When many people think of cedar as a construction material, they think of that warm smell of cedar closets, but cedar is also a terrific siding material for your home’s exterior. Cedar is one of the most durable softwoods, offering excellent noise abatement, insulation, and longevity.
The Benefits of Cedar
Cedar is a low-density softwood, meaning that it has an open cell structure, unlike many siding materials. This makes it a light wood that is easy for construction, as well as making it a terrific insulator. Because of the density, less heat is transported through the wood, keeping heat from escaping in the winter and the cool air from escaping in the summer. Similarly, as it reduces heat flow, it creates a natural acoustic barrier. Cedar is also a sustainable, durable wood, whether painted, treated or left untreated. But the main reason people choose cedar siding, or cedar shake, is not really its durable properties, but the style.
Cedar Siding Style
Cedar siding—also called cedar shakes or cedar shingles by some—comes in a variety of stains and textures, including cedar shake. It is one of the warmest woods, offering a very natural look to your home that blends in well with your environment. The spectrum of patterns and styles in cedar siding is broad, and includes bevel, board and batten, channel, tongue and groove, and wavy edge bevel. In its natural, unfinished and unstained state, this cedar shake look offers a textured, grainy wood with subtle aroma. Stained, it retains the attractive perceptible grain, but can offer a wider variety of exterior home design options. And, of course, if you prefer to paint your cedar siding, that is an option as well.
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Cedar Shake Maintenance
Cedar has natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, allowing you to leave the wood untreated without worry of excess warping, rotting and cracking. It does weather, though, changing color throughout time, offering a much more rugged look than stained cedar siding offers. For those who like the stained look, cedar requires more maintenance than many other woods. To preserve the style as it is installed and first stained, you will need to re-stain or re-paint on a semi-annual basis. This is something to consider when choosing cedar shingles or siding.
Whether you stain your cedar or allow it to weather naturally, basic maintenance applies. Like any other exterior, you will get extra years out of your siding if you annually pressure wash the siding. This can be done using a rental from a local hardware store or equipment rental company, or by hiring a professional cleaning company. In pressure washing your home, always set the pressure washer on the lowest setting and mix soap and a bit of bleach in with the water to make a cleaning solution.
How much does it cost to rent a pressure washer? Consult our Powerwashing Cost Guide to calculate costs.
Cedar siding is a terrific building material that is long lasting and attractive. Its low density makes it a terrific insulator, and the variety of styles that come from leaving it untreated, or treating it with stains or paint, allow a range of styles for any desired intention.