Western Red Cedar vs. Eastern White Cedar
- Western Red Cedar is a wonderful species, with a very straight grain. The wood is light weight (24 lbs per cu ft or 385 kg/cu m) and has little shrinkage.
- Red Cedar has very high natural decay resistance and a characteristic odor that is famous around the world.
- Eastern White Cedar is a close relative of Western red cedar, genetically speaking. However, the white cedar tree is much smaller and so the lumber is quite knotty, compared to the clearer lumber of red cedar. The wood is a lighter weight (21 lbs per cu ft or 335 kg/cu m) and so is weaker than red cedar by a considerable amount. The grain is straight; shrinkage is low; splitting is easy. Decay resistance is very high.
- The specific gravity of White Cedar (SG) is 0.31, versus 0.47 for Red. Strength is 45,000 psi for White versus 61,000 for Red.
- Mostly due to shipping costs, white cedar is a lower priced alternative for customers "in the east".
Which type of Cedar is more rot resistant?
- While the decay resistance of the heartwood is fairly equal (although some would argue that White Cedar works better in the east and Red Cedar in the West), the strength, including the ability to hold fasteners, of red cedar is superior to that of white cedar.
How long should I expect a cedar fence or deck to last?
- The hallmark characteristic of Western Red Cedar, it's natural durability, has preserved examples of native culture that are more than 100 years old.
- Western Red Cedar is one of the few wood species that are naturally at home in the outdoors.
- Properly finished, Western Red Cedar can last for up to 20 years or more, even in harsh environments.
- Its natural resistance to moisture, decay and insect damage make it the ideal choice for a surface that is exposed to sun, rain, heat and cold all year round.
How long should I expect the cedar to continue to look good?
- Western Red Cedar has twice the stability of most commonly available softwoods.
- The stability is a result of its low density and shrinkage factors. It lies flat, stays straight, and holds fastenings tightly.
- Cedar is easy to cut, form, glue and finish.
What about environmental concerns?
- Wood is a completely natural building material that's 100% biodegradable.
- Harvesting wood has been shown to be much less intrusive than the mining of raw materials for steel and concrete such as iron ore, coal and limestone.
Is there somewhere I can go to find out more about Western Red Cedar?
- The Western Red Cedar Lumber Association makes up to date product and environmental information available at www.wrcla.org
This information and more can be viewed at: http://www.fenceall.com/faq/faq_wood.html#2