Do It Yourself (DIY) Fencing Tips
Why build with cedar?
1. Durability. Thanks to its tight, straight grain and small knots, cedar offers strong dimensional stability, meaning that it holds its shape and form better than other substances. Wood often shrinks as natural moisture in it evaporates. This can negatively impact a project in several ways, as drying wood will twist or crack. Some woods will not lay flat after they dry out. Thanks to its high dimensional stability, cedar is more likely to stay straight and flat as it dries.
2. Decay resistance. Cedar has long been celebrated for its longevity. A naturally occurring oil in cedar acts as a preservative. However, certain sealants and stains can also lock in cedar's rich original color, and protect it's cosmetic beauty.
3. Beauty. Cedar's tight grain patterns and interesting textures are enchanting in a cedar fence or cedar deck. Properly stained cedar has a warm, inviting quality not found in any other wood.
4. Insect Resistance. Did you know that oils found naturally in cedar repel bugs? This is why mothballs and shoetrees are often made from cedar. In fact, the use of cedar as a natural insecticide has a long historical legacy. Ancient Greeks revered local Mediterranean cedar for this reason; a section of The Iliad tells of a character fetching a precious item from a cedar chest. Homeowners and contractors alike appreciate cedar's resistance to termites and fungi.
5. Acceptance of stains. Cedar is an easy-going, laid-back kind of wood. It's happy to take nearly any stain you choose, making it easy to match a cedar deck or fence to your home. Experts recommend a natural oil based product for ease and longevity.
6. Aromatic properties. Cedar releases enchanting aromas as it ages, adding to its overall charm. Aromatherapists tell us that cedar calms the nerves and stimulates circulation. Cedar's olfactory power is even touted in the bible; King Solomon's palace was supposedly built with cedar, since its fragrance was thought to bring people closer to God.
7. Cedar is easy to work with. Unlike some especially hard tropical woods like Ipe, cedar is easy to work with from a construction point of view. Many tropical woods are so hard that holes must be pre-drilled. In contrast, cedar is lightweight and easy to saw, nail, and drill.
8. Regional Significance. Cedar is one of the most common trees in Pacific Northwest forests, and is often found growing among Douglas Fir and Hemlock. Native people of the Northwest used Cedar for everything from medicine to sacred ceremonies to housing.
9. It's Natural and Safe. You'll be living with your deck or fence for years, so you'll want to be sure that the material it's made of is safe. From a human health standpoint, cedar is healthy. Other decking materials, like pressure-treated lumber, often contain nasty chemicals. Anyone who's gotten a sliver from pressure-treated wood will tell you that it's better to get a sliver from natural wood, like cedar. (Splinters from pressure-treated wood often become infected, due to toxic substances in the chemical treatment.)
10. Environmental Impact. Cedar is an environmentally friendly choice with it being one of the few natural renewable resources. Not only are many woods products renewable, but they are also recyclable and biodegradable. Because cedar grows intermitted among stands of more common and densely grown and harvested species, cedar is generally reclaimed as a byproduct of timber operations, by smaller organizations who specialize in its milling.