Updated: Jun 23
Western red cedar lumber is universally renowned for its durability and adaptability to various construction use cases. With such a strong reputation, how long does a cedar fence last? Western red cedar lumber can easily last for decades, whether used for outdoor decks, building siding, or fencing.
There is little surprise that western red cedar lumber is considered the best type of fence for sound barrier fencing, picket fencing, and even privacy fencing. While a strong foundation of high-quality lumber will get you most of the way to decades of consistent durability, there are a few tips and tricks to maximize the lifespan of cedar fencing.
Below, we'll start by discussing the factors affecting how long a cedar fence will last.
G&B Quality Cedar 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.
How Long Will a Cedar Fence Last? Key Factors Affecting Lifespan
So how long will a cedar fence last when you first build it? Many factors will affect the lifespan. Western red cedar lumber stands out among many other species.
Cedar fences will also last longer when they are well-protected from harsh elements and chemicals, adequately maintained by the owners, and installed correctly. It is important to note that even different species of cedar can produce drastically different outcomes on the lifespan of your fence. When comparing white cedar vs red cedar, for example, red cedar fencing will often outlast white cedar by several years.
Homeowners and construction companies focus on long-lasting quality, leading them to wonder often - how long does a cedar fence last?
Western red cedar is the premier lumber for most projects, and fencing is no different. Western red cedar is extremely durable, thanks to natural oils and resins providing superior resistance from harsh elements.
The high quality inherent to western red cedar lumber can help a fence last up to 30 years with proper maintenance. While western red cedar lumber costs higher than other species of wood during an initial purchase, cedar fences quickly outpace inferior types of wood, allowing savings in the long run.
Climate & Weather
The climate where a cedar fence is built will significantly impact its long-term durability. Extreme moisture levels, over-exposure to direct sunlight, and the presence of insects can detract from the lifespan of cedar fencing.
Lesser types of lumber often need to be equipped to manage harsh environments, quickly decaying at the first sign of extreme temperatures or high levels of water. Only types of lumber with natural resistances, like western red cedar, can withstand the chaos of intense climates.
Cedar fences are a long-term investment; proper maintenance is vital to extending their lifespans. The upkeep required will depend on the type of lumber used and the surrounding ecosystem’s effects on the fencing.
Cleaning your fencing with the help of a hose or pressure washer periodically can help prevent the build-up of grime and dirt. Homeowners and property managers often ask, can cedar fencing be painted? While sealants and paint are not required when working with top-quality lumber like western red cedar, a routine of sealants or re-painting can help extend the lifespan of a fence as part of a long-term maintenance strategy.
Possessing advanced knowledge of how to install fencing is critical to guaranteeing long-lasting durability. Whether you need to learn how to build a sound barrier fence to block out noise on your property, or a picket fence to maximize the aesthetic appeal of your home, proper installation can make or break your long-term results.
Be sure to install fencing in a stable bed of soil that prevents the shifting of fence posts. Cedar fencing can have a higher risk of decay and rot if not installed on a solid foundation.
Soil composition can have a significant impact on the lifespan of a fence. Soils with a high amount of moisture can speed up the rotting of fence posts, greatly diminishing the lifespan of fences. The PH levels of soil can also harshly affect fencing, as high-alkaline soils can dry out wood while high-acid soils speed up decay.
Soil is an essential foundational layer for your fencing, so possessing a good understanding of what your soil composition is like will make or break the lifespan of your fence. Healthy soil that drains quickly and provides a solid base for your posts can help ward off decay.
Exposure to Chemicals
Many people considering fencing wonder - does cedar fencing need to be treated? When comparing cedar fences vs pressure treated fences, cedar fences often require less maintenance and treatment in the long term. Pressure-treated lumber is subjected to harsh chemicals in an attempt to match the natural durability and resistances of cedar.
Harsh chemicals common to treated lumber can cause warping and splitting in fencing over time, so it is best to consider fencing that can maintain durability without factoring in dangerous chemicals.
Additionally, many homeowners wonder; is cedar fencing sustainable? Western red cedar is significantly more ecosystem-friendly than pressure-treated lumber due to a lack of dangerous chemicals.
So, How Long Does a Cedar Fence Last on Average?
With so many factors at play, how long does a cedar fence last? Overall, cedar fencing built on healthy soil with high-quality lumber, like western red cedar lumber, that is properly maintained can last upwards of 30 years. It is critical to consider the environmental factors on your property, as harsh climates, poor soil, and dangerous chemicals can quickly chip away at the life expectancy of your fence.
