Cedar Vs. Redwood for Decking or Fencing

Cedar Vs. Redwood for Decking or Fencing

Choosing the right material for your deck or fence can be likened to selecting the perfect foundation for your home. It is a decision that marries aesthetics with practicality. 

When creating the perfect outdoor space, most people are stuck between cedar and redwood. These natural woods have their distinct characteristics and unique charm. 

But how does one decide between the subtle allure of cedar and the robust presence of redwood? In this article, we unravel the nuances and compare these age-old rivals in decking and fencing.


Factors to Consider

Since both wood types are excellent in their capacities, the best way to make the decision-making process easier is to consider some important factors. So, when you want to choose between the two wood types, consider the following factors.


Appearance – Cedar vs Redwood

  • Color

When it comes to the factor of color, there’s no clear winner, yet there’s a clear distinction between the two wood types. Western red cedar, when left unstained, naturally boasts a yellowish tone.

Meanwhile, redwood confidently showcases a richer reddish-brown hue. 

Despite their color difference, both wood types are very beautiful. However, if you intend to apply a tinted stain or paint to your deck or timbers, cedar is the cost-effective choice with its lighter, more accommodating natural color. 

Ultimately, whether you lean towards the charm of cedar or the allure of redwood, it’s important to note that without periodic maintenance, both will gradually transform into a charming silver-gray patina. 

The winner here? It depends on your personal preference.


  • Grain pattern

When contemplating the grain pattern you would like on your choice of wood, your project’s demands and budget play significant roles. Both redwood and cedar boast a range of grades that offer flexibility to cater to your preferences.

Redwood presents two notable grades: Premium Heart Clear and Tight Knot Heart. The former, equivalent to Cedar’s PC1, is free from imperfections and knots. It is a premium choice. 

Meanwhile, the latter is similar to Cedar’s PC3. It offers a rustic appearance with sound knots that lend a special character to your project.

Redwoods, primarily sourced from aged plantation trees, typically exhibit fewer knots than cedar. Hence, they tend to offer a marginally smoother surface compared to cedar. 

As a result, redwood claims victory in smoothness due to its “clear” grades with no knots. Nevertheless, your project’s unique requirements will have the final say in this closely contested category.

The verdict? Redwood for smoothness, but remember, your project’s specific needs will ultimately determine the winner.


Environmental-Impact – Cedar vs Redwood

  • Eco-Friendliness

In terms of eco-friendliness, both redwood and cedar stand on common ground. As 100% natural products, they proudly embrace an eco-conscious identity. 

They are not associated with timbers injected with toxic chemicals, such as pine.

Red cedar earns an additional environmental nod due to its local sourcing. Due to this, redwood has a reduced carbon footprint as far as international transportation is concerned. 

Redwood, on the other hand, is mostly sourced from international forests, thereby requiring the need for long-journey transportation. In this regard, Red cedar sails ahead in the race for eco-friendliness.

The winner? Redwood, by a commendable margin.


  • Sustainability

In terms of sustainability, both cedar and redwood shine with commendable environmental certifications. The crux lies in their ability to replenish despite the ever-increasing demand for them quickly. 

It’s not an exact science, as it takes over 50 years for seedlings to mature into harvestable timber.

Redwood, notably, leads the charge. According to reports, the annual growth rate of redwood exceeds its annual harvestation rate. This means that more redwoods are being grown compared to the number of redwoods harvested. 

This commitment to sustainable growth is a notable feather in their cap.

While redwood steps ahead, both woods are here to stay. There’s an assurance that there will continue to be a future where natural beauty and sustainability coexist. 

That being said, the winner in this case is the redwood.


Longevity – Cedar vs Redwood

  • Durability

When it comes to durability, the distinction between the two wood types is tangible and quantifiable. We turn to the Janka hardness test, which delivers a clear verdict. 

Redwood, with a robust Janka rating of 450 lbs, stands as the sturdier contender, outpacing cedar by approximately 23% (cedar holds a Janka rating of 350 lbs).

While the necessity of this extra strength depends on your project’s demands, it’s evident that redwood boasts greater overall durability and stability than cedar. This doesn’t imply that Cedar is incapable, but Redwood emerges as the winner.

Ultimately, it’s a matter of choosing the right fit for your specific project.


  • Maintenance

As for maintenance, cedar and redwood offer parallel care instructions. Cleaning dirt and stains away from both wood types is quite easy. All you need is a simple soap and water solution. 

To combat mildew, you will need a diluted bleach and water mixture. When restoring color due to extractive bleeding or iron stains, an oxalic acid-based product is the go-to solution.

Both cedar and redwood are equipped with tannin, a natural chemical that lends them their color and acts as a natural deterrent to insects. When it comes to potential rot resistance, redwood has the advantage here, thanks to its higher tannin level.


Value – Cedar vs Redwood

  1. Cost Comparison

The financial scales between both wood types tend to tip differently in various regions. However, in most regions, redwood products carry an average premium of 15% over their cedar counterparts.  So, in most cases, cedar tends to prevail as the cost-effective choice. The winner in this financial face-off? Cedar holds the upper hand in most regions.

However, you should remember that regional variations play a crucial role in this cost competition, and the best choice depends on your location and budget.



In conclusion, the choice between the two wood types will depend on the above factors. If you eventually decide to go for cedar, look no further than Longhouse Cedar. Whether for decking, fencing, or any outdoor project, Longhouse Cedar is your trusted partner for premium cedar solutions. 


Contact us today.