Q: What are the Cypress grades?
A: Cypress grades have been set by the SCMA in cooperation with the National Hardwood Lumber Association. They are outlined in the Standard Specifications for Grades of Southern Cypress, available from the SCMA. Grades are according to use, manufacture, size and moisture content. A brief summary of grades include (for pictures of grades see About Cypress):
The best face is mostly clear of knots and defects. Wider widths allow only a few defects. Narrower widths clear of knots and other defects.
The best face will contain sound encased knots that do not detract from the workability or appearance of the wood. The reverse side admits imperfections that do not distract from the utility and serviceability of this general-purpose grade.
Pecky contains pockets of varying length and depth on the best face of the board. This is a grade unique to cypress that in many ways defies description but leaves a lasting impression.
Q: What dimensions are available?
A: Cypress comes in 4/4″ to 16/4″ thickness, 4″-12″ even widths, and 6’-16’ even lengths.
Q: Is Cypress a softwood or hardwood?
A: Cypress is technically a softwood, but it is graded as a hardwood according to the National Hardwood Lumber Association’s rules. Although it has needlelike leaves typical of softwoods, cypress loses its needles during the autumn and winter.
Q: Where does Cypress grow?
A: Cypress grows in the swamp areas of the Southeast from the Carolinas to Florida and along the Gulf of Mexico into Texas. Because it is found in remote, swampy areas, some of the harvesting is done with helicopters.
Q: Is Cypress the same as Tidewater Red Cypress?
A: Cypress is the common name for bald cypress (Taxodium distichtim) but it is also known as southern cypress, red cypress, yellow cypress, white cypress and, commercially, tidewater red cypress and gulf cypress. Red cypress is often used to describe the coastal cypress and yellow cypress to designate inland grown.
Q: Is Cypress a new lumber product? I’ve never heard of it.
A: Cypress has been used for thousands of years, according to historians. Ancient Egyptians crafted mummy cases of cypress and medieval craftsmen used cypress for carved cathedral doors. Because it became difficult to harvest, little was available a few years ago, but modern methods now assure a steady, plentiful supply.
Q: Where can Cypress be used?
A: Cypress is a versatile wood with many uses. It comes rough sawn or smooth in a variety of siding patterns and takes nearly every surface treatment available. The wood is ideal for decking, fences and other outdoor uses as well as siding, millwork and paneling.
Q: Is Cypress durable?
A: Cypress has a natural preservative oil known as cypressene which gives the heartwood resistance to insects and decay. With a suitable surface treatment, cypress generally has superior durability, holding paint well and resisting weather.
Q: Does Cypress have any special characteristics?
A: Cypress has a rich color ranging from off-white to deep red and a handsome grain which makes it a natural for interior paneling. Pecky cypress, which has unique three dimensional markings, has an especially attractive rustic appearance. Used with a protective coating, cypress acquires a beautiful natural finish.
Q: Is Cypress difficult to work?
A: Cypress when well seasoned (dry) has little tendency to warp, twist or cup and has good nail holding ability. Because it is sold in random lengths of 6 to 16 feet and widths of 4 to 12 inches, cypress requires fewer cuts and joints at the job site. Cypress works well with both hand and power tools. Even though it is a resinous wood, it glues well. Cypress planes easily, resists warping, sands easily, and readily accepts finishes.
Q: How does Cypress compare with Pine and Cedar?
A: CYPRESS is as beautiful and distinctive on the inside as it is durable on the outside. Bald Cypress (referred to as Southern Cypress by the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association) grows in swampy regions. Due to the slow growth, the rings are much closer than in most wood species. These close rings tend to make cypress more energy efficient, and decreased shrinkage makes it more durable and stable. In its natural state, the wood is a pale honey color and unsealed, weathers to an even gray on the surface (natural color can easily be restored if desired.) See Decking for some picture comparisons.
PINE grows quickly, which results in wider banding, more porous substance. This means treatment is required to prevent rot and insect attack. This porous wood stains through the surface and with treatment becomes somewhat darker. Untreated material will stain deep toward the core leaving permanent marks and becoming subject to mold and rot. For this reason, natural weathering is not recommended.
CEDAR is a darker wood with heavy odor (check for allergic sensitivity). A lighter and porous wood, it weathers and absorbs treatment resulting in darker tones.
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Q: How do I convert Board Ft to Lineal Ft?
A: Lineal Ft measures how long a given board is, while Board Ft measures the volume of a given board. A 10 Ft 1×6 is measured as 10 Lineal Ft (LFt) and as 5 Board Ft (BFt).
To calculate LFt from BFt, use this formula:
(# of BFt x 12)/(width x thickness)
If you need 1000 BFt of 1×8, then:
(1000 BFt x 12) / (1 x 8) = 1500 LFt
To calculate how many BFt you would need from Lft:
(# of LFt x (Width x Thickness)) / 12.
Q: How do I find out how many LFt I need to cover a certain area?
A: To find out how many LFt you need to cover a given area:
(# of SqFt to cover x 12) / (Face Width of the pattern)
If you want to know how many LFt of 1×6 T&G V-Joint (remember that the face of 1×6 T&G V-Joint is 5 1/8″) you need to cover 2000 SqFt of wall, then:
(2000 x 12) / (5.125) = 4682 LFt
If you are using two different widths (1×8 and 1×4 T&G V-Joint for example) on the surface, add the faces together and treat them as one face. We suggest you add 10%-15% waste to be safe.