tauchen67

Redwood movement question

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I live in southern California and have a neighbor who has a jacuzzi that is still in good shape, but the surround is deteriorating. They asked me if i could build some new panels for the skirt. All it is is 4 panels (one per side) that are screwed to a sub frame. I was thinking of doing something out of redwood, and making a frame with tongue and groove or ship lap vertical inserts. I started to wonder about the wood movement of redwood when it is outside. I was thinking i could do a custom ship lap and make extra deep rabbits that would allow for more movement.

Any thoughts, other ideas?

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I don't know much about the wood movement but don't use steel fasteners. I made some redwood window boxes in 1989 and the only problem has been rust and black stains from the screws. Stainless or brass should do the trick. Redwood is soft and a bit splintery, sharp blades and pilot holes for the screws.

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Last month I repaired some redwood panels for a friend's jaccuzi. The panels were about 15 years old and the redwood was still good, the joints had failed. The frames were a 2x2 mitered at a 45, with 1/2 inch grooves (rabbits). The panels are made with tongue and groove joints and float in the frame. There was a 1/4 - 3/8 inch expansion gap on the panel pieces. (but this is winter and there isn't as much humidity out right now. In the summer it get to be in the 90's and very humid, so the expansion room is needed). Based on how long these panels have held up, it sounds like you are on the right track with the deeper rabbits.

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I think I'd prefer the ship lap and give yourself plenty of over lap. And find the driest redwood you can before you start. Being SoCal you're likely to get our wet NorCal redwood (they leave it the rain and damp until they ship it - the stuff is shoaking wet when you buy it a big box store) and it will shrink a lot. I've got a redwood fence here with 1/2" gaps in it after a couple of years.

Still it will look good and last a long time when it's done.

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Hot tub surround is going to get wet constantly. Why worry about getting dry wood when it will be in such a damp location.

I have used stainless/brass screws and they can be sort of easy to strip the heads when driving with a cordless drill. I get a few steel screws the same size, pilot a hole, drive the steel screw, then replace it with a stainless/brass screw. This gives you a pre threaded hole so less chance of a stripped head.

Redwood does stain black if you use steel screws. I used some ceramic coated steel screws in a window box and eventually got black stains. Galvanized gave stains as well.

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