Building a Redwood Deck and a Redwood-and-Cedar Fence

Project: Bob's Shingle Style Home, Episode 9, Part 1

An insulation expert explains the different uses for Owens Corning insulation products. Ryley shows how the redwood decking is added to the backyard deck for optimal drainage and paint de-leading is underway on the dining room hutch and mantel.

Part 1: Building a Redwood Deck and a Redwood-and-Cedar Fence
Bob helps carpenter Bob Ryley build a redwood deck. Bob emphasizes the use of stainless steel nails when working with redwood, due to the wood's acidity. Then carpenter Danny Ruffini installs a custom-made redwood-and-cedar fence on the perimeter.
Part 2: Stripping Paint to Reveal Original Detailing
Part 3: Insulating and Soundproofing the Attic
This project centers around the remodel of Bob Vila's own gracious Shingle Style home in Cambridge, MA. It's a house with a lot of history and beautiful architectural details, many of which were obliterated in remodels of the 50s and the 70s. On the centennial of the house's construction, Bob gets together the best talents in the business to recreate and renew it to its former glory, making some important modifications along the way that will transform this into a dream house for today.

Also from Bob's Shingle Style Home

Okay. Well, we're going to be insulating for days to come. You know, thirty percent of all this fiber glass insulation that we're putting in here is actually made from recycled glass bottles.

Anyway, right now let's get back to wood.

Hi, Riley.

Hi, Bob.

You know, we were building the frame for the deck last week. And now, as you can see, we've got most of the redwood decking in place down here.

And it really is beautiful, even though we're in a rain and we've just put a tent over ourselves. It really looks pretty.

Yeah. We're getting close to finishing it up , so I think that we can get it done.

Now, one of the neat things about running a miter like this is that it's a very elegant and pretty detail. But what have you done to keep it from splitting up? The ends.

What we've done is just a small round over bit with a router , so.

You've taken each one, and after you've made the miter cut, you've kind of run it through the router to get just a little bit of a bevel on there, right?

Right. Cause you've got to remember this is all pitching away from the house too, so this has got about a two-degree back cut.

Just a little bit of a crown to it.




The important thing is to use stainless steel nails when you're working with redwood.


And the reason for that is that the acids in the redwood very often will cause a certain amount of black-staining to occur if you use just regular steel nails.

And the other thing that you really want to concentrate on is your nailing pattern. Because this is really a finished deck, there's not going to be any stain on it . And you want to make sure that all the nails line up right down the whole section of deck, so that you have that nice architectural feel to it. You gotta go slow, right?

Yeah, there's no point in rushing at this point. Absolutely beautiful, alright, now Railly you've gotta work on some of the ladders to the fence, right?

Yes, I do, yeah.

OK, now I want to take a close look at the fence because this about as elegant as it gets.

You could tell its also redwood, but its the type of fence design that while being kind of a classic 19th century design, it also provides a very elegant fence from both sides, so that neighbor doesn't have to look at something that isn't pretty, that isn't finished right.

This, which could be labor intensive is actually store bought you can get four by eight sheet of ladders, made lot of cedar just like what you see here, you just have to order the heavy duty stock, which cost about 50 dollars for four by eight sheet and obviously we've just cut sections to put in.
But the rest of the work that you're looking here is just been made on site, the tops of the fence have been cut on the table saw, so there's a bevel that lets the weather run off.
The tops of the post have been decorated. did with an applied half round bead, a molding that we cut right here with a router, as well as the moulding which you see here and the caps of the posts.

But let's get together with Danny Ruffini, who's been working on the fence.

Hi Danny.


The rain is interfering a little bit, but this is really looking beautiful. Before we look at the detailing though, the posts that you've got in there, how far into the ground did you put those in?

We put that in three feet and it's in hydrated cement.

Which means that you've just mixed some Portland with some dirt and some rocks .

And let them -

And of course the post is pressure treated. But it's been dressed out with the red wood so that you end up with a very elegant looking post.


And how are we doing the actual fence section?

Well this is rough-sawn on one side and smooth on the other.

Tongue and groove.

