Smart tips when buying reclaimed lumber


Reclaimed lumber has become popular for many reasons, including durability and environmentally friendly wood projects. To help you get the most out of your reclaimed redwood or douglas fir, we’ve put together some smart tips to help you choose and use it for the best results.

Select With Care

Reclaimed douglas fir is available in multiple grades, and some grades are more suitable for different projects. Choose your reclaimed lumber carefully, with an eye on what you plan to use it for. This can be especially true when you are making unique furniture, headboards, or beams because selecting lumber which displays original milling marks or saw cuts can add historic value to the finished project.

Clean It

Reclaimed lumber was cut decades ago, and has been exposed to the elements or specific materials for most of the intervening time. The Lumber Baron can resurface your lumber for you, but it is still a good idea to clean it well before using it. Not only will remove unwanted dirt, it will also make cutting the lumber easier and less taxing on your saw blades.

Inspect Before You Buy

Look at your chosen reclaimed lumber carefully. Check for loose knots, minor warping and other inconsistencies in the lumber. Having the lumber milled can eliminate minor warps and return the wood’s inner luster. If you notice serious problems in the wood you have chosen, look for another piece or ask one of the staff at The Lumber Baron how to work around the problems. For example, minor splits at one end may not be a problem at all if you need a shorter length than what you have selected.

Ask About History

Reclaimed lumber comes from buildings, bridges, wine vats, and many other sources. Ask about the history of the lumber you are buying so you can add a conversational value to your finished project. Even the best-looking countertop or mantel is more appealing when you can talk about where the wood came from before it got to you.

Because reclaimed lumber is naturally resistant to insects and decay, you are getting a better material to work with from the outset. By inspecting it carefully before you buy and cleaning or resurfacing it before you begin to use it, you will be able to produce high quality wood projects that can last a lifetime– and give you something to talk about in the process.

Posted in reclaimed douglas fir, reclaimed lumber, reclaimed redwood

Cracked Windshield? What to do next

Need a Windshield Replacement? What to do Next

It can happen to anyone, and it doesn’t have anything to do with driving skills. You are driving down the road and suddenly hear that awful sound of something hitting your windshield. The next thing you see is a crack developing from where the impact occurred and you need a windshield replacement.

Cracked windshields are most often the result of auto accidents, but second to that are the flying rocks and debris you encounter as you drive along a freeway, highway, or even those quiet country roads. A cracked windshield cannot be ignored, and it cannot fix itself; it can only get worse.

Dangers of Having a Cracked Windshield

The first danger comes from obstructing your view, but there are other dangers involved with having a windshield with a crack.

  • Easier to shatter during an accident

Your windshield is designed to transfer force from a frontal collision down to the chassis, so you and anyone else in the vehicle experience less impact. If your windshield is cracked, it will shatter easier if you have a front-end accident. The glass will then fly around the inside of your vehicle increasing your risk of severe injuries.

  • Affects Airbag Effectiveness

When you are involved in an accident, your airbag is triggered, and your windshield acts as a backdrop to force the inflated bag towards you as protection. If your windshield is cracked, it is likely it will not be able to withstand the force needed when the airbag deploys. If the windshield cannot direct the airbag back towards you, you could face much more severe injuries in the accident.

These situations are just a couple of reasons; it is so essential to repair a cracked windshield. The best solution is taking your vehicle to a professional such as Dan’s Glass in Concord, CA, but you should also take steps to prevent the crack from getting worse right away.

Windshield Repair Kit

It’s important to prevent the crack from getting worse before you can get your vehicle in for a professional auto glass replacement. One solution you can try is to use a windshield repair kit. There are several kits to choose from that contain an adaptor and special resin. The resin goes into the crack and seals it from weather elements and debris. With your windshield sealed, it reduces stressors on the glass and prevents it from cracking further.

Super Glue

If the crack is small in your windshield, you can apply Super Glue. Force the glue into the crack or spread an even layer over the crack as a temporary fix until you can have your windshield professionally replaced.

Nail Polish

Clear acrylic nail polish has been used by some as a temporary fix to a cracked windshield. This quick fix is not strong enough to withstand rain, extreme heat from the sun, or severe weather, but may get you by until you can take your vehicle to a professional windshield repair service such as Dan’s Glass.

