Get Ready for Deck Season

We think about decks all year round at Simpson Strong-Tie and as the weather warms up, we know folks are ready to enjoy the outdoors on their decks. Whether you’re a professional contractor building a deck or a homeowner dreaming about your new deck, we’re here to help. Our educational Build a Stronger Deck video series guides you through the most important components of building a safer, stronger deck.

There are two main types of deck post base: post-installed bases for existing concrete, and cast-in-place for new concrete. Our training manager Sam Marcoux reviews the basic steps for constructing strong, safe post base connections.

A deck’s joists are the horizontal framing members that support the decking material. Deck joists may terminate at a beam or ledger, rest on top of the beams, or terminate at the rim board. Our training manager Sam Marcoux reviews the basic steps for making strong, safe joist connections.

A deck’s guard posts are the vertical members along the open sides of the deck that connect the handrails to the framing. In order to provide the required 200 lb. load resistance at the handrail, the post must not only be fastened to the rim joist, but also tied back into the joist framing. Our training manager Sam Marcoux reviews the basic steps for making strong, safe guard post connections.

Stair stringers need to be properly connected to the deck, and treads properly connected to the stringers, in order to resist loads and perform reliably over time. Our training manager Sam Marcoux reviews the basic steps for making strong, safe-stair-stringer tread connections.

Properly attaching the ledger to the structure is one of the most important steps in constructing a safe, strong deck. In fact, ninety percent of deck failures are caused by the ledger pulling away from the house. Our training manager Sam Marcoux reviews the basic steps for constructing strong, safe ledger connections.

Deck beams are the horizontal framing members that support the joists. Our training manager Sam Marcoux reviews the basic steps for making strong, safe beam connections.

New Deck Video Series and Product Code Report

How to Build a Stronger Deck

Our new Build a Stronger Deck video series guides viewers through the most important steps to building a safer, stronger deck from the ground up. New episodes of Build a Stronger Deck will air each week throughout the summer. Catch up on the first five videos.

Decking projects going up

With so many decking projects going up we wanted to offer more choices with in-stock availability.

ZIP System® Panel Rebate for First-Time Users

Call us, we can help process your rebate. Try AdvanTech subflooring and sheathing products and get up to $1,250 in rebates.

This program is available to professional builders and remodelers who would like to try these products for the first time. Please download the form for more details.

Gazebo Project from Simpson-Tie

Avant Outdoor Collection. Available at Hillside Lumber in stock to order for your Gazebo Project from Simpson-Tie

Experience the Style and Sophistication of Windsor’s Matte Exterior Finishes

Available at Hillside Lumber, Inc. LIMITED TIME ONLY – Experience the Style and Sophistication of Windsor’s Matte Exterior Finishes at Standard Pricing

Lap Siding ExpertFinish available in stock 16 colors

NewTech Composite Siding and Euro Siding




Trex Decking Installation Videos

Learn how to install Trex Composite Decking in our Installation Video Overview. In it, we provide information on safety, compliance, step-by-step instructions and the tools needed to install Trex decking with hidden fixings. Our high-quality, low-maintenance decking can be found at

Special price for open joist

14″ 23′ lengths open joist $3.75 per foot 2X4 Flange MSR 2400 rating.

Fire Code Compliant
Spans to 32 Feet
Job Site Trimmable
Individually Tested
Warrantied Floor System
Best Span-To-Cost Ratio

Open Joist Brochure

An important update regarding walk-in customers

To all our customers,

We wish you strength and faith during these uncertain times.

As you know, governor Pritzker has issued the Executive Order to stay at home and mandated the closure of non-essential businesses to help combat the spread of Coronavirus. We are a supplier providing essential products and services to the construction industry and, as a result, we are allowed to remain open as an Essential Business.

Here is the excerpt from the State of Illinois website:

“Essential Infrastructure: Working in food production, distribution and sale; construction; building management and maintenance; airport operations; operation and maintenance of utilities, including water, sewer, and gas; electrical; distribution centers; oil and biofuel refining; roads, highways, railroads, and public transportation; ports; cybersecurity operations; flood control; solid waste and recycling collection and removal; and internet, video, and telecommunications systems”

Our hours of operation are 7am to 3:30pm. However, please note that our showroom remains closed, and we will only accept orders via telephone or email. Walk-in customers are not allowed at this time.

Please email or call us. We can fill orders and schedule deliveries and provide any information over the phone you may require. Our drivers will make deliveries but will be following health safety precautions as mandated by the CDC and other governmental agencies. As a result, they will avoid shaking hands and keep at least a 6-foot distance from customers when making deliveries. We have also disinfected all possible surfaces. We do not require our customers to sign delivery tickets; instead, drivers will take photos of the deliveries, which will serve as proof of delivery during this period. For any small deliveries that otherwise our customers would pick up from our yard, we will make every effort to deliver those items the same day.

The Executive Order is in effect till April 7th, 2020, so we will operate as outlined above until that time, or until further order by the governor.

Hope to talk to you soon!


Ewa Kulaga
Hillside Lumber

Not all Fire Treated Decking is created equal.

Exterior Fire Retardant Decking Choices

What Does the Tag Stapled to My ProWood Treated Lumber Mean?

Each piece of ProWood® Professional Grade lumber carries an end tag which has essential information for any builder or do-it-yourselfer, including:

The preservative used
The appropriate end use (i.e., above ground or ground contact)
The quality standards it meets
Safe handling information

1.Description of use.
2.Warranty statement.
3.Code report for treatment.
4.Code for use/exposure category (see Description of Use).
5.Treatment authority.
6.Third party quality inspection (assures product has passed retention and penetration test).

Doors: Fiberglass or Wood?

