How to make your own Chalkboard

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Supplies needed:
Two pieces of wood at 1 x 1 ¾” x 19”
Two pieces of wood at 1 x 1 ¾” x 13
One piece of plywood at ¼” x 14 ½” x 20 ½”
Paint brush
Black chalkboard paint
Blue latex paint
150 grit sandpaper
Wood glue
4-6 C clamps
Sawtooth picture hanger


1. Paint the four pieces of wood with blue paint and let dry
2. Paint one side of the plywood with chalkboard paint. Let dry and paint another coat and
let dry too
3. Glue and clamp the boards flat (1 ¾” side) on top of the plywood, making sure all sides
and ends are flush with the plywood’s outer edge
4. With damp rag, wipe away any glue that has seeped out along the sides
5. Let dry and remove the clamps
6. Sand outer sides and edges and wipe away the dust
7. Rub chalk onto a rag and rub it into the plywood that has been painted with the
chalkboard paint
8. Turn the chalkboard over and hammer in brad nails through the plywood into the blue
painted boards
9. Center and nail in a sawtooth hanger on the back, top side of the plywood and then
hang the chalkboard on the wall


garage tips

Top 7 Garage Organization Tips

Garages become a catchall for everything you don’t want to bring into the house. We often store a lot of stuff that isn’t intended to be there. After all, garages are supposed to keep vehicles, but many are just too full to accommodate even a motorcycle or scooter.

Organizing your garage can seem overwhelming, especially if you have a lot in it. If you can’t set aside a significant amount of time, like an entire weekend, to work on it, do what you can with the time you have. Get everyone in the family to help. The key is to get started and gain momentum. This will motivate you to finish and make the task easier.

To help you get started, we’ve got some tips to help you organize your garage and keep it organized, no matter how much stuff you have.

1. Start by decluttering

The first step to organizing your garage is cleaning out the stuff you don’t want or need anymore. You’ll need to go through everything, so set aside a good chunk of time, if possible. Bring everything out of the garage and assess each item objectively. Create three areas to sort stuff: what you want to keep, what to throw away, and what to donate or sell. Make sure you quickly get rid of things once you’ve sorted them. Schedule a trash or charity pick up or hold a garage sale as soon as possible to prevent things from lying around and taking up space.

You can safely get rid of the following items:

  • Old toys
  • Broken items
  • Expired or old chemicals (you may need to use particular disposal for these)
  • Things you no longer use

2. Sort your stuff by categories

It’s best to store like items or items you use together in the same area. Categorizing your items also helps you identify duplicate items. Categories may include sports, gardening, tools, décor, or seasonal items.

3. Create work/play stations

Now that your stuff is sorted into categories plan to store like items together, creating a work or play station for each type. For example, you can make a gardening station with all your tools, soils, fertilizers, etc., surrounding a small worktable. Or cover your workbench with all your tools. Kids can also have their own stations, storing sports stuff and toys together.

4. General storage rules

Before you start returning stuff to the garage, keep these “rules” in mind:

  • Paint, propane, and gasoline shouldn’t be stored in the garage due to variable temperature swings and toxic fumes.
  • Store bulky items in corners that won’t interfere with parking your car or other activities.
  • Frequently used items should be stored close to the door.
  • Store seasonal or rarely used items in hard-to-reach places.
  • Open shelves are easier to use than closed shelves. They allow you to see everything and easily access your stuff. And you don’t need extra space to accommodate doors.
  • The garage is a great place to reuse kitchen cabinets after a remodel. Repurpose them to store stuff and help separate your workstations.

5. Go vertical

Since there is only limited floor space, storing stuff on the walls and the ceiling is a great way to increase the capacity of your garage. Use vertical storage systems, like pegboards, track-based systems, or panelized systems, to increase your garage’s capacity.

6. Build or buy a workbench

If you like to use tools or enjoy gardening, a workbench is an excellent addition to your garage if you don’t already have one. There are many options, including ones that fold up for storage, or you can build your own. Adding caster wheels makes your bench mobile, which can be very convenient when working on projects.

7. Keep it up

To keep your garage clean and organized, plan to sort through everything at least once a year. Take this time to clean anything dirty, restore stuff to its rightful place, and declutter by throwing or giving away the things you no longer need.

