One of my favorite questions I get to answer when I talk to a client or run into someone who has that confused look while shopping for wood at a big box store is what type of wood is the best when it comes to wood fences. There are many varieties of wood fences out there, from bamboo and spruce to yellow locust pine and fir. All of them can easily be fabricated to build a suitable border for your property. But, if what you’re looking for is the best type of wood fence on the market, look no further than a western red cedar fence!
A Brief History of Western Red Cedar Fence
Western red cedar comes from the Pacific Northwest region. Its use in our country dates back to Native Americans who named this wood the “Tree of Life.” In fact, Native Americans not only used this wood to build homes, they also used it to build canoes, totem poles, masks, rope, and clothing!
One of the most remarkable things about cedar is that it was the source of one of humankind’s earliest perfumes. The ancient Egyptians used the sticky oil from the cedar for embalming. They also used the tree’s wood to construct coffins, some of which are still on display in museums thousands of years later. If you know your Bible studies, you may have read that Noah created an offering of cedar and myrtle incense to give thanks for surviving that infamous flood. There are also documents that Tibetan monasteries burned cedar as incense.
Making the Case for Western Red Cedar
Western red cedar is a high-quality grade wood that often costs more, but its benefits make that additional investment in price a worthy one. Don’t ever let a service rep in a box store tell you that there aren’t many differences between wood grades and that buying something less expensive will often suffice (And trust me, I overhear this said in those stores all the time!). That’s just not true. In the case of wood fences, a lower grade wood means your materials may need replacing sooner than you think—meaning you may spend more time and money repairing your fence by choosing lower quality fencing materials.
If you truly want to know why cedar fences are the best, here are some reasons we tell all our customers.
Cedar Fence is the Best When it Comes to Durability
Simply put, western red cedar is among the two types of wood—red wood being the other—that is highly durable and lasts a lot longer than most other types of wood fences. Western red cedar contains natural oils that help make the wood resistant to decay and insect attacks, increasing its durability and strength without the use of chemical treatments. Western red cedar is highly stable to the point where there is minimal shrinkage when used to build a fence, meaning your fence will stay straight and sturdy for the long haul. The oils in the wood help maintain its appearance—when you see a cedar fence next to a pressure treated pine fence almost a decade after installation, you notice that the cedar fence has aged quite nicely. Cedar fence is so strong and long lasting that if you drive around certain parts of Frederick and western Maryland you may run into one of the fences our owner, Charlie Powers, installed back in the early 1980’s.
Cedar Fence is the Best When it Comes to Adaptability
One of the best qualities western red cedar offers is that it is pitch and resin-free. What that means to a homeowner is that if you want to either embellish or protect the wood to enhance or prolong its use, cedar is among the best when it comes to accepting and maintaining a wide range of beautiful finishes from dark stains to lightly-colored bleaches to semi-transparents, particularly if you want to maintain the wood’s natural beauty.
Depending upon your reasons for getting a fence—whether it’s to keep your pets and loved ones safe inside your yard or to increase privacy so you can enjoy your time outdoors without being bothered by your neighbors or the general public, you can use western red cedar to create several types of cedar fences:
Cedar Fence is the Best When it Comes to Being Green
If you want a wood fence, you want a real wood fence! For me, there is nothing more pleasing than the natural scent of cedar fence planks. There’s something about the smell of natural cedar that just makes people think of home, of our country and memories of childhood. And if being environmentally friendly is important to you, you cannot do better than a cedar fence! Western red cedar removes greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and is renewable and biodegradable. When you buy natural cedar fence panels, you can pretty much count on the lumber coming from a sustainable forest.
Cedar Fence is the Best When it Comes to Attractiveness
Finally, cedar is a gorgeous wood and always looks sharp, as it’s known for its rich grain and vibrant colors. If you want to create a beautiful and lush look to surround your yard or your entire property, cedar is hard to beat when it comes to natural elegance. Whenever folks visit our headquarters on Tilco Drive, they inevitably comment on how great our cedar fence samples look, making it easy to see why cedar fence is our most popular fence material.
Ready to Buy a Western Red Cedar Fence?
If you’re ready to install the best wooden fence, contact us today and one of our cedar-loving fence consultants will be happy to work with you to design a western red cedar fence solution that meets your needs and your budget!
Image Credit: ©2015 Frederick Fence Co. All rights reserved.