
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ExoDek QuickClips in the Treetop Trail: A Pathway to NatureNova USA Wood Products and PCL Construction at the Minnesota Zoo
In the fall of 2022, PCL Construction reached out to Nova USA Wood with interest in using the ExoDek QuickClips for a walking path around the Minnesota Zoo. Soon enough we found out this was not just any walking path, this was the iconic Treetop Trail: A Pathway to Nature that leads its pedestrians up in the trees and around the entirety of the outdoor parts of the Minnesota Zoo. The trail will be the world's longest elevated walking loop coming in at a mile and a and built on the steel frame of the decommissioned monorail.
The PCL Construction team knew they wanted to use a hidden fastener but were having trouble finding one that could meet their needs. The trail being built on the already existing monorail frame introduced the first issue they were facing: the substrate that was to be fastened into was anywhere from inch to thick steel. This required much larger screws than what would typically be used in a residential deck. Other hidden fasteners on the market were not equipped to take on a larger screw like this. After some back and forth troubleshooting between Nova & PCL Construction, PCL was able to send us samples of several screw options and the boards they planned on using. Nova's in-house engineer was able to test the proposed assembly and help them determine the best...
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A NECESSITY FOR COMBATING WILDFIRES & OTHER FIRE-RELATED INCIDENTS & ISSUES
Fire is a leading cause of property damage. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there's an average of 358,000 incidents annually and 7 deaths daily that can be linked to fires in the U.S.
Lightning, cooking, propane and fire pits are among the leading culprits that can turn single sparks into devastating catastrophes. As of September 1st, more than 48,000 wildfires torched more than 6 million acres to make 2022 the "most active wildfire season in more than 10 years."
As a result, resilience or the ability "to enhance a building, facility, or community to both prevent damage and to recover from damage"3 has become increasingly important to nearly every part of the country, particularly the communities commonly subjected to wildfires and related natural events. For example, the specification of outdoor decking has become an increased priority due to the fires which can be easily spread by the vegetation and other flammable debris that accumulate under decks. As a result, the specification of decking made from fire-rated and low-flammability materials has never been greater. This includes the growing use of materials that have earned the Class A Flame Spread rating awarded in accordance of the stringent ASTM E84 testing protocols.
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Adding the Final Touches to aMagnificent Dream Home in Terrebonne, Oregon
Living only hours away in Portland, Oregon, Terrebonne has always been the favored vacation destination of the Morans, who regularly enjoyed everything from rafting and skiing to fishing, while basking in the majestic beauty of the nearby Cascade Mountains.
"Terrebonne is a paradise for people who love the outdoors," said Tim Moran. "We couldn't wait to make the move and spend the rest of our lives enjoying all the local pleasures with friends and family."
Planning this next step for years, the Morans spent 18 months designing a new 3,000 sq. ft, home, which was specifically engineered to provide year-round warmth and comfort with temperatures that can hit 100-plus degrees in the summer and sub-zero in the winter. This included the build of a "big gathering place" containing a "giant" great room, three bedroom suites, vaulted ceilings, a floor to ceiling fireplace and wrap-around Bangkirai, Yellow Balau deck.
"We wanted the decking to accent our new home's luxurious, rustic farmhouse look and feel," explained Moran. "The stunning blend of golden-brown, purplish-brown and red undertones blended seamlessly with the brown shake dormers, white farmhouse batten boards and cedar garage doors to create a striking exterior admired by everyone who visits."
Supplied by Nova USA Wood Products in Forest Grove, Oregon and produced primarily in Malaysia, Indonesia, Yellow Balau, which is also referred to as B...
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Why We Chose Glass Filled Nylon 6/6
In our last article we discussed many of the great physical attributes of the ExoDek QuickClip. One question you may still be asking yourself is: "What is it made of?" Nova has the answers and wants to make sure you understand what the material is and why it is the right choice for hidden fasteners used in decking installations.
What in the World is Glass Filled Nylon 6/6?
Let's get down to some of the nitty-gritty details. Polyamide 6/6 (PA 66), also known as Nylon 6/6, is a thermoplastic that can be used for many different applications. These applications can include, gun stocks, tennis strings, and even car parts.
Pure Nylon 6/6, without glass fill, has excellent mechanical performance qualities such as high toughness (balance of high strength and high ductility), high resistance to abrasion, high resistance to fatigue, and high impact resistance. When glass fill is added, which is essentially extremely fine glass powder, the material only gets better. It increases performance in terms of stiffness and strength as well as increases heat resistance and chemical resistance.
How Does Nylon 6/6 Perform Outside?
When you hear about a plastic materi...
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The Launch of Nova's Newest Innovative Technology
When it comes to hidden fasteners for hardwood decking, there is a prominent hole in the market that Nova USA Wood has filled. The ExoDek QuickClip is Nova's newest patented technology that is designed to work perfectly alongside hardwood and its unique properties.
As we've learned, there's no way to prevent your deck boards from reacting to the environmental moisture and expanding and contracting. With that being said, it means you have to work with the expansion - not against it, while maintaining your decks overall integrity. Nova USA Wood has done just that.
Installation Efficiency = Longer Lasting Deck Boards
The ExoDek QuickClip is designed for grooved hardwood decking to be fastened with a single screw. The clips wings firmly grab onto deck board between the grooves to keep the board in place. The deck boards do not have to be drilled through with this design, as the screw is instead driven through the top through the guide hole and secured into the deck frame joist.                                                                       ...
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Truly Beautiful Hardwood Decking
Hardwood is one of the most versatile materials available and used for many applications where both resilience and beauty are desired. One of the most widely used and appreciated applications is hardwood decking. When it comes to decking, truly nothing compares to the feeling of stepping out on a real hardwood deck. It's warm, it's rich in color, it's truly stunning and its more environmentally friendly than any other "alternative" options out there.
Stop Trying To Flatter Me, You Ugly Composite Deck
Many people have unsuccessfully tried to mimic the look and feeling of hardwood with plastics and composites, but to no avail. The truth is, nature continues to do it best. You know how they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? In this case, the attempt at imitation is just insulting.
Yes, Hardwood Deck Boards Do Expand And Shrink
Since hardwood is a natural and organic material, it comes with some unique qualities that you must work with not against. One of these qualities is hardwood's physical reactions to the amount of moisture in its environment. As moisture in the environment increases, hardwood expands tangentially to the ring growth, and conversely, as environmental moisture decreases, the hardwood shrinks tangentially to ring growth. A typical deck board can expand up to 1/4" across its width. Expansion in the other directions (radial and longitudinal) are mostly negligible to that of its width.
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