Keep Car Shaded

Summer heat is extremely harsh within your car which can increase the pressure on your windshield. Other factors can increase the risk of a crack spreading such as wind, rain, or other elements, but the pressure from the summer heat is especially dangerous. When ever it is possible, park your car in the shade or inside a garage until you’ve had the windshield professionally replaced.

It doesn’t matter how your windshield cracked; what does matter is how soon you have your windshield replaced or professionally fixed. A cracked windshield will only get worse, putting you at risk while you are out driving, or creating a more expensive fix.

Posted in windshield replacement

Concrete vs Timber Construction in Portland

Oregon has recently adopted an addendum to its building codes that would allow timber construction of tall buildings and is the first state in the U.S. to do so. Historically building codes have prohibited mass timber structures from rising above six stories, but a trend toward and advancements in alternative materials has spurred interest in timber construction. Commercial concrete contractors in Portland and others in the construction industry await the outcomes of these new projects and look forward to future endeavors that could potentially combine concrete, steel, and timber in new ways.

Proponents of timber construction

One of the more common forms of timber construction utilizes cross-laminated timber (CLT), which is an engineered wood panel consisting of three, five, or seven layers of kiln-dried boards that are positioned perpendicular to one another and glued together. This cross lamination technique works to provide stability, strength, and rigidity to the wood panels. Proponents of CLT tout its design flexibility as it can be engineered for specific applications, its fast installation and cost-effectiveness, and its environmental advantages. The latter benefit is related to the thermal performance of thicker CLT panels and the aim of CLT being manufactured with wood from sustainably managed forests. Additionally, CLT construction can lead to less waste, as the panels are produced for specific applications and any leftover materials can be repurposed for other building features such as stairs or used as biofuel.

The potential of traditional and alternative materials

As timber towers begin to dot city skylines, there are those in the construction industry who wonder how alternative building materials will measure up to steel and concrete. Concrete is a mainstay of commercial construction and is the building material that made skyscrapers possible due to its versatility, compressive strength, and seismic performance when reinforced with steel rebar. Concrete also has the benefits of very low heat transfer properties and of being a non-flammable material. In addition, more environmentally-conscious concrete mixtures have been developed in the recent years that include recycled materials in place of virgin aggregates and alternative mixtures for traditional Portland cement, both of which are components of concrete that can be resource-intensive to produce. These advancements in concrete production combined with the developments in timber construction have the potential to create taller, safer, more energy-efficient buildings in cities across the U.S.

The Conco Companies’ mission is to be the best supplier of concrete services in the Western U.S. and to bring expertise and incomparable quality to each project. We continue to upgrade and expand our facilities to better serve the growing market for commercial, educational, parking structures, public works projects, and other development. Contact us to learn more about the services from one of the most trusted concrete contractors in Portland.

Posted in Commercial concrete contractor in Portland, cross-laminated timber, rebar

Unique uses of concrete in the Bay Area: concrete wine vats

The pastoral scene many envision when they think of California wine country may not traditionally include concrete, but for many winemakers concrete is as much a part of their wines as the grape varietals they grow. As unique and unlikely as it is to think of commercial concrete contractors in the Bay Area in the context of winemaking, the increasing prevalence of concrete wine vats used in the fermentation and aging of wines is changing the scene.

Alternative wine vessels

Until the past several years, the most prevalent materials for creating and storing wines have been oak or stainless steel. The former is valued for its ability to allow the wine to naturally oxygenate during fermentation and lend that characteristic “oaky” flavor and mouthfeel, while the latter is prized for its neutral preservation of the flavor of the fruit and its hermetic containment of the wine. Oak barrels and stainless steel vats, however, also have drawbacks. Oak barrels have the potential to impart unintended flavors to the wine or foster bacterial growth if not cleaned properly. Additionally, fewer wine drinkers are opting for “oaky” wines in general. Stainless steel vats, on the other hand, while a thoroughly neutral presence as the wine ferments, ages, and takes on its flavor profile, require a careful oxygenation process and careful temperature control for the wine to properly ferment. As a result, concrete-raised wines, or wines fermented and aged in concrete, is an alternative growing in popularity for both winemakers and wine enthusiasts.

