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On my last blog I wrote about the various costs of the products that we sell,  and one species ( in my humble opinion) deserves a lot of consideration.  Western Red Cedar.  This is a renewable softwood resource and relatively plentiful compared to some of the exotics and specialty woods.  The decking grades BuildDirect sells are  “knotty” grades  that the mills select for the sound tight knots for a solid surface.  We have  two grades, the sound tight knot,  “select”,  and the “#2 and better no hole” grade, a slightly less grade and still good for one side for decking.  See

As a wood, Western Red Cedar is  classified as durable species,  and decks can last twenty plus years with some maintenance.  It has been used for roofing shingles and shakes,  sidewall shingles for the cottage craftsman look, interior panelling, exterior siding in bevel, channel and board and batten,  and of course Decking.  The color is similar to Redwood, but not quite as red, more of a brown color and very pleasing to the eye.  Interior paneling of  the tongue and groove product in clear or knotty grades  definitely adds character to rooms.  On a historical note, Cedar has been used for centuries in the Pacific North West.  See www.wrcla.org for what I think is the definitive source on this species,  the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association is an extremely valuable resource for knowledge and handling of Cedar.

With Decking,  the most used sizes are the 5/4 x 6  (net size is 1″ x 5 1/2″)  and 2×6  (net size is 1 1/2″  x 5 1/2″) as the width is good for walking on and the wider width gives the board added strength.  The 5/4 x 6 can be used to span 16″ on center,  and 2×6  for a 24″ span on center.   The 5/4 x 4 and the 2×4 should be limited to 12″ span.

Pricing is attractive in Cedar,  it has the image of a specialty species and expensive, however I don’t think so as there are many  more expensive exotics in the market.  Pressure treated wood is less money, however the Pines and Hemlocks have their own characteristics and in a direct comparison, I prefer Cedar.  When some of the exotic clear grades are $2.50 – 3.50 a lineal foot, the Cedar  5/4 x 6 at 1.07 and the 2×6 at 1.44  are very good value.  The #2and better grade is even more of a bargain,  0.54 a lineal foot.  I cannot comment on what other companies do on price,     the prices on our website are our FOB mill prices and the only variable is the freight cost for home or commercial delivery.

Cedar is value.

Regards Glen

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.