What You’ll Find On This Page
What cedar is, and the pros & cons of using the material.
Decking, fencing, and siding. We’ve got it all!
Maintenance, Stain, and More
Whether you are looking to stain, paint, or even give your cedar a distressed look, we have the information you’re searching for!
What is Cedar?
Cedar is a species of wood that is commonly used for a lot of construction, DIY, and home improvement projects such as decking, fencing and siding. Cedar is very durable and sustainable because it adapts to whatever climate it is in. For example, some woods tend to soak up moisture in humidity or shrink in colder temperatures, which can cause defects in building and in your home improvement projects. Cedar has its pros and cons just like every building material, however the pros outweigh the cons by far. We are going to dive into each type of most commonly used cedar products, the good and the bad, things to watch out for, and answer some frequently asked questions. We get a lot when it comes to cedar.
Pros and Cons of Cedar
Let’s talk about the pros and cons of just cedar as simply a species of wood. One of the main reasons that cedar is a go to building material especially among homeowners, is because of its raw and natural beauty. Cedar’s natural look is very popular among designers because the knots and wood grain are so fine and vibrant. That is a very sought after benefit that cedar has to offer.
- Natural wood look that people love
- Cedar is resistant to rot, which makes it easy to care for
- Doesn’t not absorb water or moisture. With other species of wood, if exposed to moisture the wood will warp, twist, crack, and rot which then causes problems down the line. With cedar, you cut this out in its entirety.
- Cedar has a lifespan of 20 years with little to no defects in its earlier years.
- Versatile in the sense that cedar can be left natural, painted, or stained and look great!
- If cedar is painted or stained, the color will naturally fade and need to be touched up.
- Since cedar is a soft wood, it will scratch easier than hardwood.
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Popular Cedar Decking
Western Red Cedar
Western Red Cedar has extreme beauty and is extremely durable, which makes it a great material for decking. Cedar already has a natural beauty that everyone loves, but add the look and vibrancy of Western Red Cedar and you get the best of both worlds.
Port Orford Cedar
This type of cedar holds true to all the attributes that traditional cedar has, such as low maintenance, durability, strength, and the natural beauty. The main difference between Port Orford Cedar and Western Red Cedar is the blonde coloration that it portrays. This cedar gets its color because it is grown on the coast on Oregon and California, which allows it to have high definition knots and intense wood grain.
FAQs About Cedar When Used For Decking
Why Should I Use Cedar for My Deck?
Out of all the wood species, cedar has the smallest effect on the environment along with being renewable and biodegradable. This makes it a safe material to use on your home. Cedar is also very strong and durable, which makes it ideal for a deck that sees a lot of foot traffic. It is also easy to work with, which means it will conform to any shape you are wanting for your deck.
How Workable is Cedar?
Cedar is lightweight and milled to have a straight fine texture, which makes it very versatile for any project to cut, saw, or nail without the need of any fancy tools.
Will Cedar Last in Any Weather Condition?
Cedar is one of the few types of wood that can be used in any type of weather and adapt to it. Unlike most species of wood that will warp or shrink when exposed to water, cedar will not. This also cuts out the need for repairs later down the road.
Is Cedar a Stable Solution?
Out of all the softwood species available, cedar has twice the stability. This is because of cedar’s low density and shrinking factors. This means every board will lay flat, straight, and hold onto fasteners.
Your fence is what enhances the curb appeal of your home. Without a fence, your home is left unsecured, plain, and with a lesser value. One of the main reasons homeowners install a fence is for the privacy and protection of being able to enjoy their backyard space without nosy neighbors or unwanted visitors in the way. When installing a privacy fence in your home, you can use anything from spruce, pine, or fir but cedar, just like when its used for decking, is ideal for outdoor projects for your home.
