Home> Cedar Siding

Cedar Siding: Essential Guide to Durability & Aesthetic Appeal

November 9, 2023

Discover the unmatched benefits of Cedar Siding for your home. Unveil tips for installation, maintenance, and purchasing for maximum durability.

How To Attach Cedar Siding

How To Attach Cedar Siding

By: Emily Roberts • Articles

Read More
When To Replace Cedar Shingle Siding

When To Replace Cedar Shingle Siding

By: Lily Evans • Articles

Read More
What Is Cedar Shake Siding

What Is Cedar Shake Siding

By: Emma Thompson • Articles

Read More
How To Stain Cedar Siding

How To Stain Cedar Siding

By: Daniel Carter • Articles

Read More
How Many Years Does Cedar Siding Last

How Many Years Does Cedar Siding Last

By: Emily Roberts • Articles

Read More


Cedar siding is a popular choice among homeowners, designers and architects due to its naturally beautiful aesthetics, resilience, and durability. Its rich tones and textures bring a warm and inviting charm to any home, giving it a unique, rustic character that blends seamlessly with various architectural styles. Beyond the visual appeal, it offers robust protection against certain weather conditions and insects, making it an ideal candidate for home improvement projects.

Given the significant role cedar siding can play in enhancing a home’s value, it warrants a thorough exploration. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into everything you need to know about it, from its historical use, different types, benefits, selection criteria, environmental considerations, costs, maintenance and more. By the end of this guide, you’ll understand why cedar siding is a cherished favorite among many homeowners.

Key Takeaways:

  • Proper preparation is key to a successful cedar siding installation. From surface cleaning to precise measurements, attention to detail ensures a secure and long-lasting finish that enhances your home’s exterior.
  • Adding a protective finish to your cedar siding not only enhances its natural beauty but also provides added durability and resistance against weathering. Regular maintenance will keep your siding looking vibrant for years to come.

History of Cedar Siding

The use of cedar in home building dates back centuries, particularly in indigenous cultures across North America where it was prized for its durability and resistance to decay. The abundance of cedar trees in these regions made it an accessible material option, leading to its widespread use across various construction projects.

Over the years, cedar siding has evolved significantly in its design and functionality but has always retained its status as a premium choice of material. With advancements in technology and manufacturing processes, cedar siding today is available in multiple styles, each designed to accentuate the wood’s natural beauty while offering reliable protection from the elements. In modern times, cedar siding retains its appeal in home improvement and even in storage where its durable nature and rustic charm play a key role.

Types of Cedar Siding

One of the key features of cedar siding is its availability in a plethora of styles, substantially increasing its versatility and range of application. Here, we introduce the main types of cedar siding and their distinctive features.

Bevel Siding

Also known as lap siding or clapboard, bevel siding is arguably the most common type of cedar siding. These are thin, wedge-shaped planks that are wider at the bottom and taper towards the top. Bevel siding can be installed either horizontally or vertically, offering several design possibilities. Its overlapped design facilitates efficient water runoff, thereby protecting the underlying structure.

Tongue & Groove Siding

Tongue and groove siding features planks that fit together via interlocking edges. This design allows the pieces to fit together seamlessly, creating a smooth and continuous surface. It can be installed both horizontally and vertically and offers excellent weather protection.

Lap Siding

Lap siding, also known as channel siding, has a distinctive profile that gives off a shadow line effect. The planks are designed to partially overlap, creating a recessed area that adds depth and dimension to the structure. While it is typically installed horizontally, it can also be arranged vertically or diagonally for more unique aesthetics.

To sum up, cedar siding offers multiple style options allowing you to select the one that best suits your aesthetics and functional needs. It is important to note that each type of cedar siding may have different installation requirements. Understanding these can greatly aid in making an informed decision, about which we will discuss further in the ‘Installation of Cedar Siding’ section in our comprehensive guide.

Benefits of Cedar Siding

In addition to its inherent beauty, cedar siding brings numerous other benefits that make it a prime choice for homeowners. Let’s delve into these further:

Aesthetic appeal

The natural richness, texture and grain of cedar create a striking aesthetic appeal that few other materials can match. Cedar siding can instantly uplift the architectural charisma of a home and seamlessly blend with different design aesthetics.


Touted as one of the most durable types of wood, cedar siding is known for its excellent lifespan. It withstands harsh weather conditions exceptionally well and is naturally resistant to rot, decay and pest infestations, making it a sturdy and long-lasting choice for exterior home applications.

Energy Efficiency

Cedar siding offers superior insulation capabilities compared to other siding materials, ensuring your home remains warm in the winter and cool in the summer. By helping maintain optimum indoor temperatures, cedar siding can significantly cut down on energy usage and contribute to lower HVAC costs.

