As a DIYer or a beginner woodworker, you may have wondered if cedar wood costs more than what’s reasonable.
For $9 per linear foot, cedar wood is more expensive than most woods out there. To help you decide if it’s worth buying, our team explains why it is priced the way it is.
What You Need to Know About Cedar Wood
Cedar is known as an ideal wood for outdoor use because it is more resistant to decay than other wood species. Plus, it can be lighter than you think. This coniferous tree is common on furniture, fences, and decks for its attractiveness and durability.
Cedar is like pine trees. It is found in subtropical regions’ terrains — the Himalayas, Continental US, and Mediterranean coastline. That is why it has different aesthetics and quality, depending on where it comes from.
Cedar Wood Types
Here are some types available in the market:
Western Red Cedar
Western red cedar has medium coarse texture. It is rosy beige with straight grains and dark spots.
It grows in Pacific Northwest, US, and Canada. It has compressive strength of 4560 psi, bending strength of up to 7500 psi, density of 21 lbs/ft³, and hardness of 1560 N. This material is used in guitars, roofs, and even boats.
Eastern Red Cedar
Also called red juniper or pencil cedar, eastern red cedar grows in Eastern North America. It has 900 Lbf resistance to wear and denting. The heartwood is reddish brown with fine and straight-grained fibers.
Pencil cedar is heavier at 32 lbs/ft³ with Janka hardness of 4000 N. However rare, its revealing scent makes it ideal for closets. While having bending strength of 8850 psi is great for crafting bows, carvings, and outdoor furniture.
Northern White Cedar
White cedar is common in papers. It is ideal for shingles and furniture for its light brown surface that is easy on the eyes. Native to northeast North America, it is cheaper than other types of cedar. It has fine overall workability, given its toughness and crack resistance.
Also known as “cedro,” this type is recognizable for having light reddish brown heartwood and indistinct grains. Cedro is farmed in South America and the Caribbean. It is used in cigar boxes, cabinets, and guitars heard in flamenco, reggaeton, and classical music.
It is lightweight at 33 lbs/ft³ and can hold up to 600 pounds of pressure.
Lebanese cedar is native to Lebanon’s terrains. You can also see this wood on their national flag. Its heartwood is light red-brown with curvy line patterns and random woodgrains on darker spots.
It is among the hardest cedar with 3670 N of Janka hardness, crushing strength of 42MPa, and 10.1 GPa elasticity. It is common in shipbuilding, boxes, and veneer, and its unique appearance improves furniture’s overall attractiveness.
Incense cedar grows in Southwest US in California and Oregon. It has uniform woodgrain and medium to fine texture. Weighing 24 lbs/ft³ and hardness of 2090 N, incense cedar is used in constructions, lumber, and Venetian blinds.
Often called California white cedar, you’ll find this wood cheaper in California. It is common in pencils because it is safe to sharpen without getting splinters.
Why is Cedar so Expensive?
Cedar is hard to manufacture overall. It is harder to harvest because it is scarce and harder to grow, which are big contributing factors to cedar wood pricing. Logistics is also a problem, as they only grow in selected places where transportation takes more time and expenses.
Another thing is its impressive durability, appearance, water resistance, weather condition resistance, sturdiness, and ability to repel insects. These characteristics also make it high in demand and costly. Besides, cedar is a strong wood, which is suitable for many woodworking projects.
Benefits to Know
Below are in-depth explanations of why cedar is in demand.
Cedar has high compressive and bending strength. Wood cedar fiber is elastic enough to stay together when weight and pressure applied.
Cedar also contains phenol, responsible for its resistance to crack, moisture, heat, and decay.
(Speaking of sturdiness, here’s how you can remove mold from wood to maintain its natural look.)
Aesthetic Pattern and Finish
There are different types of cedar wood out there. But it’s agreeable that each is attractive in its own right. When proper finish is applied, natural grains and patterns of cedar stick out even more.
