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Western Red Cedar: Things to Consider When Buying

1. Stucco Siding

So you’ve decided on for your, , or project. Nice choice! Western red cedar is stable, produces its own preservative oil, and does a darn fine job insulating whatever it covers. It’s also free of resin, but this is the easy part, because unless you know how climate, grain, and type will play into your project, the easy will turn difficult. Here’s what to consider when buying western red cedar:

Climate
Where in the world will your western red cedar go? In the rainy Northwest? Under the sun in the Southwest? In the hot and humid South? You may sense what we’re getting at here: climate is an important factor when buying western red cedar, or really any wood.

Temperature, moisture, aridness, and even wind all affect the performance of wood over time. Cedar shakes and cedar shingles, though stable, do weather naturally over time. Weathered western red cedar turns grey, more rapidly when installed unfinished. A classic and charming beach front house comes to mind with cedar shakes and shingles that take on a puzzle-like, grey piece here, grey piece there, exterior. In drier climates, unfinished western red cedar takes on a shiny silver appearance. Natural finishing aside, western red cedar is susceptible to premature weathering from water stains, dirt, and mildew. Routine washing and cleaning is important.

To preserve the warm reds and golden hues of newly installed western red cedar, apply a finish application that meets the needs of your cedar’s end use. We won’t lie, it’s tedious and time-consuming to apply a finish the first time around, so consider ordering pre-finished siding, shingles, and shakes to make installation easier. Then there’s the routine maintenance required to keep the color in the cedar. And it’s the climate that determines how fast your cedar weathers, what color grey it’ll weather to, and just how routine your maintenance will become–all things to think about.

Grain
Grain is good. Grain is great. And grain determines your western red cedar’s fate. And for the most part, western red cedar offers long lasting performance, thanks to its roots – its long lean trunk generally produces long straight grain lumber.

When knots are present in the lumber, they are tight and do not affect the performance of western red cedar – many manufacturers and vendors sell the highest knot grades – select tight knot – to consumers who desire a knotty, more rustic look. Always ask about the grade to ensure it meets your project’s requirements and end-use.

Consider the grain pattern you need to meet your project guidelines and end-appearance. Opt for clear vertical grain – the grain to withstand the elements – for exterior projects, such as siding, shingle, and shakes. offers Premium, Number 1, Number, 2, and Number 3 western red cedar grades.

Type
Like grain pattern, the type of western red cedar siding, shingles, and shakes is important. Take siding, for example, which comes in a variety of types: bevel, lap, and the vertically-placed board-and-batten sidings. Each of these siding types has their own defining widths and thicknesses – with a range of sizes specific to each type – used to achieve a certain aesthetic.

Source: www.altruwood.com

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