A popular exterior species here in North America, Western Red Cedar is an excellent choice for many outdoor projects. From decks to siding, pergolas to paneling, this softwood species is ideal for exterior applications due to its rot and insect resistance. Since it comes at a lower cost than many other exterior species and has high availability, even in large sizes, it is ideal for many customers.
While many Western Red Cedar customers realize that ordering CVG (clear vertical grain) Cedar will ensure getting the highest quality boards, they likely don’t realize that the appearance of your boards will be greatly affected by the origin of the Cedar you receive.
Typically boasting very clear and straight grain, along with extra-long timbers suitable for exterior structures, Coastal Cedar is often referred to as Western Red. It grows along the coast in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California.
Due to the high amounts of rainfall along the coast, Coastal Cedar trees grow very large and fast and show few knots, as a result. Their coloring is consistent but darker than Inland Cedar, due in part to the evening out of early and late growth seasons.
Typically, CVG Cedar is Coastal Cedar. The large timbers and wide boards are often utilized for siding, paneling, flooring, structural timbers, and shingles.
Lighter in color and more knotty than its coastal counterpart, Inland Cedar lumber appears striped and contains many knots. Due to great variation in soil chemistry and rainfall, Inland Cedar trees are typically smaller and have distinctive amounts of density from early to late growth.
Due to the smaller size, Inland Cedar trees contain more branches, thus more knots. The unique striped, knotty appearance makes it ideal for decking, flooring, and paneling. Graded according to Pine nomenclature, it can be described as #3 and better in STK (select tight knot).
While Coastal Cedar and Inland Cedar are two variations of the same species, Thuja plicata, they translate into distinctive appearances. Knowing that can make a difference when you order, because if you know you want dark, clear, or large boards or timbers, you’ll want to specify Coastal Cedar. If you prefer more character marks such as striping and knots, you will want Inland Cedar.
At the end of the day, the price will reflect the grade, not necessarily the origin, of your Western Red Cedar — which really isn’t actually a Cedar, at all.
Here at J. Gibson McIlvain, we’re committed to providing our customers with only the highest quality lumber and lumber products. We carry both Inland Cedar and Coastal Cedar and delight in educating our customers about the greenest building materials around. We’d love to help you understand more about the many exterior species we carry and discover which one will be just right for your net project.
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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