Cedar is a softwood. It has porous pores that absorb most sounds than it lets out. Due to its softness, vibration gradually diminishes. It is a popular material for acoustically treated rooms and is used to manufacture musical instruments.
Cedar releases chemical and oil scent that repels bugs and other insects. Although pleasant to human smell, insects find it foul and even harmful. Cedarwood oils can also be extracted and sprayed to keep insects, cockroaches, and termites away.
Where to Use Cedar Wood
Cedar wood has more use besides fences and decks. It’s a good choice for the following:
Cedar has tensile strength. It is light, feasible, and lasts for decades, making it an excellent choice for building beams.
Ceiling shingles made of cedar create an eccentric look for your house. Cedar roofing is also a great heat insulator.
This type of roofing can withstand harsh weather conditions like snow, storm, and strong winds. It is energy efficient and lasting, and its color fades into gray, aging like fine wine.
Acoustic guitars, violins, and pianos made of cedar are very resonant in bass and low-mid frequencies. The natural characteristics of cedar, including its lightweight nature and exceptional sound projection, contribute to creating instruments with warm and vibrant tones.
Closets made of cedar naturally dehumidify clothes inside. Cedar is moisture resistant. Its natural scent transferred to clothes keeps them fresh.
It also offers good aesthetics and keeps cockroaches and termites off your wardrobe.
Cedar makes a great barrier for your wall. It is more water and decay resistant than other wood, so you’d want it as your outer layer. It also looks beautiful, and it only makes sense to display it.
Cedar Wood Oil
Cedar is rich in wood oil. It is antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, insecticidal, antifungal, and antispasmodic . Researchers find that its scent can help people sleep, and are also formulated for anxiety, hair treatment, skincare, acne, and perfumes.
Cedar Wood Advantages
Cedar Wood Disadvantages
How much are decking made of cedar?
The cost of decking made of cedar ranges from $7-$15 per square foot. A linear foot of high-quality cedar costs $9, while cheapest is around $4.
Lowest labor costs $20 and almost $70 per square foot if you hire pros. So you should expect to spend more than $3000 on the entire installation, depending on your deck’s dimensions.
Is it great for decking?
Cedar is great for decking because it contains natural oils that help wood fibers inside remain unrotten and protected against water. However expensive and rare, cedar wood can withstand different weather conditions for 15-20 years, given it’s well-maintained.
Furthermore, cedar doesn’t easily crack when applied with weight and pressure, especially if applied with proper finish. It is rigid, compact, and has attractive natural grains.
(Speaking of decking, here’s how to build a wood deck in your backyard!)
What is the cost of red cedar wood?
The cost of red cedar wood ranges from $5-$9 per linear foot. One linear foot of eastern red cedar wood is $4-$8. It is harder than most softwood, ideally for posts and frames.
Western red cedar is more expensive. It can cost up to $4-$10 per linear foot. However, it is more eco-friendly and has better heat insulation properties.
How expensive is it compared to other wood types?
Cedar is expensive compared to other wood types by $8-$5 per linear foot, including labor. An average wood per linear foot range from $2-$3. If you include all expenses, spruce and pine costs $25 and $28 respectively, while a cedar costs $33.
Also Check This Out: Spruce vs Pine vs Fir
Meanwhile, hardwood and redwood costs even more at $50 per linear foot. So cedar is average-priced if you think of it.
Is cedar more expensive than pressure-treated wood?
Cedar is more expensive than pressure-treated wood. Pressure-treated wood is only around $1-$2 per linear foot, while installation costs $12-$20 per square foot. Check other here.
On the other hand, cedar costs a quarter more than pressure-treated wood if you include all expenses. The good thing about cedar is it requires less maintenance, more durable, lighter, and decays way later.
Read Next: The Most Expensive Wood Types in the World
Expensive woods like cedar is perfect if you want natural aesthetics to your home that’s impressively tough and long-lasting. Our laborers used cedars in our projects before. It is feasible and produces pleasant odor.
All things considered, we didn’t mind spending extra bucks. However, you should also consider labor and trucking expenses for its installation.
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