Is it straight?
Does it check / twist / warp / self destruct like ACQ?
Does it stain and take paint well?
Is it structurally equal to pressure treated?
Is it pretty to look at?
Is there any certification to it?
Is it from a sustainable yeild situation
Where would this be available?
Where can I but it?
Has any of this been used over here in the states?
What are options for handrails?
What finishing and sealing requirements are needed?
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Yes, it is straight. Our supplier is a company in Austria
by the name of Leitinger. Leitinger over the years has
always made significant commitments in improving their
processes in milling wood. They continually are investing
in new technology that allows them to provide better,
more consistent products. This material is being produced
in a country where wood working has been a tradition
for 100s of years. They take it seriously and do amazing
work. These products are not coming from China! If this
product was being produced by a company in Russia, you
could definitely expect more variations in the boards.
Russia tends to be well behind modern times when it comes
to their technology and processes. We have been overly
impressed with Leitinger and the attention to detail
they use when it comes to drying the wood and producing
a straight, uniform, consistent board.
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Just as any specie of wood does, Siberian Larch will
experience some movement. Expansion and contraction with
changes in moisture levels occurs in any natural wood.
You may experience some slight surface checking which
is to be expected in all natural woods. With regards
to the degree of movement, Siberian Larch will perform
very well and is considered to be a stable wood. The
density of a wood has a lot to do with whether or not
water can penetrate its surface. The denser the wood,
the less movement that will occur. On average, Siberian
Larch has a density of 41 lbs/ft3. Treated pine is 35,
Redwood is 25, and western red cedar is 23. Siberian
Larch has a reputation of being a very difficult wood
to dry. The drying process must be slowed down significantly
and done at a very meticulous pace in order to prevent
checking and other defects. The same properties of Siberian
Larch (high density, high share of latewood and heartwood,
large concentration of resins and extractives) that make
it difficult to extract moisture during drying are the
same properties that prevent moisture from penetrating
the wood when used as decking. When treated pine is injected
with chemicals, the chemicals tend to break down the
material and make it brittle. Siberian Larch is not treated
with chemicals, it is naturally durable, so no it will
not self-destruct like treated pine.
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First, we do not recommend the painting of larch. Paint
is not flexible and will eventually fail if used. If
you do paint, it will not fail as quickly as it would
with the other woods that experience more expansion and
contraction. Paint is like a layer of "skin" and
for a period of time will protect a wood. These days
the cedar, pine, and particularly redwood you can get
are of lesser quality. All the old growth redwood is
protected and what is being used now for decking contains
much more sapwood. These woods are just not as durable
as they have been in the past. For this reason, people
must paint their decks in order to protect them. Larch
does not need that layer of protection in order for it
to survive the outdoor elements. Painting is not necessary
with larch. If you want to change the appearance, we
suggest staining the wood. Siberian Larch takes a stain
very well and with its grain features it can be amazingly
beautiful when stained.
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The structural properties of Siberian Larch are far superior
to treated pine and really are better than any softwood
out there. Siberian Larch is the hardest softwood around.
On the Janka scale, it has an average hardness of 1100
lbs/in2. For comparison cedar is 350-580, redwood is
480, treated pine is 690-870, and Ipe is 3680. Our larch
is old growth wood with a very dense grain and growth
rings. It is not like plantation grown pine that is being
timbered after a few years of growth. The structural
integrity of the wood is definitely there.
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It is a very attractive wood. What is most appealing
is its grain features. The grain is very tight giving
it a distinguished and classy look. The color is a light,
golden brown. Another aesthetic feature of larch is that
it does have some knots and character marks.
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In Europe there are several certifications on the use
of Siberian Larch. Architects in Finland, Sweden, Norway,
Austria, ect are specifying the use of Siberian Larch
in the construction of schools, commercial space, and
residential homes. In order for a wood to be specified
in these particular countries, it must contain all
the required certifications just like the process here
in the US. When it comes to environmental issues, it
seems Europeans are always several years ahead of the
US. For example, the ban of arsenic in the treatment
of pine has been in place for many years in Europe.
The US just banned it in 2003. Lobbyist for timber
companies carry a lot of weight here in the US and
that tends to slow things down. In the US, Western
Larch is specified and sold in combination with Douglass
Fir as a premium structural timber. In all regards,
Siberian Larch is far superior to its North American
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It most definitely comes from a sustainable forest. Here
are some stats. The Boreal Forest in Russia is 2.7 billion
acres in size (absolutely enormous)! Larch species account
for 38% of the timber in this forest. That alone is substantially
bigger than the entire Amazon Rain Forest which is 800
million acres in size. The timber being cut in Russia
only accounts for 20% of the forest's growth. Meaning
for every tree that is cut, the equivalent of 5 more
have already grown in its place. It does come from a
very sustainable forest. Russia has a reputation of caring
little about the environment and its natural resources.
Corruption, scandal, bureaucracy all plague Russia and
the businesses that operate within its borders. Always
has. Leitinger, whose roots and headquarters are in Austria,
comes from a very different heritage. Leitinger has actually
been awarded several environmental awards by the Austrian
government. Leitinger is very picky about making sure
they do not waste a single bit of a tree they harvest.
For example, they go as far as compressing the leftover
sawdust into fuel pellets for the use of energy means.
Their deep commitment to being environmentally responsible
was a very important consideration to us when deciding
to represent their products.
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In all honesty, right now we would have a difficult
time in supplying you with this material (at a reasonable
costs that is). Logistically, we are not set up to ship
the material very far. This will change in the near future
and is something I am researching heavily at the moment.
This is an area in which you could provide some useful
information to me. Do you guys typically buy your material
from a lumber yard or do you have relationships with
manufacturers/dealers that ship it directly to you? If
they ship it to you, through what means do they do it?
It is my thought that we would need to enlist the means
of lumber yards in order to develop a convenient and
reliable supply for a broader area.
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Currently, the main distribution point is Chattanooga,
TN. We can deliver the wood to you via LTL. Obviously,
your proximity to Chattanooga will influence the shipping
cost. South Lumber distributes our decking products in
Atlanta, GA. They can be reached at 770-517-4054.
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Yes, we have sold material for 6 decks to be built. This
has all been very recently and most are in construction
as I type or waiting to be constructed in the next few
weeks. 3 of the decks are covered living areas and the
other 3 will be exposed. 2 of the covered decks are completed
and 1 of the exposed decks is completed.
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Many handrail options exist. We recommend following the
creativity of your architect or builder. However, 2x6 material is available
for railing and can be ripped down to a 2x4 if a narrower look is desired.
2x6 boards can also be ripped into 2x2 balusters. For posts, a treated
pine 4x4 can be wrapped in 1x Siberian Larch material in order to achieve
a uniform look. Also, posts can be made by screwing or nailing together
two or three 2x6 boards. At this moment, we are diligently working on
supplying 4x4 Siberian Larch posts. This could be part of our product mix
in the near future. Another option is to look at alternative railing systems.
Many companies specialize in the production of these products. Several
wonderful designs are available and can allow you to add creativity to
your deck. One such company is Deckorators.
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One of the most attractive features of Siberian Larch is the fact it does not need to be sealed.
Sealing is not mandatory and you can still expect a long life out of your deck.
This offers significant maintenance time and cost savings! However, sealing adds an extra layer of protection and will result in the deck lasting even longer.
It will help to preserve the appearance and reduce surface checking that can occur in any natural wood.
Like all natural woods Siberian Larch will oxidize and turn a silvery, gray color. If you would like to preserve the color, a UV-Ray protection must be applied.