Why Is Cedar Such A Popular Choice For Fencing?
Fences are not permanent structures, but property owners in The Woodlands TX, Houston and Cypress TX area would like them to last as long as possible. A cedar fence offers excellent resistance to rot and insects without any sort of chemical treatment or protective coating. It resists rot, shrinkage or warping from rain and snow, and it also resists attack by fungus and termites.
Cedar takes a stain well, but it is not a wood that is easily painted. Most people find it to be an attractive natural wood and do not bother to coat it. The heartwood is usually a reddish brown color, and the sapwood is a pale yellow. The heartwood often shows streaks of the yellow sapwood color throughout. Cedar has a tight grain and a fine, even texture. It dries very quickly when harvested, and this rapid drying characteristic gives the wood a high strength to weight ratio.
When using cedar for a wood fence, it is important to know what you are getting. The name can be applied to different varieties of wood, and they have slightly different properties. California incense-cedar, for example, is grown in managed forests and used in the manufacture of pencils. The wood is soft and sharpens without forming splinters. If you have ever sharpened a pencil, you have probably noticed the aromatic cedar smell of the wood shavings.
Spanish cedar, which is sometimes called cigar box cedar, is a very light-weight and aromatic wood that is used for humidors, clothing storage, the construction of flamenco guitar necks and general construction in the American tropics. It is very resistant to termites and rot, but it has never been commercially grown.
Mexican white cedar is a widely cultivated plantation tree that is grown for construction lumber. It has some insect and rot resistance but is not nearly as durable as red cedar. If left unstained, Mexican white cedar gains a silver color as it ages. Northern white cedar is used commercially for the construction of rustic fencing and posts, but it is a small tree and not widely harvested.
Eastern red cedar and western red cedar are the two varieties most commonly used for fence construction. Like all of the other woods listed in this article, neither is a true cedar. The eastern red cedar is a species of juniper, and the western red cedar is a type of evergreen tree known as a thuja. Both woods have reddish tints, both have fine grains, both are aromatic, and both are highly resistant to decay. Western red cedar is often used in outdoor furniture construction, and eastern red cedar is commonly used for fence posts.
Western red cedar is the type you are most likely to encounter in the lumber yard. It grows larger than eastern red cedar, and the larger yield of dimensional lumber makes it more commercially viable. It is also significantly more resistant to rot than eastern red cedar. The wood contains natural chemicals called thujaplicins. It is these chemicals that give red cedar its distinctive aroma and preservative properties. They will last for many years without rotting, but posts made from western red cedar will eventually rot if placed directly into the ground. Cedar fences generally use pressure-treated pine for posts or set the cedar posts in concrete.
Cedar is a dimensionally stable lumber. This means that the wood does not expand and contract with humidity changes. The main benefit of this quality is that nails can be used instead of screws for construction. Wood that shrinks or warps can cause nails to pull free, but fences constructed from western red cedar do not have this problem.
In addition to the usual culprits of moisture rot and termites, a Houston fence has to stand up to high temperatures. Fencing contractors can give you all of the information you need to make an informed decision about the best material to use, but western red cedar is definitely a good Houston wood fence option.