redwood trees

It’s getting easier, but there’s still a fair amount of education consumers gladly undertake in their efforts to buy green – conserve natural resources, reduce their carbon footprints and live sustainably where possible.  Distilling facts from confusion is sometimes a long process and, depending on the sources available, may not do the job very well.

Take, for example, redwood. In my own experience with this product, I’ve heard tales taller than the highest Sequoia sempervirens. As redwood sales are growing, it’s good for homeowners to take another look at the building material and perhaps to disabuse themselves of some falsehoods. Here are the top four redwood facts that may surprise some:

1. Redwood lumber is readily available

redwood porchThough some have heard that redwood is difficult to find, redwood sales are strong and the forests themselves have never been larger. Some of the confusion comes from the fact that old-growth redwood is protected in perpetuity on 100,000 acres. That’s a great thing. At the same time, today’s commercial redwood is smaller and younger and is grown on private commercial forests.  These forestlands are managed in accordance with the California Forest Practices Act, recognized as the most stringent and comprehensive timber management regulations in North America. All CRA Member redwood forests are FSC certified, meaning there will be plentiful forestlands to sustain the native wildlife and provide lumber, clean air and water for generations to come.

2. Redwood is reasonably priced

Reports of redwood being expensive are false. It’s simply not. In the mid-range of materials, it’s far less expensive than options such as composite lumber, high-end plastic or exotic wood like Ipe. Here is a quick look at the estimated price for a complete deck per square foot:

  • Pressure-treated wood: $15-$25
  • Cedar: $24-$45
  • Composite: $32-$45
  • Redwood: $30
  • Top-end plastic: $48
  • Ipe: $55

3. Redwood is perhaps the most sustainable building material

redwood porch

There is a myth that man-made material is eco-friendly, but the manufacturing process for plastic and composite decking materials rely on chemical resins and fossil fuels that release carbon and increase emissions. Redwood trees, however, take carbon out of the air and store it in wood fiber. The main energy source for the growth of redwood is the sun.  In fact redwood forests are amazing solar powered lumber factories.  Lumber keeps that carbon safely out of the atmosphere and helps reduce emissions. A redwood deck can store more than a half-ton of carbon, giving you a carbon footprint you can stand on.

4. Redwood is fire-resistant and is long lasting

It surprises some because it’s wood, but redwood lumber resists fire, and it doesn’t need any chemical additives to protect it from fire, decay, or pests. The natural tannins that give red­wood its distinctive color also give it a natural resistance to insects, decay and fire. In fact, with drought conditions so prevalent in the Western U.S., this has been a key driver of redwood interest among those in the know. In fact, redwood is part of the reason that the San Francisco fire of 1906 came to an end.

Redwood lumber offers consumers the looks and longevity they’re looking for without sacrificing their green aesthete: renewable, recyclable, and cleaner to produce than its engineered “alternatives.” Take the next step, learn more about this natural wonder.

This article was written by Charlie Jourdain. Charlie is president of the California Redwood Association, one of the oldest trade associations.

Feature image courtesy of wolf4max

By Earth911

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