Although wood comes from a natural resource, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all wooden fencing is eco-friendly. While a lot of natural fencing materials are environmentally friendly, we still should take care to ensure the wood we are using for our fences is not causing harm to our environment.
With that being said, let’s talk about one of the most common types of wood used for fencing: cedar.
Cedar is an abundant softwood that is used for all sorts of things, such as siding, fencing, decking, and more. Because of its natural resistance to rot, pests, and warping, cedar is considered one of the most durable materials for outdoor construction. But the question is: is cedar fencing sustainable?
Let’s find out.
What Does “Sustainable” Mean, and Why Does It Matter?
For something to be sustainable, its extraction or use should not be harmful to the environment nor deplete natural resources. That said, “sustainable” materials are those that do not degrade the environment or the long-term ecological balance of nature.
Sustainability is imperative to the survival of both human and animal species. In our world today, nature cannot keep up with the increasingly growing demand for resources. With over 7 billion people in the world and the rate at which we consume natural resources, it won’t be long until we experience worldwide scarcity.
Hence, it is extremely important for us humans to always choose the more sustainable option in everything we do, especially when it comes to something like building a house. A simple fence may not seem like it would have much impact on the environment, but opting for a sustainable material is a significant step towards achieving environmental sustainability.
Is Cedar Fencing Sustainable?
Yes, cedar fencing is, in fact, one of the most sustainable materials you can use. It is a low-energy, low-emission wood that has a wide variety of uses, meaning you can turn every piece of wood into something useful!
Apart from that, let’s talk about the other reasons why cedar is a top pick for environmentally conscious people:
What Makes Cedar Fencing Sustainable?
There are plenty of reasons why cedar is one of the most sustainable choices for outdoor construction. Here are some of the most important ones:
Cedar is Renewable
Wood is the only construction material that is renewable; it can be re-planted, re-grown, and re-harvested over and over. However, wood takes decades to mature (cedar, in particular, takes 20 years to grow), which means that humans have to be careful not to take too much.
Although cedar takes a very long time to fully mature, it can grow easily in the wild. More than that, most varieties of cedar can grow to be very large. The western red cedar, in particular, can grow over 200 feet tall with 10-feet-diameter trunks. Just one tree does wonders for supplying a vast amount of lumber.
Cedar is Durable
Any outdoor structure made of cedar can last up to 25 to 30 years with proper maintenance. By the time your cedar fencing needs replacing, a cedar tree will have reached its mature stage (and you only need a small fraction of the tree to build a new fence!). In other words, the superior durability of cedar makes it long-lasting, which minimizes the number of resources that you need in the long run.
Cedar is Biodegradable
All wood is biodegradable, but there are some types of wood that are treated with harmful chemicals, which can make their way into the environment when the wood eventually decays. Cedar is an exception.
Even when cedar remains untreated, its natural resistance to decay, pests, and warping still make it an extremely durable fencing material. No treatment also means that when cedar reaches the end of its lifespan, it won’t introduce harmful chemicals into nature once it breaks down naturally.
Cedar is Easy to Process
During processing, cedar produces fewer emissions than other types of wood. Apart from that, it requires less energy to process and manufacture cedar fencing and other products. This means that compared to other types of timber, cedar does not produce as much pollution or use up as much energy while it is being turned into useful products.
Other Reasons Cedar Fencing Is The Right Choice For You
So, is cedar fencing sustainable? The answer is clearly ‘yes’. But what else makes cedar fencing a great option for you and your family?
Here are other benefits of cedar that you should solidify your choice:
Cedar is Low Maintenance
As we’ve mentioned earlier, cedar does not require any chemical treatments. Because of its natural durability, sealing and staining are optional but are otherwise recommended if you live in an area that is wet or humid. Nevertheless, cedar can last up to 25 to 30 years with regular sweeping and annual deep-cleans. Learn how to clean and care for cedar decking in our blog.
Cedar is Naturally Beautiful
One of the most common reasons why homeowners choose cedar is because of its natural beauty. Cedar looks majestic in any home, offering a rich, vibrant color that won’t fade away in decades to come. That said, you won’t see cedar fencing that has been painted over; instead, most homeowners use a clear coat to enhance the natural color of their cedar fence.
Cedar Repels Insects
The oil in cedarwood repels pests like ants, mosquitoes, cockroaches, and termites. Hence, building a cedar fence around your home is like having a protective barrier against these common household pests.
Is Cedar Fencing Sustainable? Closing Thoughts
As you can see, cedar is superior to other types of timber for more than a few reasons. First and foremost, cedar is extremely durable, making it a great candidate for outdoor structures like fences, decks, and siding. More than that, it is a low-maintenance wood that will last a quarter of a decade even with no special treatments.
But perhaps most importantly, cedar is sustainable and environmentally friendly. So, if you want to build a stunning fence around your home without increasing your carbon footprint, cedar fencing is certainly the best way to go. And if it’s reliable cedar products you’re after, there is no better place to shop than G&B Quality Cedar Products. We take great pride in offering builders, contractors, lumber stores, and homeowners alike the top-grade lumber in all of Ontario. See the difference yourself by reaching out and learning more!