Cedar fencing is relatively affordable compared to other species of wood used for fencing. We totally get it when you need to budget and be very careful on where your money goes when installing a fence. A fence can become very high in cost fast and before you know it, you have blown your budget. Thankfully with privacy fencing, you can determine how much material you will need by calculating the number of posts every 8 feet. Once you know this, you can calculate how many pickets you need and go from there.
One of the benefits with cedar privacy fencing is that cedar is very easy to work with and can be installed in many ways. You can keep it simple and standard with the traditional cedar fence or you can get decorative and paint/stain your fence once it is installed to enhance the design. There are many different design options for cedar fencing. Ask your contractor before the project begins and see what inspiration they can give.
Cedar Shiplap Siding
Shiplap, whether it is on the interior or exterior of your home, is a great accent and way to increase the overall look and value of your home. Cedar, like we keep saying, is so versatile which means you can use it outdoors or indoors without any issues. Shiplap offers an overlapped look that adds texture and depth to any room in your house when used indoors. When used outdoors it follows the same attributes as traditional siding with a smoother look.
FAQ’s About Shiplap
What Benefits Does Shiplap Offer?
Shiplap is durable, versatile, and super easy to install. Each board essentially fits on top of one another, which makes mistakes very hard to come by. Shiplap boards are also very easy to remove if you no longer want them. You simply just pop the boards out of place and fill a few holes on your wall.
What Species of Wood is Recommended for Shiplap?
Shiplap can be bought in many different species, but cedar is the best type of wood to use since it is so versatile and works well in every climate and situation.
What Should You Prime the Back of Shiplap With?
With regular siding you must focus more on priming the back, but with shiplap you don’t have to worry about priming the back if you make sure the boards are interlocked the proper way. This will keep moisture from getting behind the boards and causing damage.
Cedar Tongue and Groove
With this type of siding, you have the ribs and the tongues on the edges of the board that help the boards fit together and give the home a nice flow. This type of siding can be installed both vertically and horizontally which makes it versatile based on your design. Cedar T&G is perfect for the exterior of your home to accent the curb appeal of your home.
FAQ’s About Cedar T&G
How does Tongue and Groove Siding Compare to Other Types of Siding?
Depending on the environment you live in, there may be a siding that may work best. In Colorado, tongue and groove is best for keeping the elements of harsh temperatures, moisture and more from getting behind the boards and affecting your siding.
How Easy is it to Repair T&G Siding?
This type of siding is sturdy and resistant to most damage that it is exposed to. The repairs that you will have, if any, are very minimal. If you do find yourself needing to replace a board, you might need to take off a few of the boards surrounding the defective one. It will all depend on the situation.
Is Caulking the Ends Necessary?
Many homeowners wonder if they need to caulk the boards rather than just leave them bare. You don’t need to caulk the ends, you can use a joint flash behind each board, and it will allow water to flow out without affecting the board.
Cedar Channel Rustic Siding
If you are looking for a siding option that looks very rustic and rugged, channel rustic siding is the way to go. This type of siding looks very natural but also looks great on a house that is in the mountains. Normally channel siding is supplied in unseasoned knotty grade and the face side is textured. The most common size you will find channel rustic siding in is 1×6, 1×8, and 1×10. This type of siding is the easiest to install out of all the different kinds of siding. This siding can also be installed horizontally, vertically or diagonally which makes designing your home fun because you can get a unique as you want with it.
FAQ’s About Channel Rustic
Is Channel Siding Reversible?
Channel siding is reversible, which is not usual for any other siding option. One side of the siding is rough and textured, while the other side is smooth. It is up to you for which side you want to use.
What are Some Ways that I can Extend the Life of My Siding?
With the right maintenance, you can extend the overall life of your siding. However, there are a few things that you can do regularly to extend the life of your siding.
- Inspect your siding every so often and make sure there are no boards that need to be repaired.
- Use an oil-based primer on the back of the siding and if moisture starts to build up the primer will keep the siding from warping.
- Leave a one-inch gap between siding ad roofing on your home to allow for expansion and shrinking.
