Is Cedar a Good Wood for Siding?

Published on: November 22, 2021

If you’re looking for a good wood siding, cedar siding is an excellent choice. Cedar is durable, yet it’s also a softwood that aids in reducing noise inside your home, keeping it well insulated and providing many years of protection for your home.

Choosing siding materials is an essential part of a successful siding project. Learn everything you need to know about cedar as a siding option.

Cedar Siding Benefits

Cedar has an open cell structure that is unique from other wood siding options. That structure makes for an easy-to-work-with building material. Here are the benefits of cedar siding.

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Numerous style options based on cut
  • Timeless style and appeal
  • Sound and thermal insulation
  • Biodegradable for an eco-friendlier siding option
  • Easy to paint and stain for the look you want
  • Suitable for a variety of architecture styles
  • Easy to install
  • Can last up to 75 years when well cared for

Cedar Siding Disadvantages

While there is a lot to like about cedar siding, it also has its disadvantages. Here are some things to keep in mind when considering cedar.

  • Highly flammable unless specially treated
  • Requires regular maintenance
  • Still prone to wood rot, insects and woodpeckers
  • Reacts to iron, meaning you cannot use iron nails on your home
  • Expensive

Cedar Siding Styles

Cedar is a very warm wood and will provide a natural look for your home. It’s a stable wood that falls in the softwood category but is harder than other woods that fall into this category. And because it’s a bit harder, you are less likely to encounter splitting, swelling and cupping. 

Cedar siding can come in shakes and shingles. But as a wood siding, you can also get it in a variety of stains and textures, which you can change later to provide your home a whole new look. 

Although shingle and shake styles are the most common wood siding styles, you can also get the following siding styles with cedar.

  • Lap siding
  • Drop channel siding
  • Tongue and groove
  • Split log
  • Board and batten

Allow the Professionals to Do It

Maintenance Requirements

The beauty of natural wood siding is incredible. And it has some great things going for it as it has natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. But that’s where the ease of maintaining this wood ends. 

Without maintenance, the wood will still weather and the appearance will change. If you only seal the wood, you still need to reseal it regularly to protect it from the elements. And if you want stained cedar siding, you’ll have even more maintenance for the wood to preserve the original look from the day you installed it. This involves re-staining and re-painting as needed, which is about every three to five years. 

However, the better you maintain the siding, the more years you’ll get from it. So if you don’t think you can keep up with the regular maintenance, you might want to look to a wood alternative to still get the style you want but with realistic maintenance requirements. 

Much like other types of siding, every other year pressure washing will provide great benefits to your siding and improve the look of your home. There are many power washing companies that you can hire for a small fee, or you can rent a pressure washer from your local hardware store. Within a few years, you could pay off a pressure washer though so you might consider buying one and keeping it around.

Additionally, your wood will begin to bleed due to tannins, water and iron. This will impact the look of your siding and require that you rinse it with a hose or mild solution to clean it off and restore the beauty of your siding. 

If your siding is painted, you’ll start to get chalking, peeling and flaking over time. Generally, paint only lasts about 5 years before it starts to look weathered and tired. You should wash the siding and repaint it when this starts to occur.

Without these maintenance activities, your home’s siding might look uneven, and wear differently based on where the sun hits it and how water runs down your home. This will make your home or building look old quickly and will lower the curb appeal. Plus, you’ll be looking to replace your home’s siding in about 10 years if you don’t maintain it.

Cedar Siding Alternatives

The best wood siding alternative is fiber cement siding. It is low maintenance but looks a great deal like wood. It is made from cement, sand, water and cellulose fibers. Each manufacturer also has its proprietary ingredients that aid in the life of siding and its overall performance. 

With professional installation and effective maintenance, you can get up to 100 years out of fiber cement siding. 

Vinyl siding has also come a long way in its design options to provide lookalike wood options that are low maintenance and extremely durable. Unlike fiber cement siding though, once you get close to the home, you’ll be able to tell that the vinyl siding is not wood. From the curb, it offers a very similar look, but up close, you can tell your home has a unique style of vinyl siding instead of the real thing.

So is cedar a good wood for siding? Yes, as far as wood siding goes, it’s an excellent material to make your home look great and will weather better than many other types of wood. But like any wood, you’ll need to care for it. If you can afford the time and expense of wood siding, cedar will serve your needs well. But if you want a lower-maintenance lookalike option, look to fiber cement or vinyl to get the look of wood without its upkeep. 

Still unsure whether cedar siding is right for you? Schedule an in-home assessment and estimate with one of our experts. We’ll discuss your home siding options with you and answer your questions related to siding materials, styles and options.

Cedar Siding FAQs

Learn important details and get answers to commonly asked questions about cedar siding to learn more about whether it is right for your home or project.

How Long Does Cedar Siding Last?

Cedar siding can last up to 75 years, but the typical lifespan for the siding is about 20-30 years with regular maintenance. Your climate will also impact the life of the siding.

How Much Does Cedar Siding Cost?

Cedar siding costs approximately $6-$12 per square foot for materials and installation. The installation costs a bit less than alternatives, like fiber cement siding, but the upkeep time and expense are more intensive. That means that you’ll pay more for the siding over its lifetime than you would for wood siding alternatives.

Does Cedar Need to Be Sealed?

The stunning look of natural cedar without paint or heavy treatment processes is one reason why people enjoy using this siding material. But without a sealant coat, the wood is susceptible to moisture and sunlight damage. You can seal the wood without losing its rugged charm.

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