Cedar is an abundant softwood that is naturally long-lasting. It has a superb resistance to rot, pests, and a myriad of other wood issues. As such, it should come as no surprise that cedar is one of the most common types of wood used for decks and other outdoor structures.
With proper maintenance, cedar decking can easily last 25 years–or sometimes even longer. However, does cedar decking need to be treated like other types of wood? And if not, how can you make your cedar deck last as long as possible?
Let’s talk about it.
What Is Cedar Decking?
Cedar is an extremely durable choice of lumber that lasts an average of 25 to 30 years. It possesses a natural resistance to rot and insects - as we just mentioned above. It comes naturally in a soft, beautiful color. One of the reasons it’s the premier choice for so many types of construction is that it is relatively inexpensive due to its wide availability. Moreover, cedar decking is known to be resistant to warping from moisture or extreme temperatures.
Taking all of these advantages into consideration, you can likely see why so many homeowners prefer cedar decking over other lumber options. So, if you want to have a long-lasting, low-maintenance, and naturally beautiful deck, cedar decking is your best bet. But this still begs the question - does cedar decking need to be routinely treated? Or at least treated after installation? Here is what you need to know:
Does Cedar Decking Need To Be Treated?
For most types of wood decking, treatment is necessary to make the wood last longer and look better. For example, many homeowners stain and seal their natural wooden deck for both functional and cosmetic reasons. Otherwise, their deck will start to decay or lose its natural beauty faster.
But do you need to do the same for cedar decking?
No, cedarwood has a natural resistance to rot, insects, warping, and other decking issues. Untreated cedar can last 25 to 30 years without wood infusions or surface treatments, unlike many other types of decking material.
However, this doesn’t mean that a cedar deck requires zero maintenance. While cedar does not warp or twist like other types of wood, it can still become rough and visually appealing if you don’t perform regular maintenance.
This brings us to our next topic:
How Else Can You Care For Your Cedar Deck Besides Treating It?
Does cedar decking need to be treated? Not unless you want to. However, cedar decking still requires proper maintenance like any other type of deck. The good news is that most of the work will just be routine cleaning.
Here are the most important tips on how to care for your cedar deck:
Make it a point to remove loose dirt and debris (especially organic matter) from your cedar deck at least once a week or as needed. This way, the filth will not pile up on your deck and make it look dirty. And at the same time, organic matter will not have the chance to form mold or mildew, which can become a slipping hazard.
Wash Your Deck From Time to Time
Sweeping is not always enough to remove the buildup of dirt and debris from your cedar deck, especially if it is always being used for outdoor activities and gatherings. So, to keep your deck clean from the inside and out, wash it every couple of months with gentle soap and water.
Here’s a helpful guide on how to clean your cedar decking the right way. Take note that using a power washer on softwood like cedar is not recommended; it can damage the surface of your decking and push water deep inside the wood, which can lead to rot.
Help Your Deck Dry Faster
Cedar decking is highly resistant to rot, but this does not mean that it is completely water-insoluble. That said, it is important to help your deck dry faster after it rains in order to prevent it from absorbing too much moisture. You can do this by removing organic debris; removing furniture to allow the surface underneath to dry, and increasing ventilation with a fan.
Seal or Stain When Needed
Sealing or staining a cedar deck is not necessary, but if you don’t have the time to properly ventilate your deck after every rain shower, we recommend sealing it. This is also a good tip if you live in an area that experiences wet and humid weather frequently.
Cedarwood looks absolutely stunning without a stain. However, it will turn gray as it ages, which can be visually displeasing to some people. If you don’t like the color of an aged cedar deck (or simply do not like its natural color from the get-go), you can always stain it in the color you want.
Pro tip: use a penetrating stain to make sure that no film forms on the surface of your deck (which can peel or crack over time).
Perform Visual Inspections Regularly
A cedar deck can become rough as it ages, which can be a splinter hazard for bare feet and pet paws. This is why it’s extremely important to perform a visual inspection on your deck at least once a year.
When you see splinters on a small area of your deck, sand it down with an orbital palm sander. Alternatively, you can use 80-grit sandpaper to get rid of the splinters. If the splinters cover a large area of your deck, use a cup brush; this contains a rotary disc grinder with heavy bristles that can get rid of splinters very easily. Or if this is too tedious, you can also consider renting an orbital floor sander to get the job done in a jiffy.
Pro tip: before sanding down an area, take note of where the nails and screws are and be sure to avoid them. Sanding over nails or screws can scrape off the rust-resistant coating on the metal and make them more susceptible to corrosion.
Does Cedar Decking Need To Be Treated? Wrapping Up
Cedar is naturally durable, beautiful, and resistant to all sorts of issues without the help of treatment. So, if you want to have an inexpensive deck that requires little maintenance but lasts half of a lifetime, get your own cedar deck from the leading cedar supplier in the U.S. today–G&B Quality Cedar Products.
Aside from cedar decks, we also have siding, fencing, and even sauna materials–all durable, high-quality, and naturally stunning cedar products.