We installed the smooth side on the deck side. And -

And you'd apply the ground around the whole perimeter of each Panel, it's just, which again is red wood is just been ripped to size on the table so.

Which again, is redwood that's been ripped to size on the table saw.

Then we take a set-up and we lay it out so that we have given spacing on both ends.
That 's a good tip.


Because if you just start putting them in on one side when you end up at the finish point you might have to rip the board down to half an inch or less. And you don't want to do that.

And it has a tongue and groove and we nailed the groove side. We just tack it in here.

Again we're using stainless steel nails, right?

Yeah, stainless steel nails.
OK, now how do you nail the last one in, Danny?

Well, you don't. This should be just free floating here.

Exactly. It's going to have room to expand and contract depending on the weather and season. And what will really hold this in place is the ground that have to be put it around all four sides. Let me get out of your way Riley.

Got this all set.

Now this is, another section of trellis that's just cut out of the four by eight sheet, to fit into this arched section of rail. Lucky guy, it fit perfectly.

Oh, yeah, that goes across the top, where's the bottom piece?

Right there.

Right here?

And these again are just tacked into place. Are you using one inch brads?

We're using the stainless steel nails, and then we'll cut them.

OK, so you cut them down so that they're not quite as long.

Not as long as a blunt end so it won't split the the wood.

Now those are pretty straightforward but what about putting the ground that goes under the arch.

That's the fun piece.


But now there's two of us here, so it should be a little bit easier.

And you haven't put any kerf cuts on it at all?

No, it's just been ripped down a quarter of an inch, so we're going to double up on it.

Cut it up in two pieces.

So if it is a quarter inch, it will bend without snapping in half. And then you'll add a second piece that's also a quarter-inch so that you've built up to the necessary thickness.

Right. We'll glue to those two together.

I hesitate to watch. And one thing that I do want to look at is the cap that still hasn't been nailed down here.

This is interesting, this is Danny's idea but he's run the grain of the cap in one direction and then there is a second board that's run in the other direction.

So that if you think about it, you're getting that action of extra strength by running the wood grain in two opposing directions. And then of course it's just been dressed out with a half round applied all the way around the corner.

I 'm very happy with this fence.

Nice job guys.

Thank you.

We've got to break for messages. Don't go away. OK, we're back.

Anyone who has ever restored a house knows how frustrating it is to have to remove layers and layers of paint that's been built up over the years on beautiful wood work. Where the crispness of the detail has gone out of the window.

Well, we're gonna get together with some experts today. Bob Sharon is here to explain to us a simple process that takes it all out in one kind of step.

Hi Bob, how are you doing?

Now before we get started, Bob, what's all this equipment here for?

Well, to start off, what I just turned on was a negative air filtration system. The purpose of this machine is to take the air from the inside environment there, where my guys are working, draw it through a giant filter, and exhaust clean air to the outside environment.

So it's filtered? So no noxious fumes are actually being thrown outdoors?

No, there will be no fumes, and there also won't be any particles or any different debris that comes from the inside environment.

OK, and what about the back vacuum cleaners.

This vacuum here is equiped with the exact same filter as is inside here. This will be used for drawing any of the dry debris or dust from inside there, filtering it and storing it inside that tank.

So if you're using a palm sander or such a tool the product of that process would go in through here?

It would go right in that hose. Exactly. Or if there's any debris that hits the ground and dries out.


That will be filtered. It will be sucked through the hose and filtered through that vacuum.

OK. And what's the orange one?

The orange is a wet vacuum, as you'll see when you walk inside, we'll be taking chemical off using a lot of water and the chemical itself has, you know.

Now, one question. What do you do with the hazardous waste that's caught in there?

Well, we'll be taking these machines back into the containment there. We'll take all the debris out of them, bag it to 6mm bags, wrap it twice, duct tape it up good. Bring it outside and put it in a hazardous waste material.

So it has to go to a hazard waste dump.


Very good.

It goes into a 55 gallon drum. And so we're in the dining room and we've divided the room in half with this polyethylene wall, and all the real work is going over there on the mantle piece and on the hutch, lets take a look in there.

