Western Red and Northern White Cedar

298014_14Western Red Cedar and Northern White Cedar are coniferous members of the Cypress family. However, many people know Western Red Cedar for its rustic, resilient furniture. Others may know cedar as the sauna wood which withstands a lot of humidity and heat.

Western red cedar grows in the Pacific North West of the U.S. The Northern white cedar grows in Eastern-Southeastern Canada and adjacent states of New England and the Great Lakes region west to Minnesota. Cedar trees grow mainly in rocky, wet areas where hardwood trees such as oaks and maples can’t grow. Cedar is desirable in waterfront areas because it contains no chemicals that can contaminate the water like pressure treated wood can.

Red western cedar has twice the stability of most softwoods due to its low density and shrinkage factors. It produces long, lightweight lengths of timber with a fine straight grain and uniform texture. This makes it easy to cut, saw and nail with common tools. It also can be planed to a smooth surface or machined to any pattern. It will hold glue bonds and also provides a good base for many types of paints and stains since it lacks pitch and resin.

Northern White Cedar is the lightest of any commercial wood. It is even-grained and finely textured. The heartwood is resistant to decay and subterranean termites. It is easy to work, glues well and holds paint well. Northern white cedar also experiences little dimensional change.

Both cedars are insect and rot resistant because of oils they naturally contain. Cedar is also valued for its distinct aroma as its pungent aromatic oils are believed to discourage moth and carpet beetle larvae infestations. All of these factors make it the premier choice for either interior or exterior home use. Cedar wood has been primarily used to make rustic fencing and posts, but can also be used for cabin logs, lumber, poles, shingles and other specialty type products. Cedar is a natural wood for longevity and an excellent wood choice for various applications. Cedar’s natural resistance to moisture, decay and insect infestations makes it more resilient for outdoor projects. Properly finished cedar will last for decades, even in harsh environments.

Think beautiful cedar for your next wood project.

Clear or STK Cedar?

When starting an outdoor project choosing cedar is your first step in the right direction. Choosing the right cedar for the job should be your second. You should be asking yourself questions like; what look do I want for my home? Is my décor rustic or more contemporary? Do I want clear or STK (select tight knot)? The obvious differences being looks and price. When thinking of looks you have two choices. Clean and contemporary which you would use the clear cedar for or a rustic charm that STK is more suited for. When deciding between these be aware that the price between clear and knotty cedar is double. In some cases more, depending on the size of the dimension needed. Clear is the more sought after wood of the tree and there is less of it, coming from the center of the trunk. The price will reflect this. Both choices are a fragrant and durable choice for any outdoor project.

Why choose cedar for my deck?

As we look out our doors and see our gardens coming alive, we begin to envision the nice weather and spending more time outdoors.  It is this time of year that many people begin to think about building, replacing or fixing their decks.  Nothing says summer like cool, refreshing drinks outside on our decks with family and friends.  When you are planning your new deck or maybe siding your home, think cedar.
 Why choose cedar over other types of exterior wood choices?  If you listed the pros for each of the wood types you would find that cedar is the most well rounded and stable choice.  Cedar has a much tighter and therefore stable wood grain that creates a lesser tendency to warp or twist.  Cedar has a built in natural wood preservative whereas other woods need to be chemically treated, making cedar an eco-friendly, green and biodegradable choice.  Cedar decking and siding is lighter and easier to work with yet still extremely durable with the added bonus of the natural cedar fragrance and unsurpassed beauty that can’t be found with other woods.




Jeff Fortushnick
Free: 1.800.263.3653
Local: 905.684.1665
Send PDF drawings via email to jeff@thinkcedar.com Fax: 905.684.4791