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20 09, 2018

The Difference in Wood Pellet Quality

By |September 20th, 2018|Wood Pellets|Comments Off on The Difference in Wood Pellet Quality

There is no question that pellet stoves are one of the most efficient ways to heat your home. They use an inexpensive fuel and the emissions are often less than 1 gram per hour. They are an excellent method for heating a room or even an entire house for far less than if you use gas or electric for heat.

Wood Pellet Stove Fuel

The most common fuel for pellet stoves is wood pellets that are available in standard and premium grade. They are sold nationwide in 20 to 40 lb. bags. If you look at wood pellets they resemble rabbit food in appearance. They offer an excellent source of home heating and over the past several years they have grown in popularity since heating with pellets is cheaper than using gas or electricity.

Premium Wood Pellets For Fuel

There are various grades of wood pellets that are used for fuel. The highest standard of pellets and often more expensive are premium wood pellets. These are typically produced from the sawdust waste produced from timber production. They produce ash below 0.5%.

Only certain materials can be used in order to produce premium wood pellets. For instance, the wood typically used is spruce, pine or oak. The wood must also contain little or no bark, as bark will increase the ash percentage of the pellets beyond the limit acceptable to call the pellets premium grade.

Standard Grade Wood Pellets

If you think about what is left after the premium grade wood stock has been removed, what you still have is a majority of woody biomass available that often ends up in landfill sites. The wood waste from forestry management will come from various species of wood with bark included. This wood is also used to produce fuel pellets. The ash content will be slightly higher than found with premium pellets, therefore these are called standard grade fuel.

The Growth Of The Pellet Fuel Market

Pellet stoves are very efficient and mainly this is because the fuel is uniform. There is a natural variance in the density of pellet fuel. Density may vary slightly by brand or even by the bag. You can be confident that all of our manufacturers are committed to producing a consistent, high-quality pellet.

Get the Most Out of Your Pellet Stove

When it comes time to start up your pellet stove to warm your home, don’t forget to do some much-needed pellet stove maintenance to ensure you get the most out of your wood pellet stove. Cleaning of your exhaust as well as fans and around your auger motor will extend the life and efficiency of your pellet stove, and it will help to maximize the correct burn from your pellets.


5 10, 2016

NYS Building Codes have Changed Effective October 1, 2016

By |October 5th, 2016|Building Codes|Comments Off on NYS Building Codes have Changed Effective October 1, 2016

NYS Building Codes

Emergency Escape and Rescue Openings Required;  Basements …

If you are a builder or contractor in New York State you are probably already aware that as of October 1, 2016 changes were made to the building code as we currently know it.  The code is now updated to the 2015 International Building Code (IBC) along with NYS Building Standards and Codes 2016 Uniform Code Supplement. From that code, most of us most often refer to the International Residential Code (IRC) for One- and Two-family Dwellings.  

With regard to basements, Building Code already required that habitable basement spaces have an Emergency Egress Window System that provides direct access to the outdoors. This portion of that code remains the same, paraphrased as follows;

Any habitable space and all sleeping rooms in basement must have a second means of Egress with a minimum open area of 5.7 sq. ft. with a minimum height of 24 inches and a minimum width of 20 inches and cannot be more than 44 inches off the floor. Emergency escape and rescue openings shall be operational from the inside of the room without the use of keys or tools.

Here is the 2015 IBC/IRC version:

R310.1 Emergency escape and rescue opening required.

Basement Emergency escape windowsBasements … shall have not less than one operable emergency escape and rescue opening.  Where basements contain one or more sleeping rooms, an emergency escape and rescue opening shall be required in each sleeping room….

So if there is a basement with sleeping quarters which contains an emergency egress does that fulfill the requirements of Section R310?  That’s something on which we’ll be seeking clarification.  But here is what is offered relative to additions and alterations or repairs.

