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The Pros And Cons Of Cedar Timber For Outdoor Use

Cedar timber is one of the most sought-after natural softwood materials for indoor but especially outdoor uses. In 2016, over 1.066 billion board feet of cedar was consumed in the United States for residential applications. But is its popularity all hype or is there a reason why cedar has such a good reputation as an all-around useful outdoor timber? Here are a few of the pros and cons of buying this wood from a cedar timber supplier.



One reason to explain cedar's popularity is its versatility. It can be used for a wide variety of outdoor projects including fencing, decking, siding, roofing, patio awnings, gazebos, log home materials, lawn furniture, etc. It also has many uses indoors including flooring, window frames, cabinetry, armoires, closet liners, trim, accent beams, wood paneling, and more. However, there are very few outdoor projects that cedar is unsuited for.

Moisture and Rot Resistant

The characteristic that makes cedar so perfect for outdoor use is its natural moisture and rot resistance. The wood produces natural oils and acids known as polyoxyphenols. If you've ever picked up a piece of freshly cut cedar, you're undoubtedly familiar with that refreshing cedar smell. It's the polyoxyphenols that produce the smell and they are also responsible for cedar's natural resistance to water retention and therefore rotting, the characteristic most sought after for outdoor applications.

Aesthetically Pleasing

With its natural reddish hues and pleasing wood grain, cedar is also one of the most aesthetically beautiful natural softwoods available. When freshly cut, its lovely red hue can be preserved outdoors with a clear top-coat or, if left to age, the cedar will transform into an attractive silvery gray. Both hues are highly desirable.



In some applications like roofing and siding, cedar timber tends to cost a little extra when compared to other similar wood products. However, these other woods often require an additional chemical weather pressure treatment in order to become suitable for outdoor applications, whereas cedar's natural polyoxyphenols make it unnecessary.


Although cedar is moisture and rot resistant, it's definitely not fire resistant. When it's used for applications that could create potential fire hazards, such as roofing or siding, cedar must be treated with a fire retardant chemical before it can be used on or near the home.


Although lovely and naturally moisture resistant, cedar still requires some maintenance especially when used for outdoor applications. Cedar siding and roofing will require protective treatments, especially in moist climates in order to repel moss and lichen growth.

Contact a company like Liese  Lumber Co Inc for more information.