The Pros and Cons of Using Cedar Deck for Your Project

Cedar is a fantastic choice for building your deck because of its combination of many unique properties. It is dimensionally stable, which means that it lays flat and stays straight. It has a rich, warm aesthetic offering a number of natural hues, tight grain patterns and soft textures. It’s fragrant, dark-coloured heartwood naturally resists rot and insect infection in outdoor environments without the need for preservative chemicals. A big advantage of cedar wood is its thermal properties allow it to stay cool to touch in the summer heat.

Cedar is very similar to redwood in many of its properties because both are from the same genus. However, cedar decking in Canada has more flexural toughness than redwood, meaning that it can flex more without shattering and is also less dense and has less natural oil that makes it easier to accept stain.

The most popular form of wood i.e. cedar has 7 types primarily, western red cedar, eastern white cedar, Atlantic cedar, incense cedar, northern white cedar, port oxford cedar, and southern red cedar.

So, now that you are familiar with cedar wood, we are going to share all the yay’s and nay’s of cedar wood that should be considered while building your deck. Ok, then, let’s have a look at its pros and cons. First, the positives.

  1. DurableCedar decking in Canda is 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 the maintenance and surrounding environment.
  2. Versatile– Western red cedar, used the most, is pitch- and resin-free, making it better for accepting and holding many different stains, bleaches, colours, and translucent finishes. Cedarwood is also available in many different dimensions, textures, and grades, depending on your choice.
  3. Eco-friendly– 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.
  4. Affordable– Although cedar decking in Canada isn’t the least expensive material, it is an affordable wood, given its many advantages.
  5. Attractive– Cedar is generally a more attractive wood solution, with strong colour tones and consistency that can be sanded, stained, and treated for a beautiful finish.

Now, let’s look at the cons of cedar wood.

  1. Sensitive– As a softer wood, cedar decking can be more easily scratched or dented by furniture and pet claws.
  2. High maintenance– Cedar needs to remain well stained or sealed. You always have the choice of an unstained, rustic look, but you still need to seal it every few years.
  3. Deterioration– 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 solve these problems.
  4. Fragile– Natural cedar can be dinged, dented, and scraped easier than other decking materials. There’s a scale that determines that hardness of the wood and it is called Janka Hardness Test. It tests the hardness by measuring the force required to insert a steel ball halfway into the wood. The scale of the Janka Hardness Test ranges from 22 to over 5,000 (from soft to hard).

Overall cedar decking in Canada is a great choice to use for a new deck. Cedar can be used for the substructure as well, helping in making a beautiful deck from bottom to top. It’s an option that is more stable and less harmful to the environment than the pressure-treated wood. Also, it is more cost-effective and more natural than composite material.

Therefore, if you are wanting real wood without all the chemicals, cedar wood is the perfect choice for you.

One thought on “The Pros and Cons of Using Cedar Deck for Your Project

  1. Alexandre Maltsev Reply


    We had a cedar deck installed 15 years ago, and this year we decided to replace the surface deck boards (5/4″ thick). After so many years in use I noticed that the gaps between the boards increased in general (I am not talking about seasonal contracting/expanding of the boards depending on the air humidity). Out of curiosity I measured the widths of the old boards, and discovered that the widths of the old boards varied from 5.25″ to 5.375″ whereas the newly installed boards were 5.5″ wide. Is it a common occurrence for the cedar boards to shrink over time overall? Also does this kind of shrinking happen to thicker cedar boards (like 2×6)? Thank you.

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