With the help of these tips, you can keep your garage clean and organized year-round. DIYers and gardeners will appreciate the organization and the creation of unique places to do what they love.

If you need help planning your next home remodel project, let the experts at Parr Lumber be there for you. Contact them at one of our store locations.

Metal roofing ASC

Green Building with Lumber and Other Building Materials

Construction projects have a significant impact on the environment. They use man-made materials, create a lot of waste, and cause greenhouse gas emissions. To reduce the environmental impact, many home and building owners are searching for ways to make their construction more sustainable. This can be done by using natural materials, improving energy efficiency, reducing waste and materials sent to landfills, and sustainably harvesting raw materials.

It’s not uncommon for home and project owners to have green building goals for their projects. This helps them benchmark their effect on the environment and measure their sustainability efforts.

Building materials and products have a direct effect on the sustainability of a construction project. Owners must choose carefully when selecting materials to ensure that they are sustainably sourced, manufactured, and transported.

Here’s how you can use lumber and other building products to meet your sustainable building goals.

Lumber and other wood products

Lumber is a rapidly renewable resource that helps clear the air of toxins and provides fresh oxygen for us to breathe. Toxins in the air are sequestered within the wood, protecting us from potential health risks.

The only way to ensure that we have wood products now and in the future is to harvest sustainably. There are two certifications for wood products that show they were produced on tracts using sustainable forestry methods.

The first certification is provided by the Forest Stewardship Council or FSC. This international nonprofit was started in 1993 and helps protect the world’s forests from unethical and illegal logging. In order to be certified, the source forest must meet 10 principles of stewardship. These principles help to ensure that the harvesting of timber will continue for many years while taking into consideration the natural habitats of local animals and people.

The second certification is handed out by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative or SFI. This initiative was born out of the lumber industry’s desire to manage forests sustainably. The SFI Forest Management Standard includes requirements for protecting water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, at-risk species, and forests with conservation value. Like FSC, SFI is designed to ensure that forest products continue to be available for many years to come.


Doors, windows, and skylights create the greatest heat loss in buildings. About 30% of a home’s heating energy is lost through the windows. In the summer, about 76% of sunlight enters through the windows as heat. This means your furnace and air conditioning have to work harder and longer to maintain the interior climate of your building. Today’s design trends encourage installing more windows because we want views of nature to keep us calm, so it’s important that those windows save energy.

Better-performing windows have a higher insulation value to help prevent heat gain and loss, saving you energy and money. The measure of a window’s insulative properties is called the U-value. It’s a measure of the rate of thermal transmittance or heat loss through the glass. Windows rated with lower U-values are better at reducing heat transfer. Double and triple-pane windows provide more protection than their single-pane alternatives.

Another factor you should look at when purchasing windows is the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC). This factor measures the solar radiation going through a window, door, or skylight. Solar radiation can be transmitted directly into the building or be released as heat. The lower a window’s SHGC rating, the less solar heat it transmits.

Metal roofs

Metal is a sustainable building material because it’s easily recycled and often contains previously recycled content. By using recycled materials, it decreases the number of raw resources that must be harvested from the earth. This helps prevent habitat destruction while saving money.

Metal roofs can also help with energy efficiency, as metal makes a good insulator. Reduced energy use helps building owners save money and lowers carbon emissions. In addition, metal roofs can last a long time (40-70 years), saving you the expense of replacing them, and they will not burn during a fire or lightning strike.

Rock and stonework

Faux rocks and stones are often made from concrete. Concrete is used because it creates the look of stone without harvesting additional raw materials. Concrete is a sustainable building material because it provides products with long life, resilience, and structural integrity. Because of these characteristics, materials made from concrete don’t have to be replaced as often, saving this material from the landfill.

In addition, used concrete can be crushed to create fill material for earthwork or it can be used as a raw material to make more faux rock and stones.

Parr Lumber is here to help.

If sustainable construction is right for you, Parr Lumber is here to help. We can assist in sourcing the sustainable materials you are looking for while ensuring that you’re meeting your project goals. Whether it’s lumber, windows, metal roofs, or rock and stone, your local Parr Lumber has the products you need to go green.