- Follow the instructions when you are installing the boards. If you install the boards wrong, you can cause the life of the siding to shorten because of defects.
Cedar Shake Siding
Cedar shake siding is an alternative to traditional siding and gives your home a different look. There are many different options to choose from, from standard shingle panels, corner systems to tie everything in together. Typically, there are three different exposures you can choose from which are 7 1/8”, 5.3”, and 4.25”. There are also specialty options that your supplier can order for certain designs if you are wanting a certain cut or style.
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Maintenance on Cedar
Dust, Dirt, and Debris
Cedar is very easy to take care of and to extend its lifespan as long as you keep up on the regular maintenance that it needs. Especially if your cedar is outdoors, you want to make sure you keep it clean of any dust and debris. Once a week or so, do a walk through of your outdoor space and check your cedar siding, decking, and fencing and if you see any dust or dirt then take a hose and lightly rinse it off. If your cedar is stained or painted and you let dirt and dust sit on the surface for a long period of time, the color can chip and fade.
Mildew is also something to look out for as it is a common form of discoloration from paints and stains. If you notice any mildew, you will need to resurface your cedar fence by refinishing the surface, cleaning it with a mildew remover and repainting or staining the cedar.
If you notice that your stain or paint color is starting to bleed, this could be caused from excessive moisture. Take the proper precautions to cut out the moisture from the boards and protect it from being moist for long periods of time.
Rust is something that is very common on decks and patios as most outdoor furniture is metal. Rust can either be reddish and brown or blue and black. If you notice rust starting to form, try and find the source. Furniture, nails, or any other metal objects may be the cause. Once you find the source, replace it or de-rust it and keep an eye on it. We recommend that you use stainless steel nails on your fence to prevent the chances of rust forming.
Water stains are a result of mildew and discoloration like we mentioned above, however water stains are much harder to remove than mildew so you want to avoid this as much as you can. You can try scrubbing the surface, but usually you will have to replace the board.
Finally, the issue of peeling and blistering of paint. This happens when moisture gets underneath your paint or the paint is not properly applied making it not adhesive. If you notice this start to happen, strip the old paint, refinish the surface, and make the proper precautions to avoid this from happening again.
Now all these possibilities are very rare and typically cedar is resistant to a lot of damage that it is exposed to. If you take care of your cedar and perform regular upkeep, the chances of you having any of these problems are slim!
Staining Your Deck
Before you take the steps to stain your cedar, you want to ask yourself a few questions. The first one is how much of the wood do you want to cover up? Cedar has a very vibrant natural beauty that a lot of people don’t want to cover up. You can use a lighter stain and accentuate the wood grain of the cedar, but the darker you go the more you will be covering up.
Once you know how dark or light you want to go, you can start with the process of staining. Once you install your cedar, if it is on the exterior of your home, you have about a two-week period to treat it before the wood will start to change color naturally. All cedar treatments, like house paint, have pigments and solids and the more pigmented the color is, the longer the cedar will last.
Treating with a Bleaching Oil
If you want your cedar to have a gray and rugged look, but you also want the protection of having a protective layer, you will need to take an unnatural step and use bleaching oil. The oil will tone your wood to be a light shade of gray. Over a period of time, the oil will give your wood a bleached process and look weathered.
Staining Cedar with a Transparent Stain
With cedar a stain that is transparent is the perfect way to get the natural cedar beauty and have the protection of stain. This type of stain requires you to follow an application, so make sure to follow the directions for the specific stain you are using.
Staining with a Solid Color
Solid color stains don’t have a lot of paint particles, which allows you to color your cedar while still getting the pattern and texture of the wood grain. Stain is relatively easy to apply with the proper materials.
Painting Your Cedar
Painting cedar can be a little trickier, because you want to make sure you prime the surface and the wood is not at all moist when you apply the paint or else it may flake. Cedar has larger pores, which means you will want to use primer so keep the paint from soaking into the wood and affecting the color.
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