Properties of Western Cedar Wood

Updated February 21, 2017

Western cedar wood (western red cedar) is a popular and attractive building material that is strong, insect resistant and has a long lifespan. Also, western red cedar is a renewable source of lightweight and durable timber.

Wood Qualities

Western red cedar is a slow-growing tree that produces timber with a consistent grain pattern and high durability. According to the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association (WRCLA), it is useful for many construction applications, including housing and decks.

Low Density

Western red cedar is a low density wood. It is lightweight and possesses good insulating properties.


Western red cedar is a consistent, attractive wood that can handle a variety of different finishes. Its inherent beauty makes staining a natural option for finishing the cedar.

Insect and Decay Resistant

Naturally occurring elements within the cedar tree make western red cedar resistant to damage from insects and decay from weather.

Stability and Workability

Western red cedar is the most stable softwood species, reports the WRCLA. It is also very workable, meaning it can be cut, sawn or glued with ease.


The WRCLA advises that corrosion-resistant fasteners should be used when working with western red cedar. The wood has a natural preservative that can stain if improper fasteners are used. Galvanised, hot-dipped zinc-coated and stainless steel nails are suitable for use with western red cedar.

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About the Author

Robert Howard has been writing professionally since 2004 and writes a weekly column for the "Synthesis," a Chico, Calif.-based newspaper. He maintains a blog and has published articles and works of fiction in a variety of different print and online magazines. Howard holds a Bachelor of Arts in visual arts from the University of California, San Diego.