Ready to take on your outdoor project? What will it be a new fence? Re-siding the house? Maybe building a deck. Maybe you just want to build a bench for that deck. But where do you start? Which wood is the right wood to use for your home project? You can’t go wrong with Cedar But why should you use Cedar? Well for starters this highly revered, durable wood is naturally resistant to rot, decay and insect attacks. Western red cedar is pitch and resin-free. Which means it’s ideal for accepting and holding a wide range of beautiful finishes including elegant dark stains, shabby chic bleaches, traditional solid colors and naturally beautiful semi-transparent.
Cedar has long been the standard for outdoor decking. Its classic beauty, natural resistance to pests and rot, and natural water resistance make it ideal for outdoor projects. With low maintenance requirements and a lifespan of 15-20 years, it is easy to see why cedar is the go-to choice for deck building.
One of the lightest commercial softwoods, the density of Western Red Cedar at oven-dry conditions is approximately 21 pounds per cubic foot. Very low shrinkage factor and is superior to all other coniferous woods in its resistance to warping, twisting and checking.
The Benefits of Real Cedar
Cedar trees grow on the West Coast of North America, in the Mediterranean, area, and in other places where it is normally damp and where fungi, insects, and bacteria run rampant. As a result of growing in such harsh natural conditions, cedar trees have evolved a number of natural defense against Mother Nature. These same natural defenses make cut cedar an excellent choice for humid climates where pests might be a problem. Cedar’s natural oils repel most insects as well as many fungi and bacteria that can destroy other types of wood.
Cedar is a light, relatively porous wood that offers remarkable dimensional stability. In other words, cedar doesn’t change size a great deal even as a result of extreme temperature and humidity fluctuations. Because cedar is dimensionally stable, it stays straight and true. It doesn’t warp, heave, split, or shrink the way other woods do. Though cedar can be both stained and painted, retaining its natural grain pattern in most cases, it doesn’t need to be finished at all. Even without being finished, cedar can last 15-20 years with proper annual maintenance thanks to the wood’s natural oils that repel water. In fact, many people prefer not to finish cedar because then they can enjoy its natural aroma.
There are at least a dozen different varieties of cedar growing across the world. Eastern red cedar, western red cedar, and northern white cedar are the species most often used for decking and exterior siding. Western red cedar is the most aromatic of the three and is a darker brown than the fine-grained eastern red cedar. All three are decay-resistant.
Western Red Cedar is used to manufacture a range of specialty products such as siding, paneling, structural decking and outdoor decking. Detailed product information is available from the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association.
Most cedar is sustainably grown and therefore is a 100% renewable natural resource. Growing and harvesting cedar produces little to no greenhouse gases. In many cases, in fact, cedar trees take up more carbon than is released in the processes of planting, growing, and harvesting the trees. This results in cedar being a net-negative carbon product.
Cedar is 100% biodegradable and safe when broken down. Because it doesn’t need to be stained, there is no risk of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) being released while treating cedar or when it begins to degrade. It is safe for use in all environments, including indoor applications. In short, cedar is the most eco-friendly decking option on the market.
Independent studies prove that when it comes to environmental performance, natural wood is superior to synthetic products in every way. While other building materials generate greenhouse gasses, western red cedar actually removes greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. And unlike brick, cement and composites, Real Cedar is renewable and biodegradable. Plus, Real Cedar is sourced from the most sustainably managed forests in the world.