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Why Use Cedar Log Siding?

Patented Log Ends

"It just makes sense to use cedar." says Ron Berge of Modulog Industries, Inc. "We've experimented with other woods in the past, but we just won't use them anymore.

Cedar stays straight - and you can't believe the problems you get into if you have to try to put up siding that has warped. ... Let alone worry about it warping after it's up. It looks so nice, and there is very, very little waste.

You're money ahead in the long run if you go with cedar. That's why it's all we'll use."

General Advantages of Western Cedar

Modulog uses western cedar, one of North America's great renewable resources. Slow growing and naturally durable, cedar has one of the longest life spans of any North American softwood. It produces long lengths of timber with true, straight grain, it's free from pitch and its heartwood has natural decay resistance. Cedar's low density gives it an insulation value superior to most other species. Lightweight, easy to work, easy to finish and possessing outstanding dimensional stability, cedar is the preferred wood for nearly all purposes where attractive appearance and resistance to weather is important.

Increase Your Insulation

The insulation value of wood is directly related to its density. With its low density and high proportion of air spaces, cedar is the best thermal insulator among the commonly available softwood species.

Fend off Decay

Decay resistance is one of cedar's most valuable and well-known characteristics. Cedar is one of the most durable coniferous species and can be counted upon to give long and trouble-free service under most conditions. Cedar's decay resistance comes from the presence of naturally occurring fungicidal compounds in the wood called thujaplicins. Another extractive present in the wood, thujic acid, helps make the wood resistant to insect attack. Properly finished and maintained, cedar will deliver decades of good looks and durability.

Improve Dimensional Stability

Like all woods, Cedar is hygroscopic and will absorb and discharge moisture to obtain equilibrium with the surrounding atmosphere. However, cedar has a very low shrinkage factor and is superior to all other coniferous woods in its resistance to warping, twisting and checking. Shrinkage in both radial and tangential directions is minimal.

The Bottom Line

What all this technical data comes down to is this: Western cedar is far superior to all other types of wood for outdoor use. It is the premium option by homeowners around the country who desire quality and durability. Our customers are proud to live in their cedar log homes.

All Cedar is Not Equal

For Mr. and Mrs. Anybody out there, the difference in cedar species is probably not one of their more vital concerns, but in talking to literally thousands of callers through the years about log siding, its clear most people think cedar is cedar. To help dispel that notion and clarify what advantages one type of cedar has over another, the following is offered.

All the cedars are classified as softwoods; all are durable and have a pleasant fragrance, but that is where the similarity ends. The wood from the various cedars differ from each other in color, density (insulating value), hardness of the wood, weight, strength, lengths manufactured and grades of lumber available.

Due to cedar's natural resistance to decay and insects, it has long been the wood of choice for outdoor applications. To illustrate a point, totem poles, carved from Western Red Cedar; some standing after a thousand years, would have become part of the forest floor by this time had the Indians used, say, hemlock or pine.

Cedar is graded for appearance rather than strength and is not normally used for rafters, joists, beams or other structural components. Appearance grades range from the clears down through the various knotty classifications. Most cedar is used for siding. Other common uses are porch decking, railings, outdoor furniture, fencing material or anywhere the wood must withstand the ravages of time and the elements.

There are several species of cedar in North America but let's eliminate the cedar shrub varieties and cedar species that don't grow large enough to produce useable lumber. Two species called Eastern Red Cedar and Southern Red Cedar are actually juniper. They are small, "scrubby" trees, the larger of which can be cut into short boards that are used for "cedar" chests, bird houses and closet lining. Another species, Atlantic White Cedar (Chamaecyparis Thyoides), grows in a small area along the eastern seaboard. Although the larger trees might produce lumber, sufficient quantities are not available for commercial distribution.

This leaves five species of cedar with trees large and tall enough to cut into longer, graded lumber: Western Red Cedar, Incense Cedar, Port Orford Cedar and Yellow Cedar; all from the Western states, and Northern White Cedar in the Northeast. We are down to four if we eliminate Yellow Cedar (Chamaecyparis Nootkatensis) sometimes called Alaska Cedar, and is found in Alaska and northern B.C. but not distributed widely in the lower 48.

  • Western Red Cedar (Thuja Plicata) commonly called just Red Cedar provides the vast bulk of cedar sold, and is the standard to which all the others are measured. It is in high demand for its durability, decay resistance and dimensional stability, and due to its porous cell structure, is light in weight and makes the best insulator of all the cedars. Red is somewhat of a misnomer as the wood ranges from a light cream color to warm shades of tan and brown. WRC is the most prolific of all the cedars and grows west of the Cascade Mountains in Northern California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. A variety of WRC, sometimes called Inland Cedar, grows east of the mountains, and due to the drier climate, doesn't reach the size of cedar found in the lush, rain drenched coastal forests. Old growth WRC trees are commonly six feet in diameter at the stump and can be 180 feet tall. In dense stands, the first limb may be a hundred feet off the ground. These giants yield long, clear, blemish free runs of the finest cedar lumber available anywhere, and is shipped world wide. Due to the large volume harvested, it is the species most likely to be found in your local lumber yard. The wide choice of grades, as well as the longer lengths available make WRC the most utilitarian of all the cedars. And let's not forget shakes and shingles which are milled from - you guessed it - Western Red Cedar.