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Using cedar for doors and windows

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Ryanpat

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Hello, could you advise me on whether using cedar is correct for building some bifold external doors and some windows for a workshop facelift which I am embarking on. I have been researching the rails and hinges required for the bifold doors and the products are available but at a large price tag. I need to have the weight taken by a floor rail rather than top hung which seems more common, but I would welcome any ideas on less expensive options for achieving reliable smooth running bifold doors. Thanks
 

Trevanion

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Why do you want a bi-folding door? They're quite complex to produce even for the seasoned professional, with seasonal humidity changes it's not uncommon to see all the doors shrink and expand 15mm+ over the span of all the doors which can make sealing them and making them work properly a nightmare, even in hardwood. I've made quite a few from timber now, my consensus is if you're not going to make it from Accoya it's not worth bothering with, get an aluminum one and forget about it. If you've got very little woodworking skill and knowledge on how wood behaves I would've even consider attempting to make a bi-folding door. Not to mention the gear is priced ridiculously. Depending on the size of the opening you're far better off with a pair of french doors, even with a side-light/panel each side of the doors to block up the opening, they're far more reliable, maintainable and even more in-expensive comparatively. You'd be looking perhaps £150 in hardware all included for a french door and well over £800 for a decent bi-folding gear before looking into handles and such...

I wouldn't use WR Cedar, it's great for external constructions like garden furniture and cladding where you'll leave it and never put a finish on it again, but I wouldn't use it on external joinery simply because it's very expensive for what it is. Accoya is a better alternative for pretty much the same money, if you wanted cheaper you could go with pretty much any of the usual hardwoods like Sapele, Iroko or Utile which will be far cheaper than WR Cedar.
 

MikeG.

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It's too soft. It will mark horribly in use, and look poor in no time. Cedar, the merchants advise me, doesn't take a paint finish very well either.

As for making a bi-fold.........forget it. You'll have gaps, because you simply cannot maintain flatness across multiple door widths, even in the unlikely event of starting out flat.
 

SBJ

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Cedar is a bad choice, but don't be put off bi-folds yet.

How many doors in the setup? Which way do they open? All one way?

Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk
 

Ryanpat

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I planned on a 4 door arranged in 2 pairs opening inwards. I had read that cedar was structurally stable and have seen garage doors made with it. I like the look of it so I thought it might be suitable
 

Steve_Scott

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I couldn’t comment on the pros and cons of bi folds but I couldn’t imagine that cedar would be a good choice of construction material.

In my albeit limited experience, I’ve found it to exhibit the rather unusual combination of being both soft (not unexpected for a softwood) and brittle. It’s also chuffing expensive!

You will also have the added complication, perhaps even insurmountable, that any fixings or sunken hardware etc will need to be stainless steel. Can you even source the hardware for bi folds that won’t corrode in 6 months?
 

Ryanpat

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Now that’s a very valid point which I had not considered so thank you!! If I do go for the construction then I will probably go for sapele.
 

Sgian Dubh

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Steve_Scott":22bpd8iw said:
... I couldn’t imagine that cedar would be a good choice of construction material.
In my albeit limited experience, I’ve found it to exhibit the rather unusual combination of being both soft (not unexpected for a softwood) and brittle. It’s also chuffing expensive!
I agree that cedar (but which species described as cedar by merchants, I wonder?) is probably not a good candidate for this project, but from a nitpicking pedant's point of view, it's not always the case that soft wood comes from a softwood (a gymnosperm or conifer), and hardwoods (angiosperms) produce hard wood: yew wood, for example, is hard and produced by a gymnosperm, aka a conifer, and balsa wood is a particularly soft and light wood from an angiosperm or deciduous species.

Sorry, couldn't resist, ha, ha. Slainte.
 

Trevanion

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Steve_Scott":1nv3sbbb said:
Can you even source the hardware for bi folds that won’t corrode in 6 months?
You can, but it's ridiculously expensive. Since Accoya became as popular as it has, hardware manufacturers have been playing catch-up to make loads of different 316 marine-grade stainless hardware as it's the only thing that Accoya won't corrode in a matter of days aside from solid brass. I once put in some temporary passivated screws into the hinges on an Accoya frame and when I came back a week later with the right hardware and took the screws out they looked like they'd been in there for years and were glowing orange on the threads.

How wide is your planned opening, Ryan?
 