How to Choose High-Quality Cedar Siding

While the aesthetic and functional appeal of cedar siding is undeniably enticing, it’s critical to invest in high quality cedar to truly capitalize on these benefits. Here are some key factors to consider when shopping for cedar siding:

Choosing the right type for your needs

Each type of cedar siding presents a unique look and level of function. Bevel, tongue and groove, and lap sidings come with their unique features and installation requirements. Consider your design preferences, local weather conditions, and your home’s architectural style to determine which type will work best for you.

Checking for quality indicators

Cedar siding should be free from defects, such as knots, splits or cracks. They should also be uniform in color and texture with no signs of warping or twisting. Additionally, high-quality cedar siding will have a pleasant, slightly sweet aroma. Any unpleasant smell could indicate rot or other issues.

Understanding grades of cedar

All cedar siding isn’t created equal, and the grade of the cedar will ultimately determine its quality. High-grade cedar will be free from knots and other visible blemishes and offer better durability and longevity. It is typically procured from the heartwood of mature trees and is a preferable option for visible exterior applications.

Cedar Siding and the Environment

Environmental sustainability is an increasingly prominent factor homeowners consider when selecting any building material. Here’s what you need to know about cedar siding and its impact on the environment:

Sustainability of cedar

Cedar trees have a relatively fast growth rate, making them a renewable source of wood. Many providers source cedar from managed forests where sustainable harvesting practices are employed to maintain the ecology of the area.

Cedar harvesting and the environment

Unlike the manufacturing processes for synthetic siding materials which might release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere, cedar siding production has a relatively low environmental impact. Moreover, at the end of its life cycle, cedar siding is biodegradable, reducing landfill waste.

Environmental benefits of cedar siding

Beyond its sustainability, cedar siding provides excellent natural insulation, further reducing a home’s environmental footprint by cutting down on energy consumption. Its durability also means less frequent replacement, reducing demands on resources.

Cedar Siding vs Other Siding Materials

When it comes to choosing the best siding for your home, it’s essential to understand how cedar compares to other popular materials. Here, we take a look at how cedar siding stands up against vinyl, fiber cement, and other wood sidings:

Comparisons with Vinyl Siding

While vinyl siding is a lower-cost alternative, it can’t provide the authentic, natural aesthetic that cedar does. It lacks the grain and texture of real wood, and once damaged, it’s impossible to repair – the entire section must be replaced. On the other hand, cedar siding can be easily repaired without needing to replace the entire panel.

Competing with Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement is another synthetic alternative that comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. While it can mimic the look of wood, it still lacks the warmth and charm of real cedar. It’s also significantly heavier, making it more challenging to install than cedar.

Competing with Other Wood Sidings

When compared to other kinds of wood siding, cedar has a distinctive edge. Most notably, its natural resistance to rot and insects makes it a more durable option. With proper maintenance, cedar siding can outlast many other types of wood siding.

Installation of Cedar Siding

The correct installation of cedar siding is crucial for its performance and longevity. Raw cedar siding in particular needs careful handling due to its propensity for moisture absorption which can lead to warping if not correctly installed. This section provides a brief insight into the installation process:

Preparing for installation

Installing cedar siding starts with proper preparation of the wall surface. This includes ensuring the wall is dry, clean, and flat. A weather-resistant barrier should be added which is then covered by a drainage mat to allow any moisture that does get behind the siding to escape.

Installation technique and steps

The cedar siding should be attached in a manner that allows free vertical movement. For installing bevel siding, start at the lowest point of the structure. For tongue and groove siding, you’ll start at one corner and work your way across. A specialized nail gun is helpful to ensure the siding is secure.

Common installation mistakes to avoid

Common mistakes during installation include not accounting for wood expansion due to moisture absorption, neglecting to use corrosion-resistant fasteners, and applying paint wrongly. Avoiding these will help ensure your cedar siding lasts a long time.

Costs of Cedar Siding

When budgeting for cedar siding, it’s important to keep in mind not just the upfront costs, but also long-term expenses related to installation, maintenance, and potential repairs. Below is a breakdown of these costs:

Initial purchase costs

Cedar siding is slightly more expensive than synthetic alternatives due to its superior quality and aesthetic. However, the cost varies based on the type of cedar, its grade, and the specific style of siding chosen.

Installation costs

The cost of installing cedar siding depends on the complexity of the job, the size of the area to be sided and local labor costs. Seek multiple quotes from local contractors to get the best deal. Remember, proper installation is vital to the longevity of your siding, so hiring an experienced contractor could save you money in the long run.