Section R310.5 Dwelling Additions

Where dwelling additions occur that contain sleeping rooms, an emergency escape and rescue opening shall be provided in each new sleeping room.  Where dwelling additions occur that have basements, an emergency escape and rescue opening shall be provided in the new basement.


  1. An emergency escape and rescue opening is not required in a new basement that contains a sleeping room with an emergency escape and rescue opening.
  2. An emergency escape and rescue opening is not required in a new basement where there is an emergency escape and rescue opening in an existing basement that is accessible from the new basement.

R310.6 Alterations or repairs of existing basements

An emergency escape and rescue opening is not required where existing basements undergo alterations or repairs.

Exception: New sleeping rooms created in an existing basement shall be provided with emergency escape and rescue openings in accordance with Section R310.1.

Conditions requiring emergency escape and rescue openings from a basement have changed slightly.  The requirements for emergency escape and rescue openings remain very similar and will be addressed in our follow-up post to include:

Emergency escape and rescue openings

  • Minimum Opening Area
  • Window sill height
  • Window wells

Emergency escape and rescue doors

  • Minimum door opening size
  • Bulkhead enclosures

For those familiar with the code book, see pg. 62 of 2015 International Residential Code, SECTION R310 EMERGENCY ESCAPE AND RESCUE OPENINGS.

Supporting Builders and Contractors Since 1939

Secor Lumber has been supporting builders and contractors in the Upstate New York Finger Lakes Region since 1939.  If you are a builder or contractor in the Rochester, Geneva, Canandaigua, Auburn, Waterloo, or Syracuse area, we invite you to consider Secor Lumber as your go-to building partner for complete design, supply and builder/contractor support services.

IF YOU ARE A HOMEOWNER and have questions about the information in this article, please contact your local town code enforcement officer for information as it pertains to you and your location. Secor Lumber cannot answer questions or provide end-user homeowner support on this topic.

26 09, 2016

RSS Rugged Structural Screw

By |September 26th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on RSS Rugged Structural Screw

GRK’s RSS Rugged Structural Screw is made out of Climate coated and hardened steel. Its sharp threads and point bite instantly into any wood product (including hardwood), reducing the splitting effect caused by smaller shanks. There are no sharp edges on its washer type head like conventional lag screws.

The RSS screw is made of specially hardened steel to provide you with torque, high tensile, and shear strength. RSS screws which are 3″1/8 and longer have a six threaded CEE thread that enlarges the screw hole for the non-threaded portion of the fastener, allowing the wood to settle easily. It also increases the screw’s drawing strength. It is the CEE thread that works to reduce the likelihood of splitting the wood and reduce the friction on the screw shank that can result in lowering the driving torque.

Our round head with built-in shield (washer type head) has no sharp edges such as on conventional lag screws. The added shoulder (nominal diameter) underneath the washer has the ability to center the RSS screw in pre-drilled hardware like connector plates and hinges. Short lengths of the RSS may also be used to install wire diamond mesh for stucco buildings.

The RSS Rugged Structural screw is the only lag screw replacement of its kind.

20 09, 2016

Pratt & Lambert Paint Products

By |September 20th, 2016|Paints|Comments Off on Pratt & Lambert Paint Products

Pratt & Lambert products never compromise paint colors & quality. They continue to deliver with innovative products that work for today’s top designers as well as style conscious consumers. Here is a look at just a few of the newest products offered by Pratt & Lambert.

Primer Zero Voc Latex Paint

For a great finish you need to start with Primer Zero Voc Latex. It’s low order formulation and even coat coverage makes for a smooth finish. It is also great for priming in occupied areas and dries to the touch in just one hour and a second coat can be applied in just four hours.

Redseal Zero VOC Paint

For a top coat that is perfect with both beauty and value you can’t go wrong with Pratt & Lambert Redseal Zero VOC. It features a low oder, splatter free application with volatile organic compounds. This paint resists stains, marring and mildew while offering excellent hide coverage and durability that Pratt and Lambert customers have come to expect.

