What is Cedar Lumber?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2019
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Cedar lumber is wood procured from cedar trees that is used as a structural material during construction. Lumber can come in various forms, from raw wood in tree form to finished pieces of lumber cut to specific sizes and shapes. Cedar is one type of lumber that is commonly used for construction, and cedar lumber is naturally resistant to water damage, such as rotting, warping, and developing mold and mildew. It is also resistant to bug infestations; it is highly sought after as a building material because of its natural resistance to various types of damage, and it generally costs more than other types of lumber.

Builders often choose cedar lumber for structures that will be built outside; the cedar lumber is used for structures that will be exposed regularly to the elements. Cedar's natural properties make it a high quality choice that will last a long time and look beautiful in the process, as the cedar's red hue makes it an attractive choice for many structures. It can fade after time and regular exposure to the elements, however, and after several years, treatment of the wood may be necessary. Cedar also has a distinct fragrance that many people find appealing; it is commonly used for closets and other small enclosures to add a pleasant smell to the contents of the closet or to the surrounding room. The smell will also fade somewhat after time.


Like other types of lumber, cedar lumber can be cut to a variety of sizes and shapes to fit a specific application. Boards, planks, posts, joists, studs, and other varieties of cedar lumber are available, and other applications of cedar wood exist as well. Cedar is commonly used for shingling on home roofs, for example. It is a lightweight wood, making it easier to transport and move into place during construction. It absorbs very little water, meaning it is far less susceptible than other woods to warping or twisting, which is a very common problem among other types of lumber.

An alternative to cedar lumber includes pressure treated lumber. This type of lumber is chemically treated to resist damage from moisture, and while it is just as effective at resisting water damage, it is not as environmentally friendly or as visually appealing as cedar. Pressure-treated lumber can also be quite expensive in some cases, and it may need to be re-treated after several years of exposure to the elements.


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