The benefits of concrete

Concrete has long had a presence in the world of winemaking, from the ancient Greek and Roman amphorae that was composed of a nascent form of concrete to today’s impressive winery caves reinforced with shotcrete. The properties of concrete that make it ideal for these purposes also make it a perfect material for vessels used to ferment and age wines. Concrete can be cast in a multitude of forms, including the massive cubes, pyramids, or egg-shaped containers that winemakers use. The interior surface of these concrete wine vats can be smoothed and rounded to encourage the natural circulation of the wine during the fermentation process, requiring less intervention from winemakers. Additionally, that surface is porous, with microscopic air pockets that gradually oxygenate the wine, a process winemakers value for developing a round mouthfeel in the finished product. Further, concrete is known for its thermal properties, and in the context of winemaking, this means concrete-raised wines benefit from consistent, stable temperatures which control yeast growth. One of the most important characteristics of concrete for winemakers, though, is that it creates a genuinely neutral vessel that allows the fruit and its terroir to be the only flavors in the wine.  

Conco is a leading supplier of concrete services for the Western United States.  As one of the leading commercial concrete contractors in the Bay Area, we have been involved with large-scale projects in the area including the new 49ers Stadium.  Our concrete services include commercial, educational, parking and other construction development as well as public works projects and highways.

Posted in Commercial Concrete Contractors Bay Area, Shotcrete, winery caves

Weekend Project: Reclaimed Wood Barn Door

reclaimed-lumber-barn-door-the-lumber-baronBuilding a barn door out of reclaimed lumber is a great weekend project. Reclaimed cedar, redwood, and Douglas fir are all ideal choices for barn door materials, and some of your salvaged wood may come with a history of similar use. Whether you are looking for a natural wood patina or hardy lumber able to stand up to harsh winters and hot summers, reclaimed lumber makes the perfect choice.

Cedar Doors

Cedar lumber has been a favorite barn door material for more than a century, standing up to the test of time without spitting, warping, or succumbing to pests. Whether you prefer the original faded patina or want to resurface the cedar for a brand new look, Western red cedar is a popular and lasting choice.

Old Growth is Best

Salvaged wood originally cut from old growth forests is considered prime material for barn doors. It allows you the confidence of sturdy construction while providing a natural appearance that can only be achieved through decades of use. And because reclaimed lumber tends to be much denser than today’s fresh-cut options, it is easier to work without chipping, splintering, or splitting.

History in the Making

Another benefit of using reclaimed lumber for a new barn door is the historic value of the material. Taken from decommissioned bridges, factories, barns and tanks, hand-selected reclaimed lumber adds a bit of Americana to your project. Not only will your door have built-in longevity, it will even carry a bit of conversational value.

Milling and Finishing

Reclaimed lumber can be milled for a clean, fresh surface, stained to preserve the natural grain of the wood, or painted for a personal flourish. Depending on the material you select, how you finish the final product will make a difference, such as preserving original milling marks or milling the wood to match demanding specifications.

Reclaimed barn door material is also great use throughout your home renovation projects. From shelving to furniture, reclaimed lumber taken from decommissioned barns all over the western United States can make a fashion statement inside or outside your home.


Posted in cedar lumber, reclaimed lumber | Tagged ,

LEED Building Certifications and Concrete

New developments and buildings spring up in Seattle every day. In many of these new structures people may notice a LEED Green Building certification on the wall, but some may wonder what it means to receive this award? There are several pathways to the certification, and commercial concrete contractors in Seattle often have a hand in a building qualifying due to concrete’s sustainable characteristics and its environmentally-beneficial uses in building design.

What is the LEED certification?

The Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Building Certification is a designation given to new or existing buildings that prioritize sustainable and environmentally-friendly choices in their design and construction process. The certification is awarded based on a point system and is broken into five areas: Building Design and Construction, Interior Design and Construction, Building Operations and Maintenance, Neighborhood Development, and Homes. The certification has multiple levels that correspond with the amount of points a building has collected, with 40-49 points earning the base certification, 50-59 points earning Silver, 60-79 points earning Gold, and 80 points or more earning Platinum. The points are awarded for various characteristics or processes in building design and construction, such as use of sustainable materials, water-efficiency, energy performance, or indoor environmental quality.  

