Pitfalls of Western Red Cedar Wood Siding and an Alternative Solution

problems with cedar siding

The cedar genus is made up of different species, with Western Red Cedar considered the superior cedar. This recognizable reddish-brown lumber is widely seen in both residential and commercial projects. Typically, when someone is talking about a cedar siding or a cedar deck, they are referencing Western Red Cedar.

Western Red Cedar isn’t the most common wood used for exterior siding, but it’s one of the most sought after by homeowners. Unfortunately, like any other natural wood product, Western Red Cedar has drawbacks that should be examined before investing in it.

Why Cedar is Popular

Western Red Cedar, we’ll simply call cedar, is considered by many wood lovers to be one of the most beautiful woods for home siding. Quality cedar siding often has a fairly “clear” look, lacking knots but keeping an attractive, clean grain pattern. Siding varies in shades of reds and browns. The redder the wood, the more desirable it is.

Aside from the appearance, cedar is popular for another reason: this wood is naturally resistant to decay. Have you noticed that cedar has a very pleasant smell to it? This aroma is created by the natural oils produced by the wood and helps repel moisture, insects, fungus, and rot. This characteristic gives cedar an edge on other wood species.

Although cedar siding can look quite stunning, this material is not problem-free.

Disadvantages of Cedar Siding

Most of the problems with cedar siding can be attributed to the fact that it’s a wood product. The biggest pitfall is its high maintenance needs.

Cedar might be naturally more resilient than pine or spruce, but it’s not at all weather- or moisture-proof. As with any other wood siding, you will absolutely need to surface treat your cedar exterior. Regardless of whether you select a clear sealant, a stain, or paint, you’ll need to reapply your treatment regularly. This varies based on region and exposure, but every 3 to 5 years is normal.

Keep in mind that reapplying surface treatments every few years not only takes time, but it also costs money. If you decide to do it yourself, you’ll need to purchase the stain/sealer/paint, along with any tools that you don’t already have on hand. Hiring a professional service is another option, though it can be quite expensive.

Some other potential issues to be aware of include:

  • Necessary surface treatments aren’t always non-toxic or eco-friendly
  • Low fire rating spells a potential disaster in dry regions
  • If damage occurs to a board, moisture can immediately set in
  • Cedar is enticing to woodpeckers

Cedar can still be a great siding choice for the right homeowner. However, if you want greater peace of mind and would rather spend time enjoying your home than caring for it, log steel siding is a great alternative.

Consider a Cedar Alternative    

The only way to avoid problems with cedar siding is to opt for a more durable alternative. Log steel siding is an excellent choice for homeowners that love the look of cedar, but wish for a tougher, longer-lasting, and safer exterior.

Steel siding is one of the most durable materials you can clad your home in. Steel is waterproof, windproof, and performs equally well in hot, dry climates and wet, humid climates. This material is highly recommended for houses in regions prone to wildfires, since it’s non-combustible. The protection of steel siding easily surpasses cedar in every way.

Insects and wildlife pests, like the previously mentioned woodpeckers, are also not attracted to steel and it can actually help protect your home’s wood interior wood structure. Rot, fungus, and general decay that can happen in neglected or unsealed cedar aren’t an issue with steel.

Log steel siding comes in panels, which makes installation fast and easy, especially compared to cedar shake. Impact damage rarely ever breaks completely through steel siding, often only leaving a dent. You’ll still need to repair the dent, but what’s important is that your siding will still be intact and protecting your home from moisture.

TruLog Steel Siding comes in a stunning Red Cedar color that realistically resembles the reddish tone of quality Western Red Cedar logs. Homeowners that have often admired cedar homes will find this steel siding alternative gives them the look they love, minus the problems.

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