It’s hard not to admire a well-kept cedar fence. Few other landscaping additions do so much to instill a pleasant, relaxing atmosphere while offering security, privacy and a place for children and pets to play.
But there are many other reasons cedar—Western Red cedar, in particular—is considered a premium fencing material. Here are ten things you may not know about your cedar fence:
1. Blocks noise almost as well as concrete. Cedar fences boast impressive sound-blocking capabilities, with 70% of the noise suppression abilities of a pure concrete wall.
2. Bugs hate cedar. One of cedar’s best traits can’t be seen—but it can be smelled. The rich, distinctive odor of cedar oil is a natural insect repellent. One whiff will help deter moths, mosquitoes and even termites from making your new cedar fence their home. This is also why cedar is such a popular choice for closets and storage chests. (Cedar oil is also a natural expectorant, used to relieve chest congestion, and has antiseptic properties to help heal minor wounds.)
3. Resists decay. Western Red cedar, a top choice for fencing materials, includes naturally occurring fungicidal compounds called thujaplicins. These compounds fight decay-causing fungi, making this tree one of the most durable coniferous species and contributing to cedar’s long life span.
4. Virtually waterproof. Cedar is a hydroscopic wood, meaning it absorbs and releases water, moisture and condensation in a regulated way that maintains equilibrium with the surrounding atmosphere. This is why cedar fences have superior protection against warping and rot and are able to withstand heavy rains and moist climates. In fact, cedar is so renowned for its moisture-handling capabilities that it’s considered a premium wood for hot tubs and saunas.
5. Super light and super strong. Though technically a softwood, cedar is flexible and easy to work with while still exhibiting incredible strength. Depending on the variety used, cedar can be anywhere from 25% to 35% lighter than redwood, but with 80% of the strength of oak. Enhanced dimensional stability means cedar excels at holding its shape in horizontal or vertical positions. This weight to strength ratio is key in helping your fence stand up to the extreme winds of North TX.
6. Pitch-free. Western Red cedar has no pitch or resin, which allows it to bond well with adhesives and gives it a firm base for a wide range of paints and stains.
7. Easy to work with. The fine, straight grain and uniform texture of Western Red cedar make it easy to saw and nail using common tools.
8. Historic wood of choice. For centuries, humans have recognized cedar as a superior wood. Native Americans considered cedar the “tree of life” and used it to build their canoes, totem poles and other objects. Ancient Egyptians used cedar oil during the mummification process. It is even said that Lebanese cedar was used in the construction of the temple of King Solomon and the ships of Alexander the Great.
9. Safer than pine. The most common wood fencing material after cedar is pressure-treated pine. Since natural pine isn’t an ideal fencing material to begin with, treating it to withstand weather conditions grants it better staying power in the face of the elements. Even when treated, however, pine or other woods simply don’t stack up. With cedar’s natural resistances to bacteria, fungus and mold, using cedar fencing means you won’t be accidentally exposed to germs. Plus, because you can use cedar in its natural state, you won’t get splinters from pressure-treated wood that can potentially lead to infections.