Accolade Performance Paint

If you are looking for a way to express your own personal style Pratt & Lambert Accolade Interior Paint + Primer is perfect for you. It is their finest interior paint and is formulated to go on smoothly and provide a rich, luxurious coating for a beautiful, stunning finish. The 100% acrylic formula is durable and easy to maintain.

No matter the painting project the quality of Pratt and Lambert paints are sure to give you professional, quality results without breaking the bank. With over 1,000 color swatches to choose from there is no problem in finding the exact color you are looking for with your projects.


29 08, 2016

Zip System Wall Sheathing Tape

By |August 29th, 2016|Post Frame Buildings NY|Comments Off on Zip System Wall Sheathing Tape

This is a one-of-a-kind structural roof and wall system with a built-in energy-efficient barrier that keeps moisture out and reduces air leakage. It installs in only two easy steps. First, install the panels, and second, tape the seams. Fewer steps result in 40% faster installation when compared to traditional housewrap and felt.

The ZIP System Sheathing is designed specifically to address the growing need for building performance, comfort and energy efficiency and is the only all-in-one solution that delivers the strength, durability and efficiency of engineered wood while sealing out air and water.

 Key Features and Components of ZIP System® Sheathing and Tape

  1. High quality structural sheathing panel made of engineered wood delivers strength and durability.
  2. Built-in vapor permeable water-resistive barrier eliminates the hassles of house wrap and felt. Engineered for enhanced drainage of bulk water and optimal permeability to allow water vapor to pass through and promote drying.
  3. A continuous, rigid air barrier decreases unwanted air leakage for greater energy efficiency.
  4. ZIP System™ tape with a specially engineered, high performance acrylic adhesive bonds with ZIP System® panels for a permanent protective seal.

26 06, 2016

Celect Siding vs. Fiber Cement Siding

By |June 26th, 2016|Residential Siding|Comments Off on Celect Siding vs. Fiber Cement Siding

A Closer Look at an Elegant Fiber Cement Siding Alternative

Most people are aware of vinyl siding for their homes and businesses. It is a product that is inexpensive comes in a variety of colors and it has been around for quite a while. There are however other types of products that by far have a greater esthetic appeal like you would find in materials such as cedar siding. These two different types of siding are Fiber Cement and Celect siding. While both of these sidings offer much more that what you would find in traditional vinyl siding they are constructed from very different materials from one another and therefore, have different advantages.

In appearance fiber cement most often consists of overlapping horizontal boards that imitate what you find in wood siding, and clapboard. Fiber cement cladding is a very heavy product and requires at least two people to carry uncut sheets. Thin fiber cement cladding is also fragile before installation. It is a material that has to be handled carefully as it is prone to chipping and breakage if handled improperly. Even after sheets have been cut you still need two individuals to install it. This type of material offers it own challenges because it can be hard to cut. Cutting fiber cement cladding sheets usually requires a mechanized saw with a diamond blade (masonry blade) or metal hand shears. Fiber cement offers external cladding products that require very little maintenance once installed and painted. The thicker and more dense fiber cement product have excellent impact.

Celect Siding NYSDimensionally Stable. Easy to Install.

Celect siding is a no-compromise combination of wood grain aesthetics, low maintenance, durability and structural integrity. One of the nicest features of Celect is that the siding is not only dimensionally stable, it faithfully reproduces the deep grain texture of real wood. The real breakthrough is the seam. Instead of butting together like materials like fiber cement, Celect siding has an innovative, patent pending interlocking joint system. This seam maintains its integrity and because of this, the cellular material is unaffected by moisture, and the seams doesn’t break down over time.

Celect gives you a great look with depth that in the past you could only achieve with wood siding, only this material requires little daily maintenance unlike wood that needs yearly staining and painting. Celect is constructed as an unfinished PVC product that is painted with a kynar finish that is the best for UV protecting protection with minimal fading. Celect is also much more light weight that you find in Fiber cement and doesn’t require specialized equipment or blades to cut it. What this means is that installation is easier because the products is that much more easy to work with. There are a variety of molds, trims, crown molding and more that can be used to give even greater esthetic appeal around windows, edges and corners which increase the curb appeal of your home or business.