10 Home Improvement Projects That Will Give You Bang for Your Buck in 2023

Each year Remodeling Magazine produces a list of the top projects to increase your home’s value and how much of the costs you can recoup for homeowners throughout the United States. Based on 2022’s Cost vs Value Report for the Pacific Northwest, here are the top 10 projects you can get the most return on in 2023, with their percentage of cost recouped and the average cost of each project.

1. Garage door replacement – 95.1%, average cost $4,190

Replacing your garage door can be a great way to increase your energy savings. If it’s been a while since it’s been replaced, you can gain significant insulation value by increasing its R-value and including today’s insulated glass panels.

The cost above only includes replacing the garage door and does not include a new motorized opener.

2. Manufactured stone veneer – 92.7%, average cost $11,867

Trade out a portion of your existing siding to provide an accent to your home’s exterior. Manufactured stone veneer is a thin, lightweight product that looks like real stone, including natural stone’s color variations.

The cost above was for about 300 square feet of veneer, water-resistant barrier, lath and fasteners, and mortar scratch coat and setting bed.

3. Minor kitchen remodel – 71.2%, average cost $31,413

A minor kitchen remodel includes a refresh for your cabinets and countertops, new appliances, a new sink and faucet, new flooring, and a fresh coat of paint. With today’s energy-efficient appliances, you can continue to save on your power bill long after the remodel is complete.

The cost above was based on a 200-square-foot kitchen with 30 linear feet of cabinets and countertops.

4. Window replacement (wood) – 75.8%, average cost $25,751

Replacing your existing wood-framed windows can save you energy costs and give your home an instant facelift. Trim the outside of your new windows with contrasting siding or cladding. The contrast in colors can give you an updated look without having to repaint or replace all of your sidings.

The cost above was based on replacing 10 existing 3’x5’ double-hung windows with insulated, low-E, divided-light wood windows.

5. Window replacement (vinyl) – 75.5%, average cost $21,963

Most homes these days have vinyl or composite windows. Replacing them with more efficient insulated windows will save energy and keep your home temperature more consistent. Vinyl windows can be ordered with a variety of color finishes to match any décor or style.

The cost above was based on replacing 10 existing 3’x5’ double-hung windows with insulated, low-E, divided light vinyl windows.

6. Siding replacement (fiber-cement) – 73.8%, average cost $26,158

Using pre-primed, prepainted fiber-cement siding saves you the time and hassle of painting your home and improves its look of it instantly. While cement siding costs more than vinyl, it is hardier, more versatile, and is fire, heat, and weather resistant. Product warranties can last up to 50 years.

The cost above was based on replacing 1,250 square feet of existing siding with the new fiber-cement product, including trim.

7. Deck Addition (composite) – 73.2%, average cost $28,366

With our mild springs and wonderful summers, the Northwest is a perfect environment to enjoy the outdoors on a deck. Composite materials, like TimberTech, Azek PVC, and Trex, offer a variety of materials for you to choose from. Composites require little maintenance and are extremely durable, lasting up to 50 years.

The cost above was for adding a 16’x20’ composite wood deck, with concrete piers, a built-in bench and planter, stairs, and a railing system.

8. Grand Entrance (fiberglass) – 72.3%, average cost $11,219

Transform your front door from just a door to an entrance! Selecting the right door is important, especially when it comes to the entrance to your home. A front door must protect you from the elements, while it says something about you and your family’s style.

The cost above was for removing an existing front door and replacing it with a larger door that includes dual sidelights, hardware, and trim.

9. Siding replacement (vinyl) – 72.1%, average cost $22,067

Vinyl siding provides years of protection and beauty for your home’s exterior and is friendly to the environment. It comes in a variety of colors and styles and is durable and maintenance-free. Generally, the product is less expensive than fiber cement and is easier to install.

The cost above was based on replacing 1,250 square feet of existing siding with the new vinyl products, including trim.

10. Deck addition (wood) – 72.0%, average cost $23,858

Another option for an outdoor deck is to use wood, like Western Red Cedar or pressure-treated Douglas Fir. Cedar provides a great natural look that doesn’t require protection. Elite decking, made of pressure-treated Douglas Fir, is stained and treated with womanized CAC, which helps it last 10 times longer than nontreated lumber. Either way, you’re sure to have a wonderful deck that you can enjoy for years to come.

