Characteristics of Redwood

Quality landscape architecture requires building materials that are beautiful and long-lasting. Materials need to withstand environmental elements yet retain their symmetry and aesthetic purpose. Redwood has a well-known reputation for meeting these requirements.

Performance is more than durability. Redwood has qualities not found in other woods–even woods treated with chemicals. Redwood performance characteristics include resistance to shrinking and warping in addition to durability. This means redwood projects age beautifully. Decks, fences and garden buildings made with redwood simply look better ten, fifteen and twenty years after construction.

Dimensional Stability

Redwood has less volumetric and tangential shrinkage than other common domestic softwoods. In exterior use, this means redwood stays flat and straight with minimal warping or cupping.

Resistance to Decay and Insects

Redwood heartwood has grown-in resistance to decay and insects that is present throughout the wood, not just on the surface. The wood exposed through sawing, boring or nailing is as decay-resistant as the surface.

Finish Retention

Redwood has an open-celled structure and contains little or no pitch or resins. This enables redwood to absorb and retain all types of finishes extremely well.

Redwood Provides Complete Performance

Treating timber with chemicals increases its decay resistance but doesn’t improve other characteristics of the species. In many applications, other aspects of wood performance take precedence. For example, wood off the ground but exposed to harsh sunlight needs resistance to checking and warping. Beauty is usually the primary concern in highly visible applications such as garden buildings. In most situations the wood’s workability, finish retention or the absence of pitch and resins is important.