Cedar lumber is a beautiful-looking and aromatic type of softwood that is one of the most popular to use, for a wide variety of projects. While it is a softwood, it’s harder than most of the others in that category, yet lightweight at the same time. This helps it remain resilient to cracking or splitting. Typically, cedar is used where it can be shown off because of its natural aesthetic beauty and durability, specifically many home projects.
Benefits of Cedar Lumber
Here are some of the main reasons people love to work with cedar so much.
- Natural beauty – Cedar lumber has lush, deep reds and browns in its color, with straight grains and knots that give it a true character. It also gives off an appealing fragrance that is unmatched. You’ll know it when you walk into a room that has walls lined with cedar boards.
- Protection from insects – It’s actually cedars’ great aroma that deters insects, rodents, and even some snakes. Cedar repels termites, ants, moths, mosquitoes, cockroaches, and more. This is what makes it perfect for some of the projects listed below.
- Protection from rot – Neither snow, rain nor heat can keep cedar down! Cedar has an extraordinary natural endurance against the elements of mother nature. Cedar is resistant to moisture thanks to its chemical properties, and can last decades in harsh conditions when properly sealed.
Common Projects Using Cedar Lumber
Cedar is an attractive choice for many projects, especially outdoor projects because of its resistance to weather. Here are some of the most common projects you’ll find cedar lumber used wonderfully for.
- Decks & porches – Durable and beautiful, cedar is a top choice for decks, porches, and railings. A deck is a wonderful thing to have but a cedar-made deck is a classic showpiece that lasts a long, long time.
- Pergolas – Add some shade to your deck with a pergola made from cedar. Its light weight makes it easy to work with when building up high, and again, its resistance to the moisture helps it last. The sun will turn your cedar darker if not finished but the color is still beautiful. You can even grow vines to wrap around it!
- Shingles – Cedar shingles are a classic look that elevate the exterior look to your home, shed, camp, or garage. The shingles keep away pests and last for decades. Visit our Roofing & Siding Department to see the cedar shingle siding and roofing options we have available.
- Fencing – Cedar can last nearly 20 years as an above-ground fence, a little less if placed into the ground from constant contact with moisture. Cedar also ages beautifully from weathering outside and your fence will look great far longer than when using another type of lumber.
- Outdoor furniture – Any kind of outdoor furniture you can think of, be it chairs, tables, sectionals, swing sets, and more, will be enjoyed for a long time when using cedar.
- Dog houses – Cedar has a natural tendency to stay cool. This makes it a perfect choice of lumber to use to protect your four-legged family member from the summer heat.
- Trellis – Add some beautiful decor to your outdoor space with a cedar trellis. Great for gardens, porches, barbeque areas, fire pit areas, and privacy. Trellises made from cedar will keep away rot and fungus while giving off a great appearance.
Handling, Safety Tips, and Maintenance
- Sawdust & debris – Clean all remnants of your construction and dispose of properly. For any leftover pieces of raw lumber, contact a wood-waste dealer or your local waste disposal provider for details on recycling or repurposing. Untreated cedar can also be burned in your fire pit for a wonderful smelling fire.
- Protective gear – Wear a dust mask and goggles when cutting any lumber.
- Cleaning your wood – You can wash cedar with your hose and a pump spray, using one-part bleach to three-parts water. Go back over it again with just the water after letting it sit for 15-20 minutes. (See Painting & staining bullet to learn how to remove tannins or mill glaze.)
- Water repellent – For extra protection against moisture, apply water repellent once your project is in place and finished being built. It is recommended to apply this every year or two.
- Painting & staining decking – Cedar needs to be washed and primed before painting or staining, since cedars’ natural protective oils and tannins can discolor your finish choice. The glossy sheen on new or unfinished cedar is called “mill glaze” and needs to be “broken” in order to achieve the maximum adhesion of paint or stain. To break the mill glaze, we recommend applying Benjamin Moore Brighten (317), followed by a thorough scrubbing. Once completed, a hose can be used to rinse off the product. Let dry for at least 48 hours, then sand all surfaces with a medium grit sandpaper.
Cedar Lumber Dimensions and Current Stock
View the charts below to see what we currently have in stock: