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Douglas Fir vs Cedar Deck: Which Decking Material is Right For You?

douglas fir vs cedar deck

Your deck is a place to relax and unwind after a long day or make memories with loved ones on the weekends. It directly contributes to the aesthetic of your property, too.  

This is why selecting the right decking material can’t be taken lightly. 

Two of the most common choices are Douglas fir vs cedar deck boards. Each has distinct qualities and benefits, and your personal preferences will largely influence which you choose. 

We’ll help you feel confident in making a decision one way or the other by comparing cost, availability, aesthetics, ease of installation, longevity, and maintenance. 

However, if you just want a quick recommendation, you can’t go wrong with cedar deck boards. This material offers superior resistance to weather and decay, far outlasting its Douglas fir counterpart. Plus, the beautiful, rustic nature of cedar can elevate any yard.

So after you read through this comparison and discover why cedar is superior, head over to  Quality Cedar Products for top-notch cedar that will stand the test of time. We’re the premier western red cedar supplier across North America!

Quality Cedar Products can meet all your cedar board needs. This blog is informational only and not a replacement for expert advice. Please consult a professional before starting any building project as your needs and specifications may vary and it may not reflect the most current building codes, regulations, or industry standards.

Overview of Douglas Fir Deck Boards

Before we compare and contrast Douglas fir vs cedar deck boards, we want to offer a bit of background information on each material. 

Douglas fir is known for its strength and structural integrity, making it a reliable choice for decking. This Pacific Northwest softwood is commonly used in building and construction projects. Its popularity stems from its tight grain patterns and the ability to hold a finish, which can enhance the wood's natural hues. 

Douglas fir becomes more resistant to decay and insects when treated, making it suitable for outdoor use. However, it's worth noting that even with treatment, it may not be as resistant to the elements as other decking materials.

Douglas fir has a beautiful rustic appearance. And, it’s typically more affordable than other types of wood, making it an attractive option for those on a budget. But what about cedar? Let’s look at the other side of this conversation…

Overview of Cedar Deck Boards

Cedar deck boards are prized for their natural beauty and resistance to moisture, decay, and insect infestation. This wood exudes a warm, rich color along with a distinctive scent that adds to the appeal. 

Cedar's lightweight nature makes it easy to work with, and its soft texture allows for a smooth finish after cutting and sanding. 

Most importantly, though, cedar contains natural oils that help it withstand the elements without the need for chemical treatments - unlike Douglas fir. This makes it an environmentally friendly option. 

There is also much less cedar deck maintenance over time compared to some other wood types, although regular cleaning and occasional sealing are recommended to preserve its condition. 

With its combination of aesthetic charm and durability, cedar provides a long-lasting decking solution that can elevate the look and feel of any outdoor space. 

But is it the right choice for you, or should you opt for Douglas fir? It’s time we put these two choices side by side to determine which is right for you.

Douglas Fir vs Cedar Deck: Key Differences in Cost, Aesthetics, Longevity, and More

We want to preface this by saying that both cedar and Douglas fir decking have their place. It just becomes a matter of considering what matters most to you when building a deck.

Is it affordability, or are you willing to pay more for a longer-lasting option? 

What type of look are you going for with your deck?

How much maintenance are you willing to put into your deck?

We’ll talk about all this and more below, leaving you with a clear understanding of which you should choose between Douglas fir vs cedar deck boards.

Cost and Availability

Budget is often a primary concern when it comes to decking, making cost and availability key factors in the decision-making process. But, we have to warn you - you shouldn’t shop based on price alone. Ultimately, you get what you pay for.

Douglas fir is widely available and generally more cost-effective than cedar, particularly in areas closer to its native regions in the Pacific Northwest. This affordability makes it an attractive choice for larger projects or tighter budgets. 

Cedar, on the other hand, may come with a higher price tag due to its natural resistance features and aesthetic qualities. However, its longevity can offset the initial investment over time.

How much does cedar decking cost, though? You have to factor in the specific western red cedar grading, of course. It also depends on where you’re at and delivery costs. 

Don’t worry. We’ll show you where to buy western red cedar lumber that offers the best of both worlds - quality and affordability. For now though, let’s keep going down our list of considerations, looking at which deck will align with your aesthetic preferences.


The visual impact of your deck is obviously important, influencing both your home's curb appeal and the ambiance of your outdoor living space. You want to build a deck you’re proud to show off and share with friends and family. 

Be clear - you can’t go wrong with either of these beautiful natural decking materials from an aesthetic point of view. Cedar boasts a sought-after rich, warm tone with a fine, straight grain that can elevate the aesthetics of any deck design. It also ages gracefully, developing a silvery patina that many find appealing. 

Douglas fir has a more uniform appearance and takes stains and finishes well, allowing for a customizable look to match your home's style. However, it lacks the natural color variation and texture that cedar offers.

While you technically don’t have to - most people prefer the natural, raw, and rugged look of cedar - you can also consider painting a cedar deck or staining a cedar deck. We have tips on how to do so in our blog, and you can also get inspiration from our cedar deck railing ideas to design a stunning, practical deck.

Ease of Installation

The truth is, figuring out how to install cedar deck boards or Douglas fir deck boards can be quite the project for those who are not seasoned carpenters. It’s something we typically recommend you outsource to an expert. 

That being said, which is easier to install between Douglas fir vs cedar deck boards? After all, this can influence the overall timeline and labor costs of your project even if you aren’t the one installing it.

Cedar's lightweight nature makes it a favorite among builders for its ease of cutting and handling, reducing the time and effort needed for installation. It's also less prone to cracking and splitting, which can be a concern with harder woods. 

Douglas fir, while also relatively easy to work with, is a much denser wood. This means it might require more effort to cut and secure. However, its rigidity can be advantageous in creating a stable, secure deck structure.


A deck is a long-term investment, and its lifespan is contingent on the material chosen and the level of care you provide it. 

So, how long does cedar decking last? Because of its durability and resistance to rot, decay, and insect damage, it can far outlast its Douglas fir counterpart. We’ve seen cedar decks last as long as 30 years or more with proper care (which we’ll talk about in just a moment).

Douglas fir, while strong and sturdy, doesn't naturally possess the same level of resistance to the elements. It requires regular treatment to fend off moisture and pests, which can shorten its lifespan if not diligently maintained.

Speaking of maintenance, you’ll find that this is where the most obvious differences between the two lumber materials exist… 


The degree of maintenance a decking material needs affects both your time and your wallet. While no deck is 100% maintenance-free over the course of its life, cedar requires far less work than Douglas fir.

Again, this is all thanks to its natural resistance. A simple cedar deck cleaning and occasional cedar deck sealing are all you need to keep the lumber looking good and performing well for the long haul. 

Does cedar decking need to be treated, though? Technically, no, but some owners choose to do so anyway. You can learn more about how to protect a cedar deck, how to refinish a cedar deck, how to restore a cedar deck, and even power washing a cedar deck in our blog.

NOW - let’s look at the other half of this debate, Douglas fir. These decks demand much more attention. They need to be treated every few years to ensure longevity, which includes cleaning, staining, and sealing to protect against moisture and decay.

Even still, the typical Douglas fir deck will need to be replaced before its cedar deck counterpart, all else equal. This goes back to why we say the cost of cedar decking is a no-brainer investment!

Which is Right For You?

In comparing Douglas fir and cedar, each material has its own set of strengths. But which is right for you?

Douglas fir is more cost-effective and readily available, making it a practical choice for those on a budget or in need of a quick solution. 

Cedar, with its superior aesthetic appeal, ease of installation, longevity, and low maintenance requirements, offers a compelling case for those looking for a balance between beauty and durability.

The clear takeaway is that cedar’s natural durability, low-maintenance profile, and stunning natural aesthetic make it a standout choice for a long-lasting, beautiful deck. If you're seeking a material that will endure through the years and continue to enhance the beauty of your home with minimal upkeep, cedar is an excellent choice.

You can compare it to other materials in our blog, as we’ve created similar resources to help you choose the right decking material with confidence: 

But at this point, it’s time you found out firsthand what makes cedar the premier decking material across North America, right here at Quality Cedar Products!

Harness the Natural Beauty and Longevity of Cedar Decking at Quality Cedar Products

Our company serves Canada and the US with the highest-quality western red cedar lumber at competitive prices, offering the best of both worlds. This, coupled with our world-class support every step of the way, is what keeps our customers coming back project after project!

You can trust that you’re getting the best lumber for your project as we still grade and sort our lumber by hand ourselves, selling only the best boards and auctioning off the rest. 

We’re so confident in our quality that we offer a satisfaction guarantee. If our delivery truck pulls up and you’re underwhelmed, just let us know - we’ll turn around and you won’t pay!

You can count on us for all your cedar lumber needs, too - from cedar posts for sale to sound barrier fencing and everything in between. So, reach out today for a quote and let’s bring your beautiful cedar deck to life!

Wrapping Up Our Comparison of Douglas Fir vs Cedar Deck Boards

That concludes our guide to Douglas fir decking vs cedar decking. We hope you feel clear as to which is right for you - and why it’s cedar!

It’s true that Douglas fir offers an economical and sturdy option for decking, with a classic appearance that can be customized through staining. 

But, cedar is unrivaled in its longevity, low maintenance, and beautiful aesthetic. It’s an excellent long-term investment for your outdoor space.

So, if you’re ready to create your dream deck, request a quote on our top-quality cedar lumber today. Take the first step towards building the perfect outdoor retreat!

Quality Cedar Products does not assume any liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information provided in this blog post. The reader is solely responsible for any actions taken based on the information presented. Any reliance on the information is at the reader's own risk.

Quality Cedar Products is not responsible for any loss, injury, or damage that may occur as a result of following the suggestions, tips, or recommendations provided in this blog post. Building projects involve inherent risks, and it is essential to exercise caution, obtain proper permits, and engage qualified professionals to ensure safety and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. The inclusion of external links, references, or recommendations in this blog post does not constitute endorsement or guarantee the quality, reliability, or suitability of the linked sources. The reader should independently verify the information and assess its relevance to their specific circumstances. The author reserves the right to modify, update, or remove the content of this blog post at any time without prior notice. It is recommended to check for the most recent updates or consult with professionals to ensure the information is current and applicable. By reading this blog post, the reader acknowledges and accepts the above disclaimer and agrees to use the information provided responsibly and at their own discretion.

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