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Types of Cedar Wood & What to Look for When Shopping

What Is Cedar Wood?

Cedar wood is a type of wood that comes from cedar trees that are native to the western Himalayan mountains and the Mediterranean region of Europe. Known for their beauty and versatility, cedar trees are durable lumber options that are commonly used for a variety of different construction products.

Different Types of Cedar Wood

There are many different types of cedar wood and each type comes with unique characteristics. From different strength, grain patterns, and color variations, it is vital to understand the different types of cedar so that you can choose the right cedar for your project. Learn all about these softwoods below.

Western Red Cedar

Western Red Cedar is a red to pinkish brown color, with random streaks of darker red or brown areas commonly found in the wood. It is one of the most versatile pieces of wood that is known for its beautiful appearance, durability, and also as one of the most rot-resistant types of cedar. This makes Western Red Cedar one of the most popular cedar types used for outdoor projects and furniture.

Northern White Cedar

Northern White Cedar is a light reddish brown color with a straight, fine texture. Similar to the Western Red Cedar, the Northern White Cedar is incredibly resistant to rot, termites, and powder post beetles. This makes Northern White Cedar a viable option for outdoor projects as well.

Eastern Red Cedar

Eastern Red Cedar tends to be a reddish or violet-brown colored piece of wood. This wood has a straight grain that is usually present with knots in it. This cedar is commonly used outdoors for DIY projects for homeowners such as fencing, carvings, and small wooden specialty items.

Alaskan Yellow Cedar

Alaskan Yellow Cedar is a light yellow color that tends to darken with age upon exposure with light. The grain on this cedar is usually straight with a medium to fine texture to it. This wood is ideal for heavy-duty projects such as bridge construction, but also popular for home improvements projects. This cedar’s high oil content makes it highly resistant to rot and decay.

Spanish Cedar

Spanish Cedar is a light pinkish to reddish brown color that tends to darken with age. This wood has strong natural oils that give it great weathering characteristics and insect resistance. It is commonly used for projects such as outdoor wood siding, woodworking, and more.

Where Does Cedar Come From?

Cedar trees are originally native to the western Himalayan mountains and the Mediterranean region of Europe, however can now be found growing throughout the entire world. In the US, cedar trees grow on both the East and West coasts, making it easily accessible for those looking for cedar lumber for their next project.

What to Look for When Shopping for Cedar

When shopping for cedar, it is important that you get the correct type of cedar that works best for your project. Whether it is a home renovation, outdoor project, or new furniture, you will want to be sure that you choose the correct type of cedar for your project.

Here is what you need to look for when shopping for cedar:


The first thing to consider when purchasing cedar is the type of climate your cedar will be located in. If you are looking for cedar for an outdoor project, it is important to understand the type of weather that your cedar will be encountering over time. From different temperatures, moisture, wind, and more, it can affect the performance of your cedar over time. Be sure to choose a cedar that best suits your project and can withstand any climate conditions that it will be placed in.


Grain is important when deciding the type of cedar that you want. Each type of cedar can come in different grain types. Whether you want a straight grain, or a mixed grain, it is important to understand what grain type is important for you when purchasing new cedar. Not only that, but knots can be highly desirable to give a more rustic look to your project.


As we now know, cedar comes in many different types. When looking for cedar, it is important to understand the type of cedar you would like to purchase. Each type of cedar has its own characteristics and properties that make them unique and efficient in different ways.


Each piece of cedar wood is graded for 2 different categories. Structural grade and appearance grade. Structural grade is measured in numbers 1-5, with 1 being the highest quality. While appearance grade is rated letters A-D, with A being the highest. When shopping for cedar, it is important to check the grade of each piece of cedar that you purchase for your projects.

Different Uses for Cedar Wood

Cedar wood is a versatile wood that is known to be weatherproof, making it great for both indoor and outdoor projects. Due to cedar's weatherproof and insect proof properties, it is great for outdoor projects and is popularly chosen as a deck lumber. Not only that, but cedar wood is great for indoor furniture such as tables, chairs, chests, and more.

Final Thoughts on Different Types of Cedar Wood

Cedar wood is a great lumber for a variety of different projects. Whether it is an outdoor project or just building furniture, different types of cedar can help with these projects. It is important when it is the time to buy lumber that you make sure to check the different types of cedar, grade of the cedar, the grain of cedar, and the climate and project you will be needing the cedar for.

Contact us at Durham Building to see how we can help you with your purchase of cedar wood today!

Different Types of Cedar Wood FAQs

What is the best type of cedar wood?

Red cedar is considered to be the best type of cedar due to its high resistance to decay, insects, and moisture. Because of this, it is a popular lumber for construction products. However the best type of cedar wood all depends on the type of project you are working on and what the cedar wood is needed for.

Which cedar is the most rot resistant?

Western Red Cedar is known to be the most decay-resistant cedar out there. Because of this, Western Red Cedar is a popular construction material used for outdoor projects due to the weather-resistance and high resistance to rot.

What is the strongest cedar?

Alaskan Yellow Cedar is considered the hardest cedar wood in the world. Not only is it dense and lightweight, but it has a high strength-to-weight ratio and is stronger than all other cedar types.

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