Concrete’s Natural Qualities

Concrete can be a great asset in building design and construction as developers and contractors work toward a LEED certification. By its nature concrete optimizes energy performance in buildings because of its high thermal mass which leads to thermal stability in the structure. Concrete is also known for its superior strength, so its use in taller vertical structures allows designers to forgo columns and other interior floor space obstructions, which means more natural light can suffuse the interior space, increasing indoor environmental quality and decreasing lighting energy usage.

Sustainably-Designed Concrete

Concrete and its use in buildings can also be specifically engineered to increase its sustainable qualities. The aggregate in poured concrete or shotcrete mixtures can be sourced from recycled materials, or sourced from regional materials that are found near the construction site, thus reducing CO2 emissions from transportation. Old concrete can be reused for retaining walls or crushed and used as a pavement base. To increase water-efficiency and sustainable stormwater management, pervious concrete can be used for large horizontal slabs like parking lots to allow rainwater to flow through the concrete to the soil below.

The Conco Companies’ mission is to be the best supplier of concrete services in the Western U.S. and to bring expertise and incomparable quality to each project. We continue to upgrade and expand our facilities to better serve the growing market for commercial, educational, parking structures, public works projects, and other development. Contact us to learn more about the services from one of the most trusted concrete contractors in Seattle.

Posted in LEED Building Certification, Shotcrete | Tagged ,

Spring Cleaning: Windows

Young Smiling Woman Washing Window With Sponge. Happy Beautiful

When spring comes, it brings warmer weather, and air filled with fresh, clean breezes. It’s a time to open your windows and clear the air in your home. The problem; however, is your residential glass  and windows have gotten dirty over the previous season and have collected grime and dirt you do not want entering your house.

There are ways to prevent this from happening. Before you open your windows to enjoy the fresh spring scents; turn your dingy, dirty windows into clean, perfect windows. If you have windows that are located high up in your home, you may want to consider hiring professional window cleaning services and bring that sparkle back to your windows this spring.

Cleaning materials

When you set out to clean the windows in lower levels or those that are safe to reach; begin by putting your cleaning materials together:

  • Squeegee, brush, and sponge for scrubbing
  • Bucket
  • Large towels
  • Soft-bristled brush for dusting
  • Cleaning products, commercial strength (optional)

Cleaning solutions

You can create your own cleaning solution if you want to use something more than just water and something that has a bit more power to cut through the dirt and grime. Sometimes you need to use a cleaning product stronger than commercial cleaners, so you can combine two gallons of water with a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid mixed with equal parts of water and white vinegar for those tougher jobs.

Before you start cleaning

When you clean your residential glass windows; the time of day or the weather conditions are essential to achieving a beautiful, sparkling window. You do not want the sun to be shining directly onto them so a cloudy day will give you the best results. When the sun shines directly on your glass, it allows the cleaning liquid to dry to fast which causes streaks and water spots.

Brush and sweep

Before you begin applying any washing solutions or water mixtures to your windows, you want to get rid of all the dirt, dust, or other debris that has collected inside of the sills. Sweep the debris away by using a soft brush, so you don’t knock loose any cobwebs or more dirt onto your windows. Clean all the frames, tracks, sills, and hinges.

Use the right tools

If you are cleaning multi-paned windows, you will find a sponge or brush works well, and for picture windows, a squeegee works better. The squeegee is a great tool for both drying and washing your windows. Wipe horizontally or in a Z-pattern for your picture windows, and vertically from top to bottom for the multi-paned windows.

You want to maintain contact with the glass when wiping away liquids, so it is important to keep the squeegee blade against the surface, so you don’t create any streaks. The squeegee should also be kept clean, so after each stroke, you need to wipe the squeegee blade.

If you have developed stubborn stains on your windows, try pre-washing or additional scrubbing with a mineral deposit removing cleaner or pure vinegar to remove them before cleaning.

Finish your window cleaning project by removing and vacuuming your screens to get rid of any dirt or dust. A soft cloth or sponge is excellent for cleaning off your screens along with a little warm water after you have vacuumed them. Allow to dry before replacing them in your windows.

Clean windows provide you with a great view and by taking a little time a couple times a year, you can keep your windows sparkling. Create a routine to clean your windows at least twice a year to help reduce the buildup of dirt and debris and improve the looks of your home’s beauty.



Posted in residential glass, Uncategorized | Tagged ,