Tips for Making Your Cedar Fence Last Longer
The thought of purchasing a new cedar fence once every 30 years seems fantastic, but you will benefit from a few tips and tricks to help it live up to its billing.
Cedar fencing starts with a strong foundation of high-quality lumber, with western red cedar lumber being the clear winner for its durability and resistance to harsh elements. Treating your cedar fencing like a precious part of your property will be critical. Maintenance through sealants, vegetation control, and regular cleaning helps preserve your cedar fence.
Shop Smart When Sourcing Your Lumber
Not all cuts of lumber are made equal, and the same is valid for lumber suppliers. Western red cedar lumber is the golden goose of lumber, and some lumber suppliers will attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of uninformed shoppers.
Be sure to choose a lumber supplier with a focus on quality. High grades of lumber will possess more natural resistance to decay, insects, and climate-based damage.
Apply Preservatives, Stains, or Sealants at Your Discretion
One of the most common questions around cedar fencing is - does cedar need to be treated?
Top grades of western red cedar lumber can go long periods without treatment, thanks to their natural oils and resins. Still, stains and sealants often provide an aesthetic appeal that many property owners appreciate.
Consider if you wish to incorporate stains and sealants into your maintenance routine or if you prefer to let your cedar lumber fight off decay naturally.
Prioritize Proper Installation (and Consider Post Caps)
You wouldn’t build a house on a poor foundation or without proper instructions; the same applies to cedar fencing. Cedar fences must be properly installed with a strong foundation for fence posts that won’t leave them immediately susceptible to decay.
Additionally, post caps are a great way to strengthen the durability of your cedar fence. They are covers placed on top of fence posts, which help protect posts from moisture and decay. They simultaneously provide a nice aesthetic look that can easily match the overall appearance of your fence.
Maintain Good Drainage Around the Fence
Excess moisture is an enemy of cedar fencing and firm soil, causing rot and decay over long periods. Even western red cedar lumber’s natural resistances can eventually succumb to repeated water damage. Good drainage for your fence allows your soil to fight off erosion, maintaining a solid foundation.
Excess moisture can also cause the growth of mold and mildew, which can damage a wood’s integrity while significantly detracting from its appearance through discoloration. Preventing water damage and soil erosion can add years to the lifespan of your cedar fence.
Control Vegetation Near the Fence
Overhanging branches or vines can cause damage to cedar fences over time. Trim back any vegetation in contact with the fence to help prevent damage and promote proper air circulation around the wood. The soil around your fence can also be harshly affected by overgrown roots and weeds, detracting from the strong foundation of your fence posts.
Regular Cleaning and Maintenance Goes a Long Way
Cleaning your fence regularly can prevent dirt, grime, and mildew buildup. Several options are available, from a simple garden hose to solutions that help preserve the life of your fence.
You should also periodically check for signs of wear and tear, like cracks or rots in your fence posts. Replacing damaged posts can help preserve the life of your cedar fence, as small amounts of rot can quickly spread and hamper the stability of your fence.
Get the Longest Lasting Cedar Fencing in Canada at G&B Quality Cedar Products!
The lifespan of your cedar fence starts with a strong base of high-quality lumber. Whether you are on the hunt for wholesale lumber for a series of construction projects or you are a homeowner searching for cedar fence boards to repair your existing fence, we here at G&B Quality Cedar Products have you covered!
We have decades of experience in the lumber industry, giving us a unique perspective that allows us to guarantee top-quality lumber. We personally hand-inspect every board to enter our factory, sending low-quality wood back to auction.
From sound barrier fencing of top quality that will block out noise for a commercial project to cedar decking and cedar exterior siding perfect for property remodeling, our vast inventory is fit for any task. Our customer service team lives to help clients source the ideal lumber for their projects. One of our favorite pastimes is keeping in touch with our clients and seeing the end results of their projects, knowing our lumber helped make their dreams a reality.
Wrapping Up Our Conversation on How Long a Cedar Fence Will Last
Cedar fences are built to last, but the type of lumber used will significantly affect your final results. Western red cedar lumber is the most robust option, surpassing lesser types of wood thanks to its natural durability and resins. Western red cedar fences can last up to 30 years, but only with a robust soil foundation and regular maintenance.
On the hunt for a western red cedar lumber supplier that will provide top-quality lumber for your upcoming cedar fence project? We here at G&B Quality Cedar Products have you covered. With our experience in the lumber industry and our top-notch inspection process backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee, you can rest assured your project will be sourced with the perfect western red cedar you need.
Contact us today to determine the right western red cedar boards for your next project!
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