Case file No. 624 has us examining the renovation challenge facing a Mr. Jack ‘Naughty’ Pine.
The naughty nickname references Jack’s behaviour, as opposed to what would normally be the ‘knotty’ species, and was earned in his early years as a mischievous youngster by Jack tossing eggs at neighbours’ vehicles while hiding in the family’s roadside recycle bin.
If a neighbour should scold Jack, or report him to his parents, or the authorities, Jack would double up on his mischievousness by pooping on their doorstep in the early morning before he embarked on the school bus.
Jack was truly naughty.
Unfortunately, and now a man well into his 40s, Jack has done little to improve his nickname from the original naughty, to the more appropriate knotty, and if unsettled at a party or gathering, either due to the host serving a cheap wine, or playing anything other than 70s and 80s rock tunes, may unceremoniously perform a not so generous upper-decker (pooping in the tank, as opposed to the bowl) in the master bathroom, before exiting the scene.
So, while Jack remains naughty, he is also faced with having to replace the several 10-foot porch posts that support a roof over what is a beautiful perimeter deck on his century home. The porch posts are constructed of 6×6 rough-cut timbers, which had been wrapped with a 1X8 pine planks, then painted.
Although there are no issues with the 6×6 timbers, the finishing planks are showing severe wear.
In most cases, the planks have rotted at the base, with the boards displaying cracks and a surface disrupted by crackled and peeling paint.
With 12 posts to replace, and staying true to his forefathers, who were most likely woodsmen at some point in history, Jack found himself at the building centre order desk, looking to purchase 48 pieces of 1x8x10-foot, dressed knotty pine.
When questioned about this uncommonly large purchase of pine lumber, Jack relayed to the salesperson the situation, and his desire to re-wrap the deck posts with something similar to what was used originally.
Note— there are some things worth keeping original. If you damage the driver’s side rear-view mirror on your vintage ‘65 Corvette, you replace it with another ‘65 Corvette, driver’s side rear-view mirror. If you happen to own an original Monet, Water Lilies painting, but prefer the flowers be blue, rather than white, you don’t touch it up.
Conversely, if you own wood-wrapped deck columns, and they need replacement, you have to realize it’s time to get out of the wood maintenance business.
Essentially, choosing wood to re-wrap a post, especially one that’ll require paint, will eventually re-create all the rotting, cracking, and paint peeling issues being experienced today. Plus, having to touch up the bleeding knots, because even the best knot sealers can’t regularly stop knot bleed, combined with annual paintings in order to keep these columns looking pristine, will be another chore in your life.
If you own a home, especially an old one, the key to happiness in these busy times is limiting the to-do list.
What about the fact we’re losing a little bit of the originality? Forget about it.
If the builders of the day would have had the option of finishing and sealing a post with a composite or PVC-wrap type product, thereby avoiding maintenance and replacement for the next 50 years, don’t you think they would have made that enlightened decision?
Aluminum columns are the least expensive choice, with the added bonus of offering structural strength. PVC, two-piece wraps are a simple fix, although they’re limited to nine feet in length.
However, for a century old, colonial type home, the smooth finish of a composite wrap, along with its various crown and base finishes, is probably the best choice.
With this new information, our Mr. Jack Pine walked away from being the top pine purchaser for the month, and made the switch to composite. Case No. 624 closed.