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Sticks and Stones

With changing technology, some old methods are lost

Cody Reid author

in the shuffle. Although I'm one of the first ones to adapt a new method that saves time or money, I also firmly believe in staying true to methods that work well. New building products usually "take a bit of getting used to", when initially introduced.

Expansion and contraction play a large role in the installation methods we choose as contractors. With new vinyl based materials entering the market at an increased rate, we must learn from the past. We all remember the introduction of vinyl siding... Initially vinyl siding was plagued with loose, missing, or buckled pieces. It was shunned in most neighborhoods, because of these inaccurate applications. However if you look around today you will see subdivision, after subdivision, blanketed in its predictably lapped armor. Though the product is the same, the installation has adapted over time to accommodate its unique physical properties.

Large logs in a stack

Sticks...Wood has always had its own set of physical characteristics. The early craftsman acquired a vast amount of knowledge about how to use this building material to its highest potential. Old barns hold one of the keys to this methodology. The boards, that a new generation covet for their patina, have stood the test of time. Installed by their great or grandfathers many years ago. Whereas the fence put up at the end of the culdesac is falling apart after one year. Of course kiln-drying has changed the way the boards we work with today react to our tooling processes. That however does not excuse us from exerting due diligence during the installation process.

Stones... I have seen too many times where a contractor has installed two screws or nails inline through a board right next to each other...

board and batton

My daughter would call this "cringe-worthy". Fasteners inline tend to trap the fibers of the board denying the movement that enabled those old planks to last. If you take a moment to examine an old structure you will find that those boards were never treated in this manner. One of these methods was to use only one fastener per board. Another is pictured to the right.

Till next time...

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