Exterior Wood Finish

Exterior Wood Finish

Great ideas and designs for exterior building finished in wood.

Craftsman Style

¶ Under the heading of exterior joinery, we propose to say something about the construction of verandas, cornices, etc. Properly, the first point considered in this connection is the quality of wood used for the purpose. It is requisite that the kind of wood chosen should be naturally durable, and as free from incidental defections as possible, such as shakes, knot-holes, etc., and at the same time of such a degree of solidity as is consistent with economy in converting it into the forms and details adopted in exterior finish.

¶ Of all the woods with which this continent abounds, none is more universally used for external mouldings, cornices, and brackets, than the well-known white pine. The readiness with which it can be cut, planed, and moulded; its lightness, the ease with which it can be secured by nails, screws, and glue, together with its durability, make it a favorite in all sections where it can readily be procured by importation. It grows in great abundance in Canada, in portions of the Northern States from Maine to Oregon, extending as far South as Virginia.

¶ From this it follows that its transportation to the most remote sections of the country is easily accomplished over the great national thoroughfare, the Mississippi River and its tributaries, and through the interior by the numerous railroads. Hence, with the exception of some of the inland poplar districts of Ohio and Indiana, the cypress regions of Louisiana, and a portion of the Gulf States where yellow pine prevails, we find all over the United States the preference awarded to white pine for outside joinery. We may also remark by the way, that it is an excellent timber for the framing of roofs and floors of large span, owing to its lightness and rigidity; the liability to sag by its own weight being small in comparison with any other timber.

¶ In the Carolinas and the Gulf States, the yellow pine of the country is used for the purposes under consideration, but for the best class of buildings white pine is often imported. The same may be said of Louisiana, where cypress is the ruling timber, and of parts of Indiana and Ohio, where yellow poplar grows in remarkable abundance.

¶ These four species of wood - white pine, yellow pine, cypress, and yellow poplar - are, with a very few exceptions, the materials employed in all the exterior woodwork taking the name of joinery in the United States. Sometimes, for Gothic buildings, oak, walnut, and yellow pine may be used for the barge and eave finish, with very pretty effect, no paint being applied, but merely a stain to give the natural color of the wood a little more depth, and on this a coat of oil, and sometimes a coat or two of varnish of a nature calculated to resist the action of the weather. In such cases the edges of the window-frames and the sash should be of the same material, or at least should correspond in color.

¶ For floors exposed to the weather, any of the above woods, well chosen, are recommended, and we may add ash to the list. In former times, great partiality was shown for this wood for interior floors, particularly of halls and dining rooms, on account of its purity of appearance and the ease with which it is cleansed; latterly, it is not much sought for any of these purposes; but we drop the hint for the benefit of the localities where it abounds, being well assured that, aside from the difficulty of working, it is an excellent material.

¶ Exterior woodwork does not require that fineness of execution that is so desirable in inside joinery. The points to be gained are correctness of outline and sufficient smoothness of surface to cast off water and receive paint evenly. Hence, mouldings worked by machinery, or brackets sawed by a carefully managed jig-saw, are usually smooth enough, if cut from wood of a moderate degree of solidity, to put up as they come from the mill.

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