FAQs

Please click on a topic to reveal the most frequently asked questions.

General Cypress Questions

– Where can I buy cypress?

Please follow this link, where you’ll find Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association members.
– Is cypress approved for local building codes?

Cypress can be used for a non-structural, decorative, or siding material anywhere. Some areas may require the span tables we now have before allowing use as structural members.
– Where can I find design values for cypress?

Design values can be found on the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association’s website, by clicking here.
– Is cypress naturally decay resistant?

Cypress contains cypressene, a naturally occurring preservative that protects the tree from decay and insects.
– Is cypress a good choice for wood flooring?

Because cypress is a softwood, a hard finish should be applied and maintained to ensure against marring and gouging.
– What is the difference between medium and light pecky cypress?

Pecky cypress refers to timber with holes throughout. Pecky from sinker cypress tends to have large, rough holes, classified as heavy, due to lengthy water submersion. Medium means there are concentrated, yet mixed hole sizes. Light refers to shallow pecky. Regardless, all pecky cypress is beautiful, durable, and shares the same properties of regular cypress.
– What is sinker cypress? How is it different from standard cypress lumber?

Sinker cypress, as the name implies, is cypress that sunk 100+ years ago while being harvested and is just now being raised and manufactured into lumber. A large part of it will be heart and very resistant to rot and decay. Regular cypress lumber sawn today is faster growing and has less heart due to smaller timber.
– Is cypress a good decking material?

Yes! For visible portions of your deck, select-grade cypress will yield the most attractive appearance. For your deck’s structural requirements, any cypress graded #2 or better should be sufficient. For more information, see our Installing a Cypress Deck guidelines.

Sustainability

– Is cypress a sustainable building product? Yes, based on information from the United States Forestry Department, more cypress is grown than harvested. Please read our Sustainability Statement. – Can I buy certified cypress? We currently have three members who can provide certified cypress. They are: Acadian Cypress and Hardwoods, Anderson-Tully Lumber Company, and Atlanta Hardwood Corporation.

Siding and Paneling

– How often do I need to need to stain or reseal cypress siding?

Cypress takes stains very well; however, semi-transparent stains do not last as long as paint systems. Most semi-transparent stains will provide adequate protection for only 18 to 24 months depending on weather conditions. Consequently, they require reapplication at regular intervals to protect the wood siding from warping, checking, shrinking, and loosening of nails. Where it is desired to leave wood in its natural state, it should be brushed on all sides and edges with a quality clear water repellent preservative (preferably with an anti-fungal additive). Allow the water repellent to be absorbed and dry to the touch so the solvent will not react with foam sheathing. Clear coating must be re-applied at frequent intervals to maintain protection.
– Should I clean cypress siding before I stain it?

Before finishing, repair all nail holes and surface irregularities. All surfaces should be clean and caulking should be in good condition. Seasoned cypress siding should be finished promptly at the time of installation to protect against moisture absorption, discoloration from rain, and mildew. However under no circumstance should siding be finished when it is wet.
– What’s the best way to best maintain cypress siding?

A transparent stain can be used to allow the natural wood grain to be visible and should be reapplied every 3-5 years, based on the amount of direct sunlight exposure. If left to natural weathering (graying), a clear penetrating sealer should be applied every 3-5 years to give the wood a water repellant finish. It is wise to wash down the exterior siding and trim with a mild bleach solution to kill any fungus and mold that would otherwise be trapped under the new coating. When it comes to selecting a finish, consult a local retailer and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
– What type of stain is best for cypress paneling?

It depends on the desired finish. Many prefer to retain the natural look of cypress, with a clear sealer, or a translucent stain with a clear hard finish over it.

Cleaning and Maintenance

– How do I remove water stains from cypress paneling?

Light sanding and applying a light stain offers the best results.
– How can I treat rough natural cypress beams to keep them from cracking or splitting?

This is a natural occurrence as the moisture in the timber dries out. Sealing the ends of the timber will help some. Some suggest air drying and acclimating the timbers prior to use.
– How can I restore cypress beams that are cracking or splitting?

Fill the cracks or splits with wood putty.
– How can I maintain the natural look of cypress without
darkening, staining, or introducing a shiny finish (such as varnish)?

Use a clear sealer or a low sheen lacquer spray for interior applications. For outdoors, it’s best to consult your local paint store for ideas.
– How do you clean cypress siding, decking, etc. that has mildew?

Apply a mild solution of bleach and water using a pressure washer (low setting). Let the solution soak for 15 minutes and rinse thoroughly.
Allow the cypress to dry for at least a week. When it is dry, you may re-stain. If you live in a hot and/or high-humidity climate, it’s recommended to use a latex-based stain, as opposed to a linseed oil stain.

Restoration

– How do I clean cypress porch boards that have a dark gray color?

It’s best to use a pressure washer (low pressure) with a deck cleaner or a mixture of bleach and water.
– How can I repair warped or stained cypress siding?

Replacement is the easiest and most economical option.

Outdoors

– How do I refinish or seal old cypress posts, without painting?

Sand and apply a high-quality sealer.
– What stains and/or sealers do you recommend for refinishing a cypress bench?

It’s best to use a high-quality translucent or solid stain or sealer after cleaning and sanding.

Miscellaneous Applications

– Can I use cypress paneling in a sauna?

Vertical grain, heart cypress would be suitable.

Membership Questions

– How do I become a member of the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association?

To become a member of the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association, please call 412.323.9320, and we’ll send you a membership application.

Please note that membership is limited to firms and corporations engaged in the manufacture of Southern Cypress solid wood products and veneers, as well as those in the business of further processing these products with the intent to sell.

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