The cost above was based on constructing a 16’x20’ pressure-treated deck, with concrete piers, a built-in bench and planter, stairs, and a railing system.

Whether you decide to take on one of these projects yourself or hire a professional, you can find the materials you need at Parr Lumber. Our Parr team is standing by to help you select just the right look for your project.

Redmond High School students building homeless shelters for Oasis Village

Hayden Homes partnered with Parr Lumber and Redmond High School to share and train their local CTE students on the new OptiFrame construction system.

Redmond High School students are getting a lesson in compassion, as well as construction. They’re assembling an 80-square-foot shelter that will house a homeless individual in Redmond’s Oasis Village later this year.
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5 Must-Do Home Remodels This Winter

Now that the rains have arrived, we know winter isn’t far behind. It’s best to focus on the interior of your home during the colder weather. Whether you hire a contractor or do it yourself, working in the cold is no fun. If you’re looking to spruce up the inside of your home, there are several projects you can do.
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Eco-Friendly Home Decor Tips

It can be confusing to know what products and materials to use when you’re trying to update your home’s look while being eco-friendly. So, we’ve put together this list of tips to help you redesign sustainably and make your home healthier.

1. Use natural materials

There’s a wide variety of home decor products made from natural materials. Some are obvious, while others are a bit surprising. For example, linoleum is made from wood flour, rosins, ground limestone, powdered cork, pigments, jute, and linseed oil (all natural materials). Bamboo is used for flooring and other products. It can even be used as a structural element. For fabrics, choose cotton and linen. Wood is an obvious choice, although how it’s harvested plays a role in its sustainability (see number 6 below).

2. Save energy

Saving energy reduces the amount of carbon emissions released into the air from power generation. You can save energy by changing existing incandescent and fluorescent lightbulbs for ones with LEDs in them. LEDs last much longer and use only a fraction of the energy used by traditional bulbs. If you’re looking to make a real difference in your energy use, it may be time to update your windows and doors. Today’s windows offer double and triple panes of glass with gases in the middle to improve their insulation value. And well-insulated exterior doors help keep the elements outside, saving on energy and money.

3. Add plants

Plants and other greenery help keep the air fresh, as well as absorb airborne toxins. Humans have a natural desire to be connected to the outside world. In addition, plants have been shown to provide a variety of positive outcomes: improved mood and well-being, cleaner air, increased productivity and reduced stress. Adding a bit of nature to your indoor environment can make you both happier and healthier.

4. Reduce toxins

Volatile organic compounds or VOCs are found in a wide variety of household products and materials. These compounds can cause respiratory health problems, as well as cause bad odors when they let off gas. In fact, the familiar smell of paint and that “new car smell” are the effects of these compounds off-gassing from the materials they’re in. Luckily, today there are a wide variety of low-VOC and no-VOC products available. Use these products, like paints and adhesives, instead of their more toxic cousins.

5. Reuse and recycle

Instead of buying new furniture or other materials to update your look, change or modify what you already have. For example, recover a dingy-looking couch for a whole new look. Or paint a wooden chair to match the decor in a room. Another option is to buy items from a local thrift store or auction website. Reusing and recycling materials is generally less expensive, and it keeps trash out of landfills.

6. Look for labels

There are a variety of product labels designed to help you select more sustainable materials and products. For example, lumber and other wood products can be certified as SFI or FSC. Both labels are proof that the products have been raised and harvested sustainably. When looking for appliances, windows, doors, and other energy-saving products look for the Energy Star label. This label means these products have been shown to save energy over similar products.

7. Buy local

Buying materials sourced from local manufacturers can help save carbon emissions and reduces energy use. Whether products are transported by train, truck, or plane, they all produce greenhouse gases and carbon. In addition, buying local will ensure that the products are designed for the local climate. This can be especially important when sourcing exterior components like windows and doors. You can also help support local craftsmen and artists by choosing their works instead of buying from big-box suppliers.

