FAQ - Wood Grades
Can your furniture be left outside year round?
Typical patio furniture that you find in "big box" stores is usually made of pine, fir or other wood species that do not hold up well unprotected in outdoor weather. By contrast, our redwood tables can sit in the weather year round and last for decades without maintenance. Our "Forever Redwood" furniture is guaranteed for eight to thirty years (depending on the grade of wood used) against wood decay from weather exposure.
Do you have any other types of material, e.g. vinyl, fiberglass, etc.?
We use excellent quality redwood because it’s the most decay and insect resistant wood that grows naturally in North America. The best value is to go with our Mature Redwood. It is guaranteed against decay for 20 years and will easily last longer and is reasonably priced. Vinyl, fiberglass and other products are less expensive, but you’ll wind up having to replace them sooner.
How should I anchor my pergola post?
You can do it both ways, but sinking the posts is a better alternative if you’re going to buy the pergola in the Mature or Old-Growth Redwood. Both wood grades are very decay resistant in moist conditions (like underground) and will hold up fine for decades. The California Redwood wood grade will only last 15 years if buried 3 feet underground. This is the reason both anchoring options are mentioned.
Sinking the posts is a structurally stronger way to attach the set. You’ll pay a bit more for the longer posts, but you don’t have to buy the anchoring kit. Some customers like the trim pieces around the base of the posts even when they are sinking the posts in the ground. If you are planning on sinking the posts and want the trim pieces, just let us know in the "Special Instructions & Custom Requests" box upon checkout. We’ll send them at no extra charge.
If you are in a relatively dry climate (less than 20 inches of rain per year), the California Redwood wood grade is the best investment because it will last a couple decades in the drier climate and is less expensive than Mature or Old-Growth Redwood. If you’re going with the California Redwood wood grade, do the concrete work and attach above ground for a long-lasting structure. If you’re planning to purchase the Mature Redwood, sink the posts and order them 12 feet long.
We rarely sell pergola kits in Old-Growth. It’s an exquisite wood most of our customers order for furniture instead. We will gladly build your pergola in Old-Growth if you prefer, but for most parts of the country, your best investment option in relation to durability is the Mature Redwood. It will last 25 to 30 years without maintenance even in severe climates, while the Old-Growth may last 5 to 10 years longer but at a significant price premium.
Is redwood as durable as teak?
Redwood is ideal for outdoor uses. It will last for decades. In comparison to teak, our Mature and Old-Growth Redwood grades are superior to most teak available in the market today. The reason it is superior is because of the age of the trees where the lumber was cut from. Our Mature Redwood comes from trees averaging 100 years of age. Our Old-Growth Redwood is reclaimed lumber from trees averaging over 500 years of age. The older a tree, the more decay and insect-resistant tannins are concentrated into the wood. The plantation grown teak that is sold in the U.S. today is from 20- to 50-year-old trees grown in Central and South America. The decay resistance is good and the quality varies from good to very good. But, it is not from old trees and will not last as long as the old redwood in any case. The proof is in the warranties offered by the teak furniture makers. Does anyone offer a 30-year decay warranty? Or even 20-years? We do.
Is the Mature Redwood resistant to heavy salt air?
It will outlast you or I [Raul speaking, founder and CEO] or we’ll replace any part at no cost. The salt air will eat away at the finish after a few years. If you don’t refinish it every 3 or 4 years it will look beat up on the surface, but it will not decay— not for at least 20 years. If you refinish it a couple times per decade it will last almost indefinitely. You can learn more about how to easily refinish your furniture by going to our Finish Options & Furniture Care page.
Is the wood you use treated against termites?
We have been shipping to South Florida for ten years without any termite or decay issues.
To avoid problems with termites or decay for outdoor year-round use do not order our less expensive wood grades, Douglas-fir or California Redwood.
We recommend the Mature or the Old-Growth Redwood grades for Florida’s moist weather. The Mature Redwood will easily last 20 years or more. Termites do not eat the Mature Redwood because of its naturally high concentration of tannins. Our very best wood grade, the Old-Growth, has a 30-year decay warranty.
Is there still an advantage to purchasing higher grade wood if I intend to paint?
If you’re looking for a painted furniture item, it’s less costly to order in the California Redwood grade. Most of the additional beauty of the Mature Redwood and Old-Growth Redwood grades is not noticed by the naked eye once a piece is painted.
Choosing one of the primer options seals the wood completely which adds additional protection from the elements. If you live in a moist climate (East Coast or Pacific Northwest), the primer option and painting allows the Redwood grade to last longer in the year round weather and probably extend its life well beyond the 15-year decay warranty period.
The Mature and Old-Growth Redwood grades will always hold up longer either primered or not in moist year-round weather conditions because of the greater decay resistance inherent in the wood grades. But, if you take the time to paint again completely your furniture every 5 to 7 years (especially all parts close to or in contact with the soil), this will reseal any parts where the paint may have worn off and help your Redwood grade furniture last a couple decades or more in harsh and/or moist year-round conditions.
Why are there five different prices for everything?
Forever Redwood outdoor furniture is available in three grades of Redwood, one grade of Douglas-fir, and one grade that combines these four:
- Old-Growth Redwood is from trees over 200 years old. When our forests were logged in the 1950’s, many high-quality logs were left on the ground. OGA recovers and mills this exquisite wood. Because of over-logging in the past, Old-Growth redwood is very difficult to find anymore. We offer a 30-year warranty on our Old-Growth Redwood furniture.
- Mature Redwood is from trees averaging 100 years of age. We offer a 20-year warranty on our Mature Redwood furniture.
- California Redwood is from trees averaging 50 years of age. We offer a 15-year warranty on our Redwood furniture.
- Mosaic Eco-Wood is a combination of the other 4 grades of wood using hand-jointing techniques to convert small pieces back into "thick-timber" boards. It is made from 100% post-manufacturing recycled material. We offer a 10-year warranty on our Mosaic Eco-Wood.
- Douglas-fir is a good choice if you’d like one of our furniture designs, but would prefer a more economical alternative to redwood. It comes from trees averaging 50 to 80 years of age, sustainably harvested in accordance with our restoration forestry practices. We offer a 8-year warranty on our Douglas-fir furniture.
Throughout our site these grades are indicated as follows:
Old-Growth Redwood Mature Redwood Redwood Mosaic Eco-Wood Douglas-fir
The older the tree that the wood came from, the more decay resistant it will be because the wood has more tannins in it.
Your products splinter over time?
Forever Redwood products will never splinter. They may develop a light crack after a few years out in the weather, but never a splinter.
The secret to avoiding splinters is always to follow these 5 steps:
- Use dry lumber only. Wet lumber cracks aggressively when it dries and it begins the splintering process.
- Use vertical grain lumber on the most exposed surfaces. Vertical grain lumber cannot splinter because of the angle that it is cut.
- Sand to a smooth to the touch finish with all the leading edges rounded. We sand all our items to 220 grit and round all the edges of the boards.
- Seal the finished wood with the best sealant on the market. We hand rub 3 coats of the Sikkens Brand of finishes. We believe Sikkens is the best sealant for outdoor wood products based on our 20 years of experience.
- Use dimensionally stable high quality lumber. Redwood is the most decay resistant wood that grows naturally in N. America. And it is the very stable dimensionally (rarely warps, sags or twists).