When looking between Fiber cement or Celect siding, the choice is simple. While both give you the rich look of wood textures, only Celect siding offers the advances that Fiber cement can’t. Because of easiness to work with, means that it can be installed faster and therefore lowing the cost of installation. The interlocking system ensures you won’t have issues to do moisture getting in behind them that can as you know, will cause water damage over time. Celect offers a superiority on every level that is unmatched.

10 04, 2016

Three Things to Consider When Building A Deck

By |April 10th, 2016|Deck and Patio|Comments Off on Three Things to Consider When Building A Deck

BUILDING A DECK. So you want to add a deck to your house. I’m sure you have visions of relaxing in a hammock, BBQ parties with friends, or relaxing at a patio table with the family not to mention it is a great way extending your outdoor living area. These thoughts are in almost everyone’s mind when they want to build a new deck, but there are some important things to take into consideration before you start building. Remember a large deck will mean large amount of time for up keep, a small deck might not work if you want plenty of room for friendly get together. Following these easy guides will ensure you have the size and type of deck you will enjoy for many years.

Wood Deck vs. Composite Deck Materials

When you look at building a deck or patio, you need to consider the type of material you want to use. There are several different levels of pricing starting with chemically pressure treated boards like pine, and moving up to hardwoods like kwila and wood composite decking boards which are a further up the price spectrum. The pros and cons of these materials are just as important to consider.

For thrifty-minded homeowners, wood is a cost effective material but there is more upkeep from deck washing and staining/sealing. Composite deck materials cost considerable more but the yearly maintenance is much less. You will not have to stain it, paint it, or even do much more than wash it off with the hose when necessary.

In order to make a cost-effective decision it is important to consider which material best fits within your budget and lifestyle and how much up-keep your willing to put into keeping your deck looking good.

Building a Deck: Deck Design Considerations

The days of your deck consisting of just a few parallel wood panels set up in a rectangle or square shape are gone. When you get a custom deck from Secor Lumber in Savannah, NY, our deck designers will discuss placement like near the kitchen, family/living area, or both, and the size and shape of deck you decide to build depends a lot on the available space you have. Take a look at the spot where you think it would fit best and consider things like:

  • How visible is it from passing motorists or neighbors
  • The view from inside your home out to the deck
  • Wind and sun exposure during the times when you are most likely to be out on the deck
  • Available space for doors, furniture, plumbing, and anything else you plan to add to the deck

DIY: Building a Deck Yourself

When it comes to choosing to building a deck, it all starts with asking yourself, do I do it myself or hiring the right professionals for the job. This is a big investment you are making for your home. It pays to hire the right professionals like those at Secor Lumber to do the work. You will not have to worry about long-term risks, liability concerns, or a poorly constructed deck.

When it is done right, the investment in a new deck adds plenty to your home. It also is a safe space that you can use for any need. Take your time to plan and execute this project properly so you can spend all summer showing it off to your friends and neighbors.

Whether you build your outdoor living space to increase your property value, or you just want a space where you can build lasting memories. One of the best ways to measure the true value of a new deck is assessing the value it adds to your life and sense of well being.

14 10, 2015

Pole Barns: Post Frame Building Advantages

By |October 14th, 2015|Post Frame Buildings NY|Comments Off on Pole Barns: Post Frame Building Advantages

Much of the time post frame buildings (pole barns) are overlooked as an option because people don’t realize all the options available to them. You can choose from vinyl, steel, wood, cement board, press board fiber strand are options for exterior siding on a post frame building. They can be made for two story homes, farm buildings with lofts, open hay barns, pavilions, garages, equipment storage buildings and many other pole barn construction projects.

