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White Cedar vs Red Cedar Decking: What’s the Difference & Which is Better?

Updated: Mar 26

white cedar vs red cedar decking

White and red cedar have a number of similarities, but there are also some key differences between these two types of wood that are important to consider when making your choice for decking. Red and white cedar both have that distinctive cedar smell, a similar grain, and are highly durable woods suitable for outdoor construction.

So, what are the differences between white cedar vs red cedar decking? In this article, we will discuss the traits of red cedar vs white cedar decking, the pros and cons of each, and help you come to a decision about which is best for your deck.

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.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Type of Cedar Decking

Given how long cedar decking lasts, your deck will be around for a long time. Therefore, it’s essential to choose the right type of cedar wood from the start. Doing your research to learn about red cedar vs white cedar decking ensures you end up with a deck that suits your style, budget, and location.

White Cedar vs Red Cedar Decking: What’s the Difference?

So, what are the differences between white cedar vs red cedar decking? One of the biggest differences is that each of these trees grows in very different regions. Western red cedar mostly grows in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest of the US. Eastern (or