Long-term costs and value of cedar siding

Cedar siding requires routine maintenance to retain its beauty and functionality, adding to its long-term cost. However, it offers increased property value by enhancing curb appeal, making it an excellent investment for homeowners thinking about the resale value of their home.

Maintenance and Care of Cedar Siding

Cedar siding has a reputable durability, but like all natural products, it still requires regular maintenance to retain its function and appearance. It’s crucial to regularly inspect cedar siding to find potential damage caused by weathering, pests or mechanical impact and address it promptly.

Regular Cleaning Processes

Regular cleaning of cedar siding should involve a soft brush and a mild detergent to remove mildew, dust, and dirt. You should then rinse the siding with a garden hose, ensuring the water is not directed upwards or at high pressure to avoid water seepage behind the siding.

Required Treatments for Longevity

Cedar siding should be treated with a water-repellent preservative or semi-transparent stain every few years to enhance its moisture resistance. The cedar might need to be re-stained every 3-7 years, depending on its exposure to the weather. In high moisture areas, applying a mildewcide can help prevent mildew growth.

Repairing Damaged Cedar Siding

Minor damages like small holes or cracks can be filled with wood filler, then sanded and refinished to match the surrounding siding. More significant damage might require the affected panel to be replaced. With careful maintenance and timely repairs, cedar siding can last many years.

Finishes for Cedar Siding

One of the considerable advantages of cedar siding is the variety of finishes that can be applied to enhance its natural beauty. Different finishes can dramatically alter the appearance of your home and protect it from different weather conditions.

Natural Finish Options

A natural finish allows the cedar’s beautiful grain and texture to show through while providing some weather protection. Clear water-repellent preservatives or semi-transparent stains are popular natural finishes that also add subtle color.

Stain and Paint Options

Translucent and solid-color stains offer more color and opacity options while still revealing the cedar’s grain. If a more uniform color is desired, paint is another excellent choice. Regardless of the finish selected, it’s crucial to properly prepare the surface and follow the correct staining procedures.

Choosing the Best Finish for Your Home

The right finish for your cedar siding depends on various factors: the climate of your area, the style and age of your home, and your personal aesthetic preferences. Always sample the finish on a small, hidden piece of siding before applying it to the whole house.

Weathering and Aging of Cedar Siding

Over time, cedar siding naturally ages and weathers due to exposure to sunlight, moisture, and climate variations. Understanding this process can help you manage it actively and maintain your siding’s look.

Expectations for Weathering

If left untreated, cedar siding will turn a silvery-gray over time. This weathering can be irregular, creating an uneven coloration that some homeowners find appealing for its rustic charm.

How to Manage Aging and Fading

Aging and fading can be managed by applying finishes that contain UV blockers or by using semi-transparent stains that add color but allow the wood’s texture to show. Regular maintenance and timely re-staining can tune the color shift to your preference.

Weathering Effects on Cedar Siding Lifespan

Although weathering affects cedar siding’s aesthetic, it does not necessarily compromise its functionality. However, if the siding is continuously subjected to extreme weather conditions without proper maintenance, it may exhibit signs of decay faster. This emphasizes the importance of regular care and protection for your cedar siding.

Pros and Cons of Cedar Siding

Cedar siding, like any other home improvement material, has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these can help you make a more informed decision about whether or not it is suitable for your home.

Advantages of Cedar Siding

Cedar siding is prized for its rustic charm and natural beauty, which can significantly enhance the curb appeal of your home. It offers excellent insulation properties, helping to keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Cedar siding is also highly durable, resistant to rot, and has a natural ability to ward off insects.

Disadvantages and challenges of Cedar Siding

While cedar siding brings many benefits, it also carries a few drawbacks. It requires regular maintenance including cleaning and staining, which can be time-consuming and costly over time. Cedar is also more expensive than some synthetic siding materials such as vinyl. Lastly, it can also be susceptible to moisture damage if not properly treated and maintained.

Industry Certifications for Cedar Siding

Industry certifications for cedar siding provide assurance of the product’s quality, durability, and sustainable sourcing. These can play a significant role in determining the performance and impact of your cedar siding.

Understanding various certifications

Certifications like the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) indicate that the cedar has been sourced responsibly and is eco-friendly. Other certifications may relate to the siding’s durability, resistance to rot and insects, or energy efficiency.

Importance of certified cedar siding

Certified cedar siding not only ensures you are getting a high-quality, durable product, but also supports sustainable forestry practices. Using certified cedar siding can significantly contribute to your home’s overall energy efficiency while minimizing your environmental impact.

Case Study: Successful Cedar Siding Projects

Cedar siding has been successfully used in many home improvement and building projects, adding value and character to homes and buildings.