Another advantage to post frame building is the versatility of the building when it comes to the plot of land. A post frame building can be built on uneven ground with less expense than traditional building techniques because a post frame building does not need a foundation. When it comes to post frame buildings, lets look and some of the thing you need to consider.

Pole Barn Construction Affordability

In any building project, cost is always a major consideration. Pole barn construction options in upstate New York are virtually endless. One of the advantages of pole barn construction is that they go up more quickly than conventional construction methods. They require less material for building which translates into lower building cost for you.

One thing to think about is the materials you choose to use can change the price. For example if opt to go with more steel, brick or cement you it will increase the price but overall conventional building would still be more costly.

Post Frame Building Strength

Most people are surprised to learn that post frame construction produces a stronger building than you find with other building methods. Some of the reasons for this durability is:

  • Columns in the ground add to the building’s stability and wind resistance.
  • Horizontally connected posts form a tremendously strong box that adds to wind and seismic resistance.
  • The direct attachment of trusses to the post frame makes it virtually impossible for the roof to detach from the building.
  • The diaphragm effect created by the post-frame structures allows them to flex under stress instead of cracking, crumbling or collapsing like many other structures.

Energy Efficiency of Post Frame Construction

Today’s modern post frame buildings (pole barns) are more airtight, and energy-efficient buildings than ever before. They will accommodate a wide and blanket of unbroken insulation. The wood columns themselves provide R-value and have very low heat conductivity. A cool metal roof has a high solar reflectance and high thermal emittance. This emittance of a material refers to its ability to release absorbed heat.

While steel frame building do suffer from thermal bridging of the steel columns, conducting valuable heat out of the building at a rate 310 times faster than wood. That is why addition, insulation is sandwiched between the outside steel and the framing members, thus compromising its R-value which translates to more savings than you might find with traditional building construction methods.

Post frame building have a very classic look but advances in materials has now made these building take on a very sophisticated look and great visual appeal. They are affordable, last longer and save you money with great energy efficiency. If you are considering to build, you owe it to yourself to get the facts on post frame construction and see if it may be right for your building project.

15 09, 2015

Tyvek Continuous Building Wrap R5

By |September 15th, 2015|Building Codes|Comments Off on Tyvek Continuous Building Wrap R5

This is the second in a series of blog posts on continuous building insulation in the context of soon to be forthcoming updates to New York building and construction standards coming out of Albany.

DuPont Tyvek R5.0 wrap provides a breathable air, water and thermal protection product designed to meet updated building codes and standards for continuous building insulation. The operative word here is “breathable,” thereby negating the need for air exchangers in other types of systems.

The Tyvek R5.0 systems, available from Secor Lumber, provides for air and water management benefits we normally associate with the Tyvek weather barrier systems, allowing moisture that may get inside the wall to dry and escape, and prevent accumulation of undesirable water in the wall, thereby greatly reducing the chance for mold and moisture damage.

Easy, Familiar Building Wrap Installation

DuPont’s Tyvek R5.0 product, like other weather barriers from this family of Dupont products, can be installed quickly and easily using familiar techniques, tools and materials, including DuPont flashing systems, tape, wrap caps and sealants.  The Tyvek R5.0 product is made with six-inch non-insulated flaps at the start and bottom of the roll, thereby allowing builders to install all vertical and horizontal seams in a shingled manner, an essential step in keeping air and water out of the interior wall cavities.

Features and Benefits of Tyvek R5.0 Building Wrap

  • According the DuPont’s product sheets, here are some of the notable features and benefits of the Tyvek R5.0 product:
  • Provides continuous exterior insulation (CI), increasing the R-value of the wall while reducing thermal bridging.
  • Replacement windows and doors and penetrations can be easily flashed using available DuPont Flashing Systems.
  • Significantly reduces Home Energy Rating System (HERS) scores in various climate zones.
  • Helps meet or exceed changing building and energy codes and standards.
  • Increases the sheathing temperature decreasing the chance for interstitial wall condensation in heating climates such as we experience in the upstate New York area.

