View Full Version : Red Cedar for decking?

03-13-2009, 12:22 PM
It's available and the local milwright will cut the strips to appropriate size. These are large logs where I can be picky about just using heartwood. I can't afford Teak even if it was available. What are your thoughts on a straight planked, 1/4 inch thick deck glued down with epoxy over glassed plywood inner deck. Red western aromatic Cedar is pretty, maybe brittle, but if glued down with no screws, I'm thinking it would be OK. I'm not ready for the decking yet, but must plan ahead.

Bob Smalser
03-13-2009, 12:35 PM
I think you can use your local Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) in a deck any way you want to use it, including in a traditional laid deck. It would be same weight as a Doug Fir deck but significantly harder.

At 12% MC it has a Side Hardness of 900lbs while teak is only 1000. That's an average of hundreds of samples tested by the USDA. I suspect your local cedars grown along side mesquite in poor soils and dry conditions will be especially hard.


03-13-2009, 01:13 PM
Western Red is very soft. What boat design if I may ask?

03-13-2009, 01:14 PM
Thanks Bob, I really do not know if it's Western or Eastern red cedar, they are gorgeous logs, will get a pic soon as I reclaim my digital camera from doughter. But regardless, RodB has posted a great thread on building Susan where he photo-documents a straight laid Teck deck over glassed plywood, without screws. It's a fine technique.

Bob Smalser
03-13-2009, 01:45 PM
First, lets get straight what wood we're talking about.

Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) is too soft, but doesn't grow in Texas, wouldn't be found in log form in Texas, and isn't especially aromatic or brittle as you describe.

Your local cedar (below) is Juniperus virginiana, which is dark red, very aromatic, and relatively hard, stiff and heavy. It'll make a fine deck if you can get the lengths required without knots that are too large.



03-13-2009, 02:43 PM
You stole my logs!!! That's it. thems the logs I'm talking about. I almost feel like a thief, He's stored them in his barn for a good while, and now times are tough, and a little extra cash is all he wants.

03-13-2009, 03:14 PM
I built a coffee table out of J. virginiana many years ago and it has held up pretty well. Getting long strips without knots might be a challenge.

03-13-2009, 07:13 PM
Could you rip an outside cut and bear it away for testing? That is, try dropping tools on it and whacking it with a plastic hammer, etc.

The junipers hereabouts have their uses (rot-resistant fenceposts, knees and brackets) but don't grow in a way that produces nice clear lengths, i.e. decking. I wouldn't think you'd want any knots if you could avoid them.

03-13-2009, 07:42 PM
I have done something very similar, using the cheap tongue and groove #4 grade pine (5/16x3.5") that come 8' x6 pieces to a bundle... ripped the tounge and grove off and epoxied them to the existing painted plywood -fibreglass covered deck. I then stained the deck (reddish) and filled the grooves with epoxy latex paint dark, then epoxied over the whole thing two coats before Cetol x3 ... will try to post pics of the result later... no idea how this will stand up in the summer sun coming up...


What are your thoughts on a straight planked, 1/4 inch thick deck glued down with epoxy over glassed plywood inner deck. Red western aromatic Cedar is pretty, maybe brittle, but if glued down with no screws, I'm thinking it would be OK.

Found some more pics on this... perhaps worth noting that I am doing this boat on the cheap - i.e. no money... pic below is of the staining... prior to any epoxy.


Strips of wood were glued down with thickened epoxy, and held in place with small finishing nails... they pretty well disapeared from view with all the gook I slapped on by the time I was done...

Below is the seaming where initially I had poured brown latex paint into the groves, this pretty well was a waste of time since the latex paint kept shrinking back as it dried. Note that there is already one coat of epoxy on the wood after staining, so as to keep the latex paint from staining the wood more.

I followed up the paint with acrylic latex caulk (brown), yes, the cheap stuff... used lots of tubes, and could not afford the high-end proper seaming compound... and felt that since I was epoxying over the whole thing with three coats of epoxy and three coats of Cetol... maybe should work ok.

Below is the mostly completed deck. I will not be posting pics two years from now after a couple of seasons in the sun/heat lol am quite curious though how this will stand up to the weather abuse of Northern Ontario.


Note the knots in the Cedar trim along the bow... I culled the worst of the knotty pine in the deck boards. Still, if nothing else, it looks proud, and was cheap in materials (<$100) but not cheap on my labour lol


03-17-2009, 01:33 PM
Hi... this is what the foredeck looked like originally fwiw...


03-17-2009, 05:16 PM
Has anyone seen a deck done in cork?

Thad Van Gilder
03-18-2009, 07:16 AM
yes, it was some sort of sheet product. the cork was glued to the deck.


03-18-2009, 01:24 PM
What I have read, is that pine was a standard decking material prior to the age of being "chic"with Teak. Your're project does'nt look cheap to me. Looks dam good. Epoxy -cabosil and a graphite stain, darkening agent is also relatively inexpensive. Please post in a couple of years , let's see how it holds up.