Sunday, October 28, 2007

Red Cedar vs White Cedar

Is it a White Cedar fence? Or is it Red Cedar?

Northeastern United States and Central and Eastern Canada has locally grown Cedar, Eastern White Cedar or Northern White Cedar—but the real “Western Red Cedar” is a very different material for a couple of different reasons.

Long lasting outdoor materials grow in a rainforest climate. When a species adapts to deal with excess moisture in the environment it makes it longer lasting in dry climates. Take red cedar or Douglas fir to Ontario or Michigan and it will last 20-30 years depending on the detailing.

The “White Cedar” that grows locally here has a very similar appearance however it is a much smaller tree. The larger the tree, the more stable the grain and the more high quality material is hewn from it. “Old Growth Red Cedar” is often a few feet in diameter. “White Cedar” can get up to about 15” in diameter. “Second Growth Red Cedar” is normally harvested at 15-25” which means that even farmed red cedar will be superior material. It will crack less and twist less if the material is straight grained.

Many builders are selling cedar fences for $25-40 per running foot all over the northwest. This is “Eastern White Cedar”. An eastern white cedar can be expected to last 5-10 years.

When materials have to be trucked 1500+ miles and go through a Distributor, Broker and Lumber Retailer before your contractor sees it you are looking at about $30+ for materials to build a basic red cedar fence which means that depending on design you are looking at considerably more than $25.00 per running foot.
Photos: Top is Juvenile Eastern White Cedar Bottom is Western Red Cedar
White cedar is a yellowy beige in colour, Red Cedar is more of a red colour. Aside from that, the face grain is very similar so looking at the end grains is the best way to identify--the white cedar will normally have the core of the tree in nearly every piece of lumber. Red Cedar may have the core of the tree in about 10% unless it is of an extremely low grade.

Sometimes a Cedar Fence is not a cedar fence. Sometimes folks that believe they are getting a steal—are not getting exactly what they expect.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Incredible Growing Fences

Why do fence posts lift? Here’s an illustration.

Too much concrete… if the concrete is at the top of the hole, it is shaped in a perfect way for frost to lift it out of the ground at a rate of nearly an inch per year in some cases.

Realistically it doesn’t matter whether the concrete is in the ground 32” or 42”, when you dig a hole the top of the hole is normally larger. Frost sets in from ground level downwards and moisture expands as it freezes—therefore the ground rises.

Are you ready for the irony? Yes... this fence is surrounding a Municipal Services Yard -- in a township north of Toronto. Municipal services take care of things like fence repairs etc.
If anyone should know better--It is them.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Questions about Starting a Fence Business.

I received an email this morning...
Hello, my name is Samantha and I live in Oklahoma City. I found your
website on google under starting a fence business. I was hoping you could give
me some advise on starting a fence business? My husband is Michael and
has been in the fence business for over 10years, and wants to get started on his
own. He does amazing work and I am trying to find out all I can to help him.

Thanks So Much
Samantha (last name filtered)

"The above photo is of a recent creation designed by David Boyle--Our Toronto Small Job Specialist."
Like any business, feasibility is king, so this advice would fit for nearly any business.

Hi Samantha,

Advice for new fence business...

Put away some cushion money to hedge against unforseen factors.

Having 2 people working takes the stress away during the first few months...

Take basic sales training course, (most of it is hype--but there are a few basic sales principles that will serve you well to learn).

Create a business plan and have it critiqued by your banker and or friends in business. Listen to what they say.

Don't fall in love with an objective.

Go and work for your top 3 competitors...even if you work for a low wage in the beginning--even if only for a week or two.

Analyze your competition before pulling the trigger. What will be your advantage over them... why will you prevail? You need good answers to thrive in business.

We have set up the "Builder Group" to help folks like you just starting out. It helps you with everything from sales, product line, marketing and even makes your phone ring.

Give me a call if you would like more info!

Hope this helps--


(Lawrence can be reached at 888 293 8938)