Ryanpat

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3m, was planning on 4x 750 wide doors . I had found a product by barrier fold which offers a kit with rails and roller hinges. Looked good but expensive
 

Trevanion

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The simplest ones to produce that I've found are the Brio bi-folding gears as they've got very clear instructions and a very helpful help-line if you're stuck on something. It might be worth giving them a ring and asking whether they've got something that'd work for you if you're dead-set on a bi-fold.

Again, on a 3m opening, I'd probably have a 500mm light/panel either side of the door frame and then a 2m wide french door in the middle to keep it very simple, inexpensive and reliable. In my opinion, on a house, a bi-fold is a pure waste of money for most people as they only ever open the one door to enter and exit and very rarely if ever open all the doors, especially in Wales' climate which is mostly sideways rain :lol:. Although, your proposed bi-folder is for your workshop which may have some benefits like being able to get certain equipment in and out easier and having a bit more air-flow in the summer when it does get hot for about a week.
 

Ryanpat

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The bifold is going on the front face of an art studio for the wife, which is part of the building in which the workshop is the other part. She wants to be open up the space in the summer. Although I understand the complications of the doors I think being able to create a large open space for this studio will compliment it.
 

Ryanpat

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Thanks for the Brio link looks like good products and will call them tomorrow. It might pay me to strengthen the lintel to carry the weight of the doors, a 3.2 125mm steel RSJ is not dear and gives more options for the doors to be hung. I will also review the french door with side lights option.
 

MikeG.

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Hang on a sec......

Is this a designed opening? A 3m piece of steel is not trivial, and if it is bearing any weight (what's above it? ....which way does the roof span?....) then it needs designing by a structural engineer. Its installation also needs to be designed to avoid cold bridging and fire risks (all structural steel needs fire protection). The loads it places on the walls/ posts/ frames that support it need to be taken to the ground in a safe manner and the foundations need to account for those point loads. My impression at the moment is that this is all a bit ad hoc.
 

Ryanpat

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Which is why I wanted to keep it simple!! Thanks for your comments I think will as I said earlier ‘shelve the idea’
 

LBCarpentry

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As others have said. Producing your own bifold doors is nothing but a PITA.

We stopped doing them last year after multiple call backs to a set of oak ones we made. Constant shrinking and expanding. Never again. Get aluminium.
 

Steve_Scott

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Trevanion":24ij9utm said:
You can, but it's ridiculously expensive. Since Accoya became as popular as it has, hardware manufacturers have been playing catch-up to make loads of different 316 marine-grade stainless hardware as it's the only thing that Accoya won't corrode in a matter of days aside from solid brass.
What are they treating Accoya with to make it so aggressive?
 

Woody2Shoes

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Steve_Scott":1gwkjdoq said:
Trevanion":1gwkjdoq said:
You can, but it's ridiculously expensive. Since Accoya became as popular as it has, hardware manufacturers have been playing catch-up to make loads of different 316 marine-grade stainless hardware as it's the only thing that Accoya won't corrode in a matter of days aside from solid brass.
What are they treating Accoya with to make it so aggressive?

They acetylize the timber and there are residues of acetic acid aka vinegar which you can smell.
 

Trevanion

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Wot W2S said!

From the Accoya Spreadsheet:
Fasteners & other metal hardware Like most durable woods, Accoya® contains a small amount of acid. It is therefore strongly recommended that hardware in direct contact with Accoya® is corrosion-resistant high-quality A2 or A4 (304 or 316) stainless steel. Brass, chrome-plated, aircraft anodized aluminum or proprietary epoxy or ceramic-coated fasteners may be a suitable alternative for non-structural applications. Zinc plated or galvanized steel are not recommended. Metal corrosion can be substantially reduced if direct contact between metals and Accoya® wood is avoided. This can be achieved by

  • Coating the wood and/or the metal with an acid-resistant coating, sealer, or other protective layer.
  • Physically isolating hardware from direct contact such as the use of plastic (or stainless steel) spacers.

Enclosed areas containing metals, such as around lock rebates, should also be sealed (for example with epoxy) even if there will not be direct metal contact to reduce the risk of accelerated condensation related corrosion.
I'm not sure if I've just got used to the smell or if it isn't as bad as it used to be, I swear it used to be a hell of a lot stronger smell a few years ago and people used to comment "Have you been eating fish 'n chips again, fat boy?" but I don't seem to get so many comments about it anymore either.
 
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