PricingThe cost of cedar is moderate, more than pressure-treated but somewhat less than composite. At $1.55 per linear foot or $3.38 per square foot, it is approximately 30% more than pressure-treated. This higher price point keeps its structural use to visible framing components.
Naturally moisture-resistantYou know that distinct cedar aroma. It comes from its natural oils, the same that make it moisture and insect resilient. So how water-resistant is cedar? Like most composite decking, it is not waterproof but can take a lot of exposure to rain and snow. It needs a chance to breathe and balance its moisture content like cedar shakes for your roof. An example of where not to use cedar would be ground level or below. This constant moisture will eventually cause rot and for the material to fail. Cedar is an excellent choice if you're building a deck near a water feature or swimming pool deck. It's less expensive than concrete and has a warm, inviting feel.
Colour / ApperanceWestern Red cedar is the most common species available in Edmonton. Its colour is reddish- to pinkish-brown and stripes of darker brown with a nearly white sapwood. What makes it stand out is its straight wood grain. Its texture adds an orderly consistency to the deck. It appears more refined with a light uniformed wood grain. Cedar also has better-looking end cuts. Since cedar doesn't require a pressure-treated preservative, it has a seamless end grain matching the deck boards' surface. Pressure treated and composites decking are often designed to hide exposed cuts. (picture frame border)
Adaptability / changeWith cedar decking, you can stain it one colour and change the colour again in 5 years if you want. PVC and composite decking are not stainable. Also, if you need to fix a board, it's much easier to unscrew and replace than composite fasteners.
A classic look that works well with most homes.
Cedar is one of the most aesthetically pleasing decking materials. If you plan to sell your home, your safe with cedar. With most new deck builds using composite or pressure treated decking, you're sure to stand out with this natural classic. It's familiar and unique. Honest and genuine, and feels right outdoors.
Durability15 to 20+ years
When properly finished and maintained, cedar will last for decades.
As a softwood, it is less prone to cupping, shrinking and warping compared to pressure treated. It stays straight more consistently over time.
DisadvantagesEven though it's our favourite material to work with, it does have its drawbacks. Cedar requires maintenance. To keep its colour from turning a silver-grey, it will need to be weather sealed every 1-2 years. The sealant should have UV blockers for fade protection. This sealant will increase its original colour's longevity, but you are likely to still see colour fade in ten years. So to get the vibrant colour back, you will want to apply a stain.
Cedar is also a softer wood so it can get scratched and dinged easier than other decking material. For example, a big dog with big claws or heavy outdoor furniture dragged can leave a mark. Some sanding can take scratches out, but dings are harder to repair.