Cedar is cedar, right? Right? Well, not exactly. Like any species, where the tree grows can often affect the characteristics of the harvested lumber. Knowing the differences can make all the difference in your next project.
Western Red Cedar/Coastal Cedar
Western Red Cedar has become one of the most popular species used in North America due to it being cost-effective, rot resistant, and insect resistant; furthermore, it is more easily available in a variety of sizes, including large planks. This makes it a top choice for those building large projects such as decks, siding, and paneling.
Grown in coastal British Columbia and coastal Washington, Oregon, and even California, Western Red Cedar (also recognized as Coastal Cedar) offers large, wide planks with few knots. This species will grow quite large in a short amount of time. Grown in areas with a heavy rainfall, the color of the wood ends up being much deeper and richer. The color is also more consistent throughout.
Growing in to the Western slopes of the Rockies, Inland Cedar faces a different climate than Coastal Cedar. Because the climate is more arid with greater variations in seasonal changes, Inland Cedar does not grow nearly as large as Coastal Cedar. Because of the weather changes, the wood becomes more dense with greater variations in the appearance. It also will have a more distinct, knotty appearance.
If you are planning to use a cedar product in your next project, it is essential that you determine whether it is Coastal or Inland Cedar. Yes, it is certainly the same species of wood; however, because of the very different growing climates, the final lumber has different characteristics as listed above. If your supplier cannot help you determine the differences because they are not knowledgeable in the subject, chances are you need to call someone else who can because choosing the wrong product may lead to a lot of trouble and delays when the lumber arrives and it is not as you expected.
Although there is not a significant cost difference, the appearance differences certainly are notable. If you are looking for large planks that are clear with darker, consistent colors, you definitely need Western Red Cedar/Coastal Cedar; however, if you want striping, more character, and a more distinct, knotty grade, then Inland Cedar would suit your project better.
Choose a supplier that clearly knows the differences between the two, will listen and understand your project needs and desires, and stocks both types in their lumber yard. J. Gibson McIlvain Company purchases from mills that harvest both Coastal and Inland Cedar, ensuring that they can always offer their customers the perfect lumber distinctive to their project requests.
J. Gibson McIlvain Company
Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (www.mcilvain.com) is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods.
As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums. Contact a representative at J. Gibson McIlvain today by calling (800) 638-9100.
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