The right grade makes all the difference… an introduction to Redwood Grades
Redwood grades fall into two major categories – heartwood and sapwood. Heartwood comes from the center and has the warm red color that gives redwood its name. Sapwood comes from the outer areas and has some red but primarily cream-colored wood. The next major factor in grading is the number and size of knots in the wood. The fewer the knots, the higher the grade.
The architectural grades of redwood include Clear All Heart, Clear, Heart Clear, Heart B and B Grade. These grades are normally for the finest exterior and interior architectural uses. No other wood equals these finish grades in beauty and dimensional stability. They are the choice grades for siding, paneling, trim and cabinetry where attractiveness and tight joinery are desired.
The garden grades of redwood include Deck Heart, Construction Heart, Deck Common, Construction Common, Merchantable Heart, and Merchantable. These grades are frequently specified for exterior structures where knots or other characteristics have little or no effect.
So which grade is the right one for your project?
All redwood is structurally sound and provides lasting character; but there are some important things to remember. For uses where the wood will be on or near soil, such as posts, bulkheads, patio grids or garden boxes, it’s essential to use one of the durable, heartwood grades – Clear All Heart, Heart B, Deck Heart, Construction Heart or Merchantable Heart. Reddish-brown heartwood from the inner portion of the tree contains compounds that make it naturally resistant to insects and decay.
For construction above ground where there is little danger of insect or decay issues, one of the sapwood grades – Clear, B Grade, Deck Common, Construction Common or Merchantable – will serve very well.
So if you’re thinking about enhancing your outdoor living space – a deck, fence, shade structure, play area, or just a simple garden planter box – you can’t go wrong choosing naturally strong, naturally beautiful Mendocino Redwood. And to make sure you get the best long-lasting results, be sure to choose the right grade. For more information see our Redwood Lumber Grades and Uses page.