Which Solution is BEST for YOU?

by: Paula Tarnacka

When you start living the exciting life of a remodeling or building your house, you will find yourself asking that question ‘’ What type of exterior door should I choose for my house?’’.

We distinguish between two most common door materials: Fiberglass and Wood.

The overall design of wood doors is created by joining multiple vertical and horizontal components together. There are many wood options to choose from. Most popular are Oak, Mahogany and Walnut.

You can stain or paint the wood to enhance it’s natural beauty. Although wood material looks beautiful and rich, it’s not the most durable and maintenance free product. As with every other wood product – wood needs maintenance. In needs to be refinished as needed. Especially when the doors are exposed to extreme weather conditions and moisture and are not protected by the overhang. Exposure to heat, rain and snow with poor door construction can cause splitting and cracking of the wood and the color to peel off. Wood doors tend to be pricey.

Fiberglass doors are constructed with two molded fiberglass skins with a foam core in-between. The foam is a great insulator against heat and cold. Such a combination makes them very durable, resistant to moisture, peeling, rotting and warping. Fiberglass doors can be purchased with a wood like skin that can be painted or stained. They became very popular in the building industry and are replacing wood doors because of their low maintenance, high insulation values, elegant look and a wide selection of styles in a friendly budget.

Women in Lumber

By Ewa Kulaga

According to “Building Products Digest”A Hidden Gem_ Lumber Careers Become More Attractive to Youth, Women – Building-Products the lumber industry is attracting more youth and Women. Coincidentally at Hillside Lumber, I am a woman  in this industry and can relate to the author completely. When I look back at my journey here, I was not thinking this would be my career of choice. The journey here is one that chose me.

My husband and I started out building homes and my husband was doing concrete work. I had no experience in the business but we loved construction right from the start. We come from a different country where construction is mostly masonry block, brick and cement, the idea of using lumber and seeing a house go up so fast still amazes me.

I have learned this business from my vendors and customers who are the best teachers. Best part is knowing people for so many years and having relationships that now span many years. I am grateful every day for so many people I have met that care. In essence lumber takes years to grow and flourish and that is how this industry is, we grow stronger and larger through time and nourishment of our relationships.  We have the best customers!




Condensation…We Have Answers…

by: Brian Olkiewicz

As the seasons change from fall to winter, you may notice small beads of moisture on the glass of your windows and doors. In most cases, the build up of the water on the glass is known as condensation. As the temperature on the outside falls and the need to keep our homes warm and toasty on the inside. Combined with the forced air from the furnace which diminishes humidity in the home, so what do we do, turn up the humidifier. This the main reason you may find a collection of liquid in the shape of a smiley face on your window panes. Moisture will settle on the coldest surface which in most homes is the glass in your windows and doors. What can you do about condensation, here a few possible solutions. Check the levels of the relative humidity in your home, as the temperature outside falls so should the moisture on the inside. For example, if the outside air temperature is 10 degrees Fahrenheit, the RH in your home should have a maximum level of 35%.  Another simple fix is leaving the window coverings (shades or blinds) slightly open at night, this will allow warm air to reach the glass surface of the window. One last idea is to occasionally crack open a window or two for a short period of time. Outdoor winter air is much drier and will help reduce the humidity indoors. If you have windows with two panes of glass, also knows as Insulating Glass, and this phenomenon occurs, most likely it is not a defective window. 

For additional technical information, check out the University of Minnesota research on this subject matter.

Dodge Data & Analytics shows us the 2020 Outlook

In the 25 years of business we have seen the shifts and what I observe is that the trend of slowing starts in the residential housing area.  Starting late last year, developers were finishing construction of homes over $1 to $2 million and not seeing a lot of interested buyers. There is a niche market for homes under $700,000 that is doing well with many new rental units being built.

“The chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics has provided an outlook for the US construction industry in 2020, and his perception is that there will be a decline in most sectors – but this slowdown will not be a severe crash and, in part, is caused by a skilled labour shortage“.  There are various factors for this that are range from economy, trade war prices, cost of purchase etc.

What we have also seen is that when there is a downshift there is more creativity that arises to set companies apart and find ways to improve processes and products.  I look forward to 2020 as we continue to provide more for everyone.

Kolbe Contemporary VistaLuxe Collection

Kolbe VistaLux Windows and Doors

At Hillside we are committed to quality service with superior product offerings.

We have experienced that Kolbe’s VistaLuxe Collection achieves the unmatched contemporary style with its Look of Steel, the clean lines and narrow frames of windows and doors can mimic the appearance of steel when finished in a dark color. Optional performance divided lites in square or triangular profiles further promote this interior aesthetic.

In addition to achieving the look of steel, VistaLuxe Collection products offer three important benefits for your project:

  • Better efficiency
  • Lower cost
  • Shorter lead times

If you would like more information or how it can best perform for you, please call us or email our team.  We can go over specifications directly related to your project.

Shipping Errors are Costly, How Can We Save You Money?

By: Maciek Mika
Lumber Sales

Shipping errors are a tremendous pain to yourself and also to your client.. They cost a fortune, hurt your reputation, upset customers and generally cause many headaches. When the customer notifies you of the incorrect shipment, you now have the cost to retrieve the wrong materials (pickup, possible repackaging, restocking fees or possibility of not being able to resell it).

Then comes all of the accounting to correct the inventory, debit and credit the customer account, plus the added time that is almost guaranteed to be spent explaining the paperwork to others.

Major ways to prevent the mishaps are:

  • Have the sales representative repeat quantity and product information back to the customer before entering and shipping the order to prevent errors.
  • Having e-commerce and interface directly to your email and/or texted to your cell phone.