8. Avoid plastic

If at all possible, avoid purchasing plastic materials. They can be toxic and often aren’t as durable, break easily, and end up in the landfill when they are no longer useful. Watch for hidden plastic materials like polyester fibers and epoxy. Choose products made from durable materials like wood, metal, stone, cement, etc. Using these materials will save you money in the long run and be better for the environment.

Parr offers a variety of building materials that can help you update your home’s look or build something new. We offer quality lumber, windows, doors, cabinets, and paints. Look for your closest store to get the help you need to make your vision a reality.


decking ideas

Best Decking Materials for the Pacific Northwest

Whether it’s a venue for intimate family gatherings or large social events, decks are a great way to enjoy nature while sharing food and drink or just hanging out. Your deck must be sturdy, durable, and safe, as well as complement your home’s decor. In the Pacific Northwest, decks are traditionally built with either lumber or composite materials. The best decking material for you will depend on the expected life of the deck, color selection, and maintenance requirements.

Parr carries a selection of decking materials, all built and engineered to withstand the Pacific Northwest climate.


Natural wood lumber is affordable, renewable, and natural. It provides a beautiful aesthetic for any deck design. Lumber is a natural resource that renews itself, ensuring that it will be available for generations to come. It is also a durable material, providing over 20 years of service in outdoor applications when properly installed and maintained.

In the Pacific Northwest, we recommend Western Red Cedar or pressure-treated Douglas Fir.

Western Red Cedar

Western Red Cedar makes a good decking material because of its natural resistance to decay and rot. Natural preservatives within the wood protect it without the need for chemicals. It also resists splintering, ensuring a long-lasting deck that is safe for children and bare feet.

Other benefits include its rich, earthy color, which weathers to a soft gray, and its ability to remain cool to the touch even in the heat. With regular maintenance, your deck will look and feel good, well into the future.

Cedar trees are a sustainable resource that help remove carbon and other pollutants from the air, providing us with fresh, clean air to breathe. Cedar heartwood is cut from the center of the tree and is more resistant to environmental decay.

Pressure treated (Elite decking)

In the Northwest we use pressure-treated Douglas Fir, or Elite decking, for its structural integrity and durability. The lumber is stained and treated with wolmanized CAC, which helps it last 10 times longer than nontreated lumber. The treatment protects the wood from rotting and termites and is safe for the environment and wildlife.

Our Elite decking provides a lifetime guarantee against fungal decay and termites. This ensures that you never have to worry about your deck’s structural integrity. The product is easy to cut and work with and can be stained to more closely match your decor. Regular maintenance, including power washing, sanding, and re-staining, will help maintain the look of your deck.

Composite lumber

Composite lumber is made up of wood pulp and recycled plastic that is mixed and molded to create a material that looks and feels like real lumber. Capped decking includes an additional polymer shell that provides additional protection.

Composite is available in a wide variety of colors and multiple sizes to fit your design needs. It requires little to no maintenance and is a durable material, offering protection for up to 50 years.


TimberTech composite wood mimics the look of real lumber with the durability of plastic. However, unlike lumber, it resists fading, scratches, or stains. It provides a consistent look and feels, ensuring that your deck will last for years to come. Its 25-to-50-year warranties ensure that you have the protection you need.

The composite lumber manufacturing process helps save trees by using waste wood. It diverts waste from landfills and helps keep our world green.

Azek PVC composite lumber is a capped cellular product. It has an additional layer of protection that helps protect it from weather, UV light, scratching, and color fading. This additional protection allows us to provide a 50-year limited warranty against fading and staining. It is available in a variety of color options to help match your décor.


Trex is the original and leading brand for composite lumber. It’s made up of 95% post-consumer plastic film and reclaimed sawdust. The product is made without harvesting any additional trees. Plastic from plastic bags and other sources is used to protect the wood product. A 500-square-foot deck built from Trex recycles approximately 140,000 plastic bags.

The plastic protects the product from damage and moisture, ensuring that you don’t have to paint, stain, or seal your deck again.

Here to help

With our mild weather pattern, decks provide a great way to enjoy nature for most of the year. Materials like wood and composite lumber provide durable products that resist wear and tear and will keep your deck looking nice for years to come.

If you need expert advice on the best material for your deck, find your local Parr store and we’ll help you make a selection. You can also use our deck design planner to help you create a plan for your build.