Part of the Cypress family, Western Redcedar is not a true Cedar, prompting the one-word spelling rather than the two-word moniker “Red Cedar.” Sharing many of the same properties of Cedars, though, these Cypress trees grow widely along North America’s west coast.
Even with such a wide growth range, the ever-growing demand for Redcedar once caused concerns over potential scarcity. However, awareness and responsible forestry have helped curb such concerns in recent years, and the now balanced supply-to-demand ratios make for a promising continued market for this exterior-grade wood.
The future for Redcedar looks promising, as well, with replanting rates of 5 to 1: In less than 50 years, we’ll have more Redcedar than ever before! You may be wondering what makes this domestic softwood species such a sought-after one? Some of the most celebrated characteristics of Western Redcedar, including its size, durability, and beauty, are discussed below:
Western Redcedar sapwood is quite narrow compared to its trunk diameter: 1 inch compared to 2 to 8 feet. That characteristic allows Redcedars to yield large quantities of lumber with very little waste during the milling process. That low sap content also promotes workability, since the wood is less likely to gum or blunt cutting tools.
Tall Western Redcedars also allow for long structural timbers to be cut. The resulting look can be either rustic or modern, depending on the way it is presented.
Redcedar boasts high levels of extractives, which act as natural fungicides, making the wood resistant to rot. Western Redcedar’s durability is also impressive; however, in order for effective drying to take place, special care needs to be taken during the kiln-drying process. Western Redcedar can even stand up to ground contact, which is pivotal for many outdoor applications.
Western Redcedar certainly has value beyond its appearance, and yet its beauty is quite clear. The long, straight grain leads to strength as well as attractiveness. Clear, vertical-grain, select tight knot Redcedar is the top grade, which is recommended for siding and trim applications.
While the experts at McIlvain Lumber Company specialize in top-grade lumber, they also stock a variety of C or better grades as well as timbers on #2 and better.
Western Redcedar’s low density makes it a lightweight choice suitable for shingles, but it’s also used extensively for other exterior applications, such as siding and trim, outdoor decking and furniture, and rustic-looking interior millwork.
Because of its rot resistance (even when in direct contact with the ground), it can also be used effectively for garden pergolas, fence posts, trellises, and sheds.
With a wide variety of Western Redcedar products in stock, McIlvain Lumber has dedicated softwood specialists that can help you evaluate your project demands and budgetary constraints to help you order the right lumber for your next job. For over 200 years, McIlvain has been a lumber industry leader, and with their vast inventory, dedicated order specialists, and strict quality control measures, it’s no wonder why. For more information on what sets McIlvain apart, visit their website today, or check out these selections from the McIlvain Lumber Blog: