What is Western Cedar Wood?

Western Cedar is a versatile wood that offers a multitude of possibilities for outdoor use. Its natural beauty, durability, and stability make it the ideal choice for various outdoor features. For instance, it’s commonly used in cedar weatherboard cladding for homes, fencing for properties, and even in constructing outdoor furniture and landscaping design. The possibilities are truly endless with cedar.

This post is a comprehensive guide to cedarwood, exploring its production process, benefits, and the environmental impact of using this exquisite wood in your home for cedar weatherboard cladding, decking or other applications.

From Nature To Home: A Brief History of Western Red Cedar

Building with Western Red Cedar, a wood that has stood the test of time, has been a popular choice for homeowners and outdoor projects. Its rich history dates back to the 1700s, and this longstanding popularity is a testament to its reliability and performance. 

Western Red Cedar trees can grow up to 180 feet in height, with their longest branches near the bottom of the trees. They are identifiable by their scale-like leaves and patterns of four rows with opposite pairs.

Red Cedar wood, a renewable and biodegradable resource, is known for its extreme sustainability. It has been grown in largely managed forests since around the 1930s, fostering wildlife habitats and increasing biodiversity. The high sustainability of cedar wood is further underscored by its ease of replacement once the mature trees have been felled, ensuring a continuous lifecycle.

Western Red Cedar trees can grow up to 180 feet in height, with their longest branches near the bottom of the trees. They are identifiable by their scale-like leaves and patterns of four rows with opposite pairs.

The Sustainability of Western Red Cedar

A survey commissioned by the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association, a reputable organisation in the industry, set out to prove the sustainability efforts of procuring the timber, how sustainable it is compared to other toppings and its “cradle to grave” environmental impact. The survey, conducted in 2007, found that the wood produces zero emissions thanks to its ability to absorb carbon monoxide and that practises in preparing Western Red Cedar for use in construction are inherently more sustainable than other options, including concrete. These options can be further improved by improving end-of-life options such as recycling timber, repurposing it, using energy recovery technology and more, which many companies and homeowners often use when the timber products have reached the natural end of life.

During its lifespan in outdoor uses around the home, such as cladding or decking, Western Red Cedar commonly outperformed other alternatives, including composite decking. Forintek, who carried out the study on behalf of WRCA, tested the timber in 7 distinct areas and found that Western Red Cedar has the most negligible environmental impact compared to virgin or recycled wood alternatives.

Cedar wood siding was also found in the same survey to come out on top of siding compared to vinyl options, including “Global Warming Options”. Even when the wood was subjected to the worst-case scenarios, such as extreme weather conditions and heavy foot traffic when used as decking, it outperformed composite decking. Even though 20% of boards needed replacing and periodic coats of protectant required to be applied, its environmental benefits were more significant than the tested composite.

Why Is Suitable for Construction

Cedar, particularly Western Red Cedar, has many beneficial properties for construction. Its outdoor use is as widespread now as it was in the past. For instance, it’s the ideal material for various outdoor uses, such as decking, panelling, screening, and cedar weatherboard cladding, as evidenced by its use in both commercial and residential properties alike and at Timbeck Architectural our Western Red Cedar products are highly sought after by clients thanks to their superior quality and our expert knowledge in procuring, preserving and installing all manner of Western Red Cedar products and designs. Its stunning colour, fragrance and durability further enhance its appeal. 

Western Red Cedar’s medium to rough, virtually grain-free texture has a timeless appeal, a design choice that has stood the test of time and is preferred by homeowners and construction companies alike. Its natural preservatives make it resistant to decay and insect damage, thus extending its lifespan and lowering maintenance costs by requiring little upkeep over its practical life. The wood is sanded and finished when used in many applications to give a smooth surface. As it is receptive to stains and finishes, it can be completed to fit in with many designs and styles, making it more aesthetically pleasing and easily adaptable to the current buildings or landscape aesthetics.

Disposing Cedar

When the time comes for Western Red Cedar to be replaced, it can be disposed of sustainably, making it ideal for many more uses once it is no longer fit for its original purpose. This aspect of the material underscores its environmental sustainability, a crucial consideration in today’s construction industry. By choosing Western Red Cedar from Timbeck Architectural, you’re not just making a smart business decision, but also contributing to a more sustainable future.

Western Red Cedar is termite and rot-resistant, and it offers a lifespan of anywhere from 15 to 40 years for above-ground uses and 15 to 25 years for in-ground uses. This lifespan can vary depending on the treatment and care once it is fitted in place. For instance, with regular maintenance and proper sealing, the lifespan can be extended for many more years to offer even greater value for your investment.

The growing trend of using Western Red Cedar in construction is not just a passing fad, but a significant shift in the industry. In fact, this year alone has seen a 2,200% rise in Google searches for cedar privacy screens, indicating that this is likely the next big trend in outdoor areas for both residential and commercial use. By staying informed about these trends, you can ensure that your construction projects are not just functional but also in line with the latest industry standards. Choosing our range of Western Red Cedar products is a strategic move that keeps you ahead of the curve.