Choosing the right material
Cedar can be a great choice for your next decking project, but whether you choose cedar vs. pressure-treated lumber, or even composite decking, really depends on your goals and priorities.
Pros of Cedar
Cedar has a long history of use in decking and housing. It’s a durable wood that is naturally resistant to rot, decay and insect attacks, and resists moisture absorption, so it tends to last longer, needs less maintenance, and doesn’t warp or split as easily. A cedar deck can last for 15-20 years or more, depending on maintenance and environment.
Cedar is generally a more attractive wood solution, with strong color tones and consistency that can be sanded, stained, and treated for a beautiful finish.
Western red cedar, used the most, is pitch- and resin-free, making it better for accepting and holding many different stains, bleaches, colors, and translucent finishes. Cedar is also available in many different dimensions, textures, and grades.
Many people are surprised to find out that cedar (and other natural woods) are actually more environmentally superior to synthetic products. It has a net negative greenhouse gas effect (it removes these gasses from the atmosphere), and is renewable and biodegradable. It’s also produced from sustainably managed forests, so it doesn’t degrade our natural forests.
Although cedar decking isn’t the least expensive material, it is an affordable wood, given its many advantages.
Cons of Cedar
As a softer wood, cedar decking can be more easily scratched or dented by furniture and pet claws.
Cedar needs to remain well stained or sealed. You always have the option of an unstained, rustic look, but you still need to seal it every few years.
Although cedar lasts a long time under ideal conditions and treatment, it tends to degrade more quickly when it’s used for ground-level decks, and if it’s shaded, it will slowly dry out. Again, simple maintenance and re-sealing solves these problems.
Cedar decking has a great weathered look (and smell), it can be less expensive than composite, and requires less work than pressure-treated lumber. We can help you consider all your priorities when choosing the decking material that’s best for you.
Learn more on our Decking Department page, then visit us at the store. Ask one of our experts any question to get started.