Kild Dried lumber and deck railing problems

by Charlie
(Roanoke, Va)

I used kiln dried lumber on my deck. I also used it for the railings. They came with a top and bottom baluster channel,with a seperate hand-rail piece for the top. Installed summer of 2009. Now several of the corner 4x4 post have twisted, pulling away from the rail system,leaving gaps. Also, on top of the hand rails, alot of the wood is blistering,or splintering and is already looking bad.

Is kiln dried lumber prone to this? I've not used it before. I thought it was supposed to help prevent this. I am now giving serious thought to replacing the entire post and rails with a surface mount vinyl system. Your thoughts?

Are these surface mount post strong enough and stable?

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Aug 02, 2010
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Kiln dried pine
by: charlie

This was kiln dried pine. My son-in-law works for a nearby lumber yard, and he actually recommended it.

It looked really nice when we 1st installed it, but like i said, its only been 1 yr and the posts are curling and tearing away from the rails. What do you know about the pvc type posts and rails?

I would have to surface-mount the post some way, and am concerned about the strength. I know it would like alot better.

Aug 02, 2010
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Sounds odd
by: Bob

Sounds very strange. If it was kiln dried cedar it should have performed better than that even though it will quickly adapt to the ambient humidy level in your area. But cedar is a softer, slightly weaker wood than pine so it does have as much pulling or twisting strength if it does move.

What kind of wood was it?

Kiln dried lumber is not typically used for outdoor applications for the very fact that the kiln drying is wasted once you place the wood outdoors and it starts raining or the humidity rises it moves toward the humidity level.

PT pine is most notorius of splitting, checking, warping, twisting and cracking over time as it dries out.

Usually non kiln dried lumber is material of choice. Often it can have a moisture content as high as 25% to even 30%. At those levels it is really at risk of warping as it dries out. Best is to use lumber that is still green but has a moisture content under 20% and then it will settle at about 5-10% moisture content over the course of a few weeks where it should remain stable.

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