Residential Project Example

In a suburban neighborhood, a homeowner chose cedar siding to replace old, worn-out vinyl siding. The cedar siding added significant warmth, charm, and curb appeal to the home. Despite the higher initial cost, the homeowner found the investment justified by the improved aesthetics, increased home value, and energy savings.

Commercial Project Example

In a commercial application, a business owner chose cedar siding for an outdoor store, valuing its natural appearance and durability. The cedar siding withstood intense weather conditions and maintained its attractive appearance for many years with routine maintenance. The project showcased cedar siding’s practicality and aesthetic potential in a commercial context.

Common Questions about Cedar Siding

Before investing in cedar siding, homeowners typically have a number of questions. Answering these queries can help dispel any myths or misconceptions and provide a better understanding of what to expect from cedar siding.

Commonly asked questions can range from “How long does cedar siding last?” To questions about maintenance and care practices such as “What are the best ways to maintain cedar siding?” In response to these, cedar siding, when properly maintained and cared for, can last many decades. Maintenance recommendations often include regular cleaning and re-staining every few years to preserve the wood and maintain its natural beauty.

Myths and misconceptions about cedar siding

A common myth pertaining to cedar siding is that it attracts pests such as termites. However, the truth is cedar has natural oils that act as a deterrent to many types of insects. Another myth is that cedar siding requires constant maintenance. In reality, with the proper installation and regular, but minimal, maintenance, cedar siding can remain beautiful and durable for years.

Where to Buy Cedar Siding

When in the market for cedar siding, there are numerous suppliers from which to choose. The decision often comes down to personal preference, price point, and convenience.

You might choose to buy your cedar siding from a local lumberyard or from a specialty home improvement store. Whether you buy in-person or online depends on your preference for convenience versus seeing and touching the wood before you buy. Remember, the quality of the siding can significantly impact the longevity and aesthetics of your project, so choosing a reliable supplier is essential.

Tips for purchasing cedar siding

When buying cedar siding, consider the grade of wood, as this significantly impacts quality and price. Clear grades are the highest quality, while knotty grades provide a more rustic look. Additionally, pay close attention to the moisture content, as this can affect the wood’s stability. Finally, ensure your supplier offers good customer service, in case of any issues or questions that arise during your project.

Future Trends in Cedar Siding

As with any other industry, the world of cedar siding is always evolving with new trends, technologies, and market expectations. With an increasing focus on eco-friendly home improvements and materials, cedar’s natural and sustainable qualities continue to be a major selling point.

The rise of smart homes and integrated technologies may also start to have an impact on siding choices and installation processes. We might see advancements in treatments and finishes that increase the longevity and durability of cedar siding, reducing maintenance needs. There’s also an industry interest in developing more effective ways to verify and certify the sustainability and quality of the cedar used, which could impact purchasing decisions in future.

Predicted changes in the market

Future market predictions suggest a rise in demand for high-quality, durable, and eco-friendly siding options like cedar. Technological advancements may also usher in improved production processes, resulting in better products and potentially lower prices for consumers.

Quick Summary: Step by Step Guide to Cedar Siding

Choosing, installing, and maintaining cedar siding can be distilled into a few essential steps.

Firstly, you need to choose the right cedar siding for your needs. This involves understanding the different types of cedar siding available, and how each one would suit your home design. Always consider factors such as weathering, installation costs, aesthetics, and maintenance requirements. Make sure to choose a reliable supplier with certified cedar siding.

Secondly, installing your cedar siding should be done with care and precision. Remember to prepare the surface well before beginning installation. Hiring a professional is recommended, but if you opt for a DIY installation, learn the correct process and be aware of common mistakes to avoid. For detailed instructions on installation techniques, refer to how to attach cedar siding and what nail gun to use for siding.

Last but not least, care and maintenance of your cedar siding is vital to prolong its lifespan. This generally involves regular cleaning, re-staining or sealing to preserve the wood, and making timely minor repairs as needed. For proper staining techniques refer to how to stain cedar siding.

Conclusion: Cedar Siding in Home Improvement

In conclusion, cedar siding presents many advantages for home improvement projects, offering unmatched aesthetic appeal and impressive durability. Whether you prefer the natural finish of cedar wood or wish to stain it for a personalized touch, cedar siding adds distinct character to your home.

While cedar siding requires a certain level of maintenance, its long-lasting durability and ability to withstand harsh weather conditions make it a worthwhile investment. Moreover, cedar siding’s environmental benefits and sustainability contribute to its popularity among eco-conscious homeowners. If you carefully consider the factors mentioned in this guide, cedar siding can enrich the beauty of your home and provide lasting protection for many years to come.

Before you decide to go for cedar siding, take a look at different types of house siding options for a well-informed decision in this comprehensive guide. Remember, every home improvement decision should be made with careful thought and research.