DuPont Tyvek R5.0 Product Brochure.

We’ve had a lot of questions about meeting the Home Energy Rating Systems scores and how to properly calculate the compliance levels for our service areas, as well as general uncertainty about the changing building and energy codes and standards.  If you have questions on these or other issues, please contact us.  We’re up to date on all of it and can help you stay on top of it all.  Since 1939, we’ve been your partner in building excellence, and we’re here to help, as always.

27 07, 2015

Snow Load Design for Central New York Pole Barns

By |July 27th, 2015|cny pole barns, Post Frame Buildings NY|Comments Off on Snow Load Design for Central New York Pole Barns

Upstate New York pole barns and post frame buildings need to withstand heavy winter weather conditions and stress. Proper post frame building design must account for exceptionally heavy snow accumulation, ice and snow load during the harsh winter months we encounter in the upstate New York area. This past winter was particularly difficult when it came to collapsed pole barns and other post frame buildings across upstate New York due to excessive snow load.

What Is Snow Load?

The term “snow load” is generally defined as one cubic foot of snow weighing approximately 10 pounds. Ice can weigh much more. This is compounded when typical lake effect snow, which is generally light and fluffy, partially melts from exposure to the sun and then re-freezes. More snow. More accumulation. More melting and re-freezing. Last winter was a particularly harsh example of this process, causing many roofs to collapse. Snow and ice load is one of the primary threats to any structure in the Upstate New York region.

Snow Load and Agricultural Pole Barns

Agricultural pole barns and post-frame buildings are some of the vulnerable buildings that are subject to collapse. Secor Building Solutions specifically designs and engineers metal buildings and post frame buildings specifically to withstand harsh Upstate New York winters with ice and snow load which can become far beyond the ordinary.

Central New York agricultural and commercial building design and engineering clearly is not a one-size-fits-all formula. Each project has it’s own unique requirements both from a usage standpoint as well as a weather standpoint. Snow accumulation varies widely across the region since we are most susceptible to lake effect snows off Lake Ontario. While one area may have normal snowfall accumulations, another may experience many times that amount.

The design of Upstate New York pole barns and post frame buildings must support and bear the appropriate levels of weight and stress. Factor in strong winds and the situation quickly becomes serious, particularly with hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment and livestock at stake. Area builders and building owners need to fully understand the roof, truss, snow, ice and wind load requirements for their proposed building.

Load Factor Considerations for Pole Barn Construction

Broadly speaking, the following load types need to be factored into the design of any pole barn or post frame building:

  1. The load and stress levels imposed by normal use and live occupancy.
  2. Objects actually on the roof (e.g. HVAC, lift equipment, and other collateral loads).
  3. Gravity load from the structure itself.
  4. Environmental loads, including ice, snow load and wind load.

The last of these factors can be the more difficult to determine. While all these design factors are subject to budgetary constraints, in our area, given our types of winters, clearly durability and longevity of any building that must withstand such conditions needs to be seriously factored into the design and selection of construction materials.

Ice and Snow Load Capacities for Upstate New York Buildings

Post frame building and pole barns in the Rochester and Syracuse, New York area must be able to stand up to the area’s environmental extremes. Depending upon the type of building, snow load capacities vary. Local building codes may establish standards for ice and snow load in commercial buildings, but property owners need to keep in mind that building codes establish a bare MINIMUM standard for the structure to pass inspection. This may or may not be appropriate for a specific project.

As many area property owners and contractors know, Secor engineers have decades of experience designing pole barns and post frame buildings across the Upstate New York region. They take into account the type of building, the end use of the building, expected snow load, the specific location of the building and environmental considerations of the building location. They also consider customer preferences in roof lines, the size of the building, joist and support requirements, clear span requirements, cupolas, dormers, whether or not the building is heated, and other load bearing factors.