Don't be fooled by a dishonest fence contractor!
We are ashamed that many fence contractors are now passing #2 grade cedar pickets off as #1 grade cedar!
Evidence indicates they will tell you they are bidding #1 cedar in conversation, and fail to indicate this in writing on their contracts. Many contracts simply describe "cedar" as the wood to be installed. This is NOT specific enough and most trusting homeowners do not catch it until its too late. When comparing bids to someone who is genuinely using #1 cedar, the counterfeit #2 will always be a lower price. If you THINK you are getting #1 and you're really getting #2, your bid will be artificially lower and more attractive. This is what this article is written for. Hopefully we catch you in time!
Our most recent call came from a family in Frisco Texas with a brand new 8' tall, board on board fence that they hated. They asked us to go out and give our professional opinion as to what their options were. The fence pickets were full of large knots and blemishes and they were enlightened by a neighbor that it may not be #1 cedar. This led her to call Hancock Fence to find out.
A CRASH COURSE IN CEDAR PICKET GRADES:
"Grading" is based on overall quantity and size of knots, knot holes, blemishes, cracks, checks and irregularities. Humans used to grade lumber but now it is faster and more consistent for laser scanners input with data and limits to scan and sort each board. (Disclaimer: Different lumber mills and different parts of the country all have their own way of grading and doing business. Below is a general observation of 25 years experience in our area and materials we have to deal with).
Basically there are 4 grades of cedar pickets common in our region. (Starting from lowest to highest)
#3 Cedar : This is a low grade cedar not commonly found at retailers. It can be found at wholesalers, although not typical, but it's out there.
#2 Cedar : Most abundant and most common. Lowe's, Home Depot and most other lumberyards have plenty of this on hand. There are many sub-grades in the #2 category so labels and tags must be observed closely.
#2 Cedar 1-F : Only one side or "face" of the board is graded. #1 and Clear pickets are removed.
#2 Cedar 2-F : Two faces of the board are graded. #1 and Clear pickets are removed.
#2 Cedar 2-F - BTR : Two faces graded, #2 quality and BETTER (BTR). This will contain some #1 and some clear.
#2 Cedar 2-F - NPS : NO PRIOR SELECT (NPS). This is the entire tree with a mix of #2, #1 and clear. No grades lower than #2 are allowed. This is a great option since the better boards are included HOWEVER the ratio varies wildly depending on the diameter and overall size and health of the tree harvested. This is commonly available at HD and Lowes.
#1 Grade Cedar : This is always 2 face graded and has fewer and smaller knots than #2 cedar.
Clear Cedar : This is the premium cut from the center (heart) of the tree. It is 99% knot free. The 1% may be one knot about the size of a #2 pencil eraser. Very small, hardly noticeable, and never causes any problems. Clear Cedar is only available at wholesale fence supplies. Typically not available to the public, the photo below is clear cedar.
Easily distinguishable by the absence of knots.
Now back to our story....
The Frisco family was verbally sold #1 Cedar BUT it was not indicated on the contract. The contract simply stated CEDAR and the homeowner trusted their salesman because he TOLD them #1 cedar. They received #2 or worse and didn't have a leg to stand on because they received what was on their contract. After much back and fourth, the slimy fence company agreed to remove the fence and refund some of their money.
Hancock Fence went in and replaced the fence with a real deal, #1 Grade Cedar and we have another happy customer!
A few tips on how to protect yourself:
1. Once you decide on a builder, make sure the cedar grade is stated clearly, in writing, on your contract.
2. If there is doubt, ask to see lumber tags, wrappers, labels or receipts indicating the cedar grade is what you think it is.
3. Beware of builders that "mix" grades. These guys will buy a small amount of tagged #1 and mix it in with the #2 that they have removed the tags from. There are plenty of ways to shave dollars in this business.... BE CAREFUL!
Pickets that are graded #1 will CLEARLY indicate this on their tags or labels...
Pickets that are graded #2 may say #2 OR they may say nothing as in the photo on the right.
WRC stands for Western Red Cedar. ALTA is one of... if not the largest, producer of cedar pickets in the country. In short... If your pickets are not tagged or labeled #1 then they are NOT!
Due to another (and there has been several) competitor's being caught copying our photos and information to their website and passing our material off as their own work ... let it be known that ALL photos and information contained in this website are the sole private, property of Hancock Fence LLC and are NOT to be used, referenced or copied, by any fence builder for any reason.
If we find a competitor using our photos (and we will) our attorneys will prosecute you to the full extent of the law.
Hancock Fence LLC 2016
Since the fall of 2016 our market has experienced a cedar shortage which has made cedar pickets scarce and hard to find, ESPECIALLY #1 grade cedar!
This has led to plenty of cheating as far as cedar grades go.
Buyer Beware and do your homework!
Call now for a free estimate!(972) 747-9906
The Hancock Family
Dutch, Tyler, and Ryan Hancock
And EVERYONE else here at
Hancock Fence & Fabrication LLC
Office: (972) 747-9906