7 Key Facts About Cedar Siding

Written by Stephen Scoggins

January 22, 2021

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Custom Home Exteriors, Inc has been placing and replacing siding for over 20 years. In that time, one of the most popular requests for house siding has been cedar siding. Cedar is perhaps the classic among classics – it’s timeless, authentic, and it looks great.

But is cedar plank the best choice for your home exterior? Here we’ll break down some facts about cedar that will help you make the best decision for you. 

1. Cedar Siding is Naturally Insulated

When evaluating the insulation ability of a substance, the measurement used is called R-Value. The higher a material’s R-Value, the more insulated it is. The “R” stands for resistance, meaning resistance to temperature changes. 

Here’s a fun fact about wood in general: it typically has a higher R-Value than vinyl siding and fiber cement board. Vinyl has an R-Value of about .61, while fiber cement comes in even lower at .5 on average.

Cedar siding, on the other hand, has an R-Value of 1.61, which is pretty high. This means that it will provide a fair amount of natural insulation to your home. Such insulation can certainly be helpful during the winter seasons of Raleigh, North Carolina, where our team operates.

2. It’s Highly Weather Resistant

Cedar is used in a lot of northern areas with high altitude. This is because it’s very sturdy. In fact, depending on the specific type of cedar in question, it can hold up much better than you would expect from a type of wood. For instance, Western Red Cedar is more naturally resistant to rot and decay. 

3. Cedar Siding Can Be Painted and Stained

Many plastic-based forms of house siding are prone to fading due to prolonged exposure to UV light (aka the sun). While cedar is not immune to fading by any means, the good news is that it can be stained and painted. In other words, it can always be restored.

4. It Comes in a Variety of Forms

As I hinted at earlier, there are multiple types of cedar, each with their own benefits and appeals. For instance, clap board is a thick cut that is applied horizontally. It’s very popular in New England and provides a clean look that vinyl siding and fiber cement commonly try to mimic. 

Rough sawn cedar will go for an opposite, rougher look that can make your home seem more woodsy and rugged. Cedar shake is considered by many to be the most weather-resistant. Then of course there’s Western Red Cedar, which is very popular for its quality and appearance. In addition, there’s Northern White Cedar, which is less durable than Western Red but is also lightweight and easy to work with. 

5. Not all Cedar is Created Equal

Like I said, cedar siding comes in a variety of forms. Each form has its benefits, but some are weaker than others in terms of durability, pest resistance and rot resistance. 

Furthermore, there’s the issue of sapwood vs heartwood. Sapwood is the living layer of trees that’s nearer to the outside, beneath the bark. In contrast, heartwood is the dead wood in the center of the tree. You might think that the dead wood would be more susceptible to pests, decay, and damage, but the opposite is true. Generally speaking, sapwood is more susceptible to rot, pests, and breakage, regardless of the type of cedar wood you’re talking about. 

6. It’s Susceptible to Pests

Though some forms of cedar are more pest-resistant than others, wood is still wood. That means woodpeckers are going to like your cedar siding more than your vinyl siding or Hardie board. This is an important point to consider if you live in a forested area. The same also goes for insects, especially bees, which can take it over. 

7. Its Pricing Is All Over the Place 

As I write this, lumber is priced at over $870 per 1000 board feet. That’s down from its all-time-high in a few months ago in August, where it sat at over $930. To give you an idea of how wild this price is, lumber was around $275 in March. In other words, because cedar is a form of lumber and lumber is a commodity, it can be subject to very wide pricing fluctuations. So if you buy at the wrong time, you can get a pretty raw deal.

Call Us For More Info on Cedar Siding

Like I mentioned earlier, we at CHE have been around a long time, and our 96% customer satisfaction rate shows that we can be trusted to take care of our customers. If you’d like help from highly competent siding experts with the integrity to put your needs first, give us a call today. We’ll help you evaluate your options.

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