Oh, wow, look at this up here, huh? That's exactly what I am talking about when I say detail that had lost its crispness. All those little dentals up there, you can hardly tell they were there, because so much paint had gone in there.

Okay. So, what exactly is going on here? I see you have got all sorts of paper on the woodwork. Describe the process for us.

What David's doing for us right now is, he'll be applying a caustic paste on to the paint surfaces. Then, he'll be taking paper, covering it, taping it in tight with duct tape to keep any air from getting inside and drying out the paste while it's...

I see.

...removing the paint.

So the caustic soda is held within this this mixture which almost looks like a joint compound.

Exactly. Exactly.

And why do you have to cover it up with paper and duct tape?

To keep it from drying out. When it dries it becomes very hard and very difficult to work with.

How long do you have to leave it on there?

Well, we did a time-weight average on this. This is where we did, a test batch. We found that twenty-four hours seems to be a perfect amount of time for the chemical to work, and not to effect the wood, at all.

Well that's what I was going to get at. Because, if you leave the chemical on way too long, you can really raise the grain.

Oh, it can be very bad for the wood. What it will do is it will take the moisture out of the wood, it will take the saps out of the wood, the oils, and really be, really be bad for it.

And the wood will start looking like felt.

Oh, absolutely. Yeah.

OK. So you literally have to slather it on pretty thick don't you?

Yeah, we like to go between a quarter and a half-inch. I mean, it can't hurt to be a little generous with it. What we've done Bob, is we've covered all the chemical with paper. Taped it in tight to keep the air from getting into it. And now, within 24 hours, we'll be ready to peel it away.

OK, so it is has to be on there for 24 hours.

Yeah, 24, around there.

Oh boy.

So that comes off first.

So this layer comes off first.

Yeah, exactly.

And what do you suppose all the brown represents? I don't think. There was any brown paint on there?

No, I think that was a varnish, a varnish that was on there at one point.

Oh, it draws the varnish and the stain out as well.

Exactly. It'll eat right through a urethane, right through a varnish.

That 's it.

So, how many layers of paint do you suppose are coming off there?

I'd say at least fifteen.


It's been there for a good number of years. It was all good quality paints also. After all this bulk chemical is removed, we're washing this down with a solution, a Kill Away neutralizing solution which will remove all the extra stuff that's there.

We'll wash it down into a drip pan where it can vacuumed up with that wet vacuum, and done with what I explained before.

But this is a very important part of the process, because you want to stop the caustic action on the wood, right?

Absolutely. If this isn't done correctly, then the painter goes to put his paint back on it would just peel right off.

Exactly, so this is really important and it's also important to contain all these chemicals, so that's why he's got this drip pan in the middle of it, and I guess you can start up with that vacuum cleaner, that wet vac, and collected all this, it starts to add up.


But, boy, I'll tell you, the payoff is when you look at this a day or two after it's been stripped, and we're just doing a little bit of sanding work to it, but look at this beautiful deep Dale's mantle, it.

Yeah. Billy's really done a very good job with this.

It's gorgeous. Now it's poplar wood and it probably was always painted. And the egg and the dart along the edge holds a little bit of residue but that's alright. It's really going to look beautiful once its totally been refinished

Hey Bob. Thank you.

Thanks very much.

Nice job. We've got to break for some messages. Don't go away.

I wish you could smell the redwood. We're out of time. Come home again next time when we're going to be down in the basement looking at a brand new heating, ventilating and air conditioning system. Don't miss it.

'Til then I'm Bob Vila. It's good to have you home again. Hi, I'm Bob Vila. Welcome home again.

We're insulating the house today, and not just fiberglass insulation. We've got several different products to show you. One of them is a new type of house wrap.

But we're also quite excited about installing some sound attenuation batts in the house. Which are really going to help control noise.

Also, we are working on the backyard deck. All that redwood is here.

And inside, a terrific product for removing many layers of paint. It's literally, a peel away type of process.

Stick around. It's good to have you home again.

Bob Vila's Home Again.

We're going to get started in the attic and we're talking insulation. You know, the attic is the most important place to have insulation because heat rises. And if there is no insulation, heat escapes. Now, we're not going to have an attic, we're gonna have a teenage living room here on the 3rd floor. So the other things we have to worry about is sound control. Music control.

And Eric Anderson from Anderson insulation.

Hi Bob.

Is helping us out in that respect. Before we talk about controlling the heat and energy loss, let's talk about controlling the noise. What is this product we're putting in?

This product is an Owens Corning product called Quietzone and it's especially designed to reduce residential noises, within the structure. And it's used as a separation barrier between bathroom walls and other living spaces. Or between recreation rooms, game rooms, and sleeping spaces.

Now you're using it within inside walls. Don't you have to worry about moisture getting trapped in it?

No Bob. This product really doesn't have a vapor barrier. It has a paper covering for ease of installation, but it's not a vapor barrier at all.


It's just to facilitate the installation of the product.

So that's not an issue. You know this really makes a lot of sense, not only in walls where you're trying to isolate the bedroom from the living room. This is the wall where we're gonna have the entertainment equipment.

The big screen TV and the stereo and everything. So that it's a very good idea to able to control that here. And will we also install it in the floor?

Yes, there will also be Soundproofing installation in the floor as well, to totally enclose this game room space, so that there won't be any noise infiltration into other parts of the structure.

I love it. I think it's the best thing about the whole job. Now let's talk about how we are actually insulating the house. This wall here basically is like an exterior wall.

Right. This is a two by six knee wall that separates this game room from the eave space under the attic rafters.

And what's this material here?

This material is Pinkwrap made by Owens Corning, that's specially designed to prevent air infiltration. This wall is essentially like the exterior wall of the house.

You've got a vented soffit and there's gonna be a substantial amount of wind blowing going through that soffit up against the back of this wall. If we don't have this membrane here, the insulation in front of it could conceivably get moving air within the glass blanket.

Right .

If that happens, it no longer insulates.

That's a very good tip, because if you do have moving air against the bats, you are actually reducing your R factor considerably You're right

Absolutely. Insulation works in still air. If you have moving air within the fibrous back, its only as good as to where that moving air stops and the still air starts, and then the back.

And the house wrap still allows any moisture that gets through the wall and into the insulation to escape.

Absolutely, it's a good wind bearer but it's a permeable membrane to any type of moisture that may be trapped in there.

Okay, now what about these?

Those are attic circulators, which are basically put into the rapture spaces to allow moisture and also the wind from the exterior of the house ride up and over the insulation.

They go up in between the rafter spaces, and there's two channels that allow this air to circulate up and over and as a result to maintain the still air within the insulation, and also evacuate any moisture that may occur at the underside of the roof.

And that's very critical from the point of view of keeping paint on your surface.

Absolutely, and the wintertime is well for ice stamps. Yes. Because if you don't have this here on the underside Your roof is warm without any cool air circulating. The snow melts and ice stands form at the eave.

Right. Now Eric, how do you deal? When you're installing insulation very often this can be a real nuisance. You've got your electrical wire right in the middle of the bay. What's the best way to install the bat right there?

Well, in the area like this, we really have to put the bat. If you measured to the exact length of the space. We cut our bat and then that wire runs exactly through the middle.

And you split it that way.

So you split it, and we have insulation on the backside of the wire and insulation in the front.

You've avoided compressing it.

Right, exactly.

Which is the one thing you don't want to do.

You wanna entirely fill the space.

If you compress a bat, you're going to get less R-value.

Now, once we've put in all the bats, you're also putting a visquene layer, a moisture barrier. Is that important?

It's very important because that maintains the moisture within the structure Structure. And doesn't allow to migrate to the exterior of the structure where it could essentially condense against the outside wall.

And condense, it means you're lifting paint or bubbling paint.


It's one of the big problems.

Okay, let's talk art factors. What do we got in the wall here?

This is an R-21 bat, which is 5 1/2 inches thick and it's designed to go within a 2 x 6 studspace.

OK. And in the roof?

And the roof we have a r38 bat, which is a ten-inch bat, high density. And it fills the 2 x 12 rafter space in conjunction with the vents .

Terrific. All right, we're going to be warm in winter around here.

Eric, thanks a lot.

Yep, you're welcome.

We've got to break for some messages. Stick around.



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