wood gate posts, redwood? pressure treated? or ???
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BlakeAronson



Joined: 14 Jul 2009
Posts: 48
Location: Long Beach, CA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:18 am    Post subject: wood gate posts, redwood? pressure treated? or ??? Reply with quote

My old decaying wood driveway gate and fence has given up the ghost and I'm getting ready to install a new one ASAP.

Initially I read that pressure treated stuff was the way to go. But now the more I read I see negative stuff regarding the chemicals used. and from personally shopping around a local lumber yard + home depot, i see the finish quality of the pressure treated 4x4s is pretty poor, the stuff i'm finding locally is cracked, splintered, extremely bowed, and of course has the ugly staple looking holes through out from the processing.

My local lumber yard does have some very nice looking 12' redwood 4x4s however I assume it may be mostly sapwood due to the low price. All they could tell me was that it was "construction grade."

What type of wood do you guys recommend for supporting a gate, i'd hope for it to last at least 10-15 years. I will be properly installing them 3' feet under with a gravel base and cement all the way up to 1" above the ground wit a taper to help water run away from the base of the post.

Should I stick with the pressure treated, get the redwood, or search out something else? I only need two posts for this so price isn't too much of an issue, i'd rather spend 4x the amount on the posts to get something that lasts 2x as long as the cheaper option.

lastly, i've been told 4x4s are fine for a gate post, this will be an 8 foot swing gate, i'm estimating 300lbs. Would it be wise to step up to a 6x6 or is the 4x4 more than enough? I'm going to have the posts go up at least 9 feet above ground with a valance and center beam going between them to help keep the load bearing post from bending and sagging with the weight of the gate.


Last edited by BlakeAronson on Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:26 am; edited 1 time in total
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johnleeke
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Joined: 20 Aug 2004
Posts: 2787
Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For materials forget the corporate construction industry supply line, all they want to do is get your money. You're in California, look for second-hand old growth redwood at the building salvage yards, junk yards, or a nearby building demolition project. There are enough others looking for this good old wood that you'll still pay dearly for it, but you don't need much and it could be worth it for the posts.
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Last edited by johnleeke on Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:31 am; edited 1 time in total
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BlakeAronson



Joined: 14 Jul 2009
Posts: 48
Location: Long Beach, CA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good thought John, although I'm not even sure where to start as the architectural salvage places i've been to in Los Angeles really didn't stock any reclaimed lumber other that floor boards. I'll have to open the phonebook and try see if I can find a couple places to call.

Are there really no good commericially available options?
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BlakeAronson



Joined: 14 Jul 2009
Posts: 48
Location: Long Beach, CA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

John,

how bout something like this?

http://www.ogtstore.com/architectural-antiques/reclaimed-flooring-wood/old-growth-heart-pine-beams.html
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rncx



Joined: 21 Jun 2008
Posts: 650
Location: Little Rock, AR

PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

those would work fine. i work with that species quite a bit. isn't cheap, but it's good for "everything". that was the construction grade lumber around the US from the country's inception until about WW1. areas of it exposed to the sun will need a finish maintained to prevent checking, but otherwise they are good 'forever'.

how large a gate are we talking about?

reason for asking, depending on the amount of weight they have to bear, cedar can be a very good alternative as well, and not nearly as expensive.

the heart of a red cedar tree is as resistant to rot and insects as many of the old growth trees were, but it's a faster growing tree so the lumber is generally much cheaper. the only downside is since it is a faster growing tree, it isn't as structurally strong, but since you can get large beams of it relatively inexpensively, for a light'ish gate it would work fine.

if it's a heavy iron gate, might need something more dense, though.
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BlakeAronson



Joined: 14 Jul 2009
Posts: 48
Location: Long Beach, CA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the gate will be 6 feet tall by 8 feet wide. its being framed with one of those steel adjust-a-gate framing kits.

the gate is going to be automated with a swing arm so it wont be solid privacy gate (wind load would kill the gate opener)

I'm estimating around 300lbs? will the red cedar heartwood work for that? if its not as good structurally I guess i could step up to a 4x6 or 6x6?

will that old growth heart pine I linked to above be termite and rot resistant in the ground?

spent the last couple hours scouring the net also. I guess construction heart redwood will make for good posts, but its expensive.

At this point I'm pondering the idea of framing everything with the ugly pressure treated stuff (assuming i can find something that isn't bowed like i found yesterday shopping around locally) and then covering it in something more attractive.
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BlakeAronson



Joined: 14 Jul 2009
Posts: 48
Location: Long Beach, CA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well unfortunately I don't have the time to scour salvage companies for old growth wood (i needed this gate built yesterday...) so it looks like i'm going to go with two 6x6 construction heart grade redwood posts. its a huge jump in price from 4x4, but i'll feel safer having that 8' gate anchored to something extra sturdy. the 4x4 is $2.5/foot and the 6x6 is $11/ft. I only need two so i'll eat the price jump. although I'm going to try call a few more lumber shops to try find a better price first.

I found a local gate/fence builder seen here, http://www.kirsch-korff.com who uses con heart redwood for posts, as you can see he does extremely high end $$$ installations. if these are lasting for many years (locally too, so same climate) then I feel safe using the same materials hes using.

on the other hand, theres this high end builder in northern california ( http://www.prowellwoodworks.com )who swears against using con heart redwood as its likely farmed too early in its life, he says its too fibrous and porous. then again northern california gets a lot more rain that southern california so I'm going to stick with the local guys opinion, especially since hes got the work history/experience to back it up.

anyway, thats the problem with the internet, so many accessible opinions and recommedations can help greatly, but sometimes it results it more conflicting information
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rncx



Joined: 21 Jun 2008
Posts: 650
Location: Little Rock, AR

PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

for 300 pounds, i'd feel better about the redwood. cedar is fine for lighter wooden gates, but the redwood is more dense and since you have more weight, i think you went with the better choice.

i'm sure there's a forest labs report somewhere that shows the exact weight stresses that species can bear, somewhere, but i don't think you went wrong with the redwood.
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