Cedar decking is the classic choice. When I started building decks after high school, I did dozens of these a summer and can still remember that sweet smell of cut cedar.
Western Red Cedar and its cousin Redwood have a natural beauty that is so striking that the makers of composite wood spend millions trying to replicate it in their decking.
When people think of a beautiful deck, chances are they are seeing a cedar deck in their mind.
Now let’s see how it stacks up to the competition in COST, LIFETIME and LOOK and FEEL.
Not as cheap as treated decking, but less than hardwood and composite.
Unfortunately, to keep it looking good over time will require frequent powerwashing and staining every 2-3 years, which starts to add up.
15-30 years if properly maintained
Cedar does have a natural preservative, but unfortunately it loses its power over time. This means it requires maintenance. If not maintained, the natural preservatives give out and the wood will rot.
Some people enjoy time spent pressure washing and staining a deck. I haven’t met any of them, but I’m sure someone out there does. I hope.
LOOK AND FEEL
''Real Nice, Clark''
It is hard to beat the look and feel of a brand new cedar deck. Unfortunately, it fades to gray quickly without a good stain or seal, and those just don’t quite match the beauty of the naked wood.
Cedar is very dimensionally stable, which means it is less likely to shrink, warp or split than treated wood. This means you are less likely to get a splinter.
It also naturally dissipates solar heat, so it doesn’t cause the “hot deck barefoot boogie” dance on August days in Kansas City.
- Cedar decking doesn’t contain pitch or resin, which means it takes stain and other finishes really well. There is a lot of ways to finish this wood, from a shabby chic bleach to a beautiful dark stain.
- Cedar decking is cut from sustainably managed forests, and take less energy to produce than composite decking. It is biodegradable and renewable. Mother Earth smiles on cedar decks.
- Want to know more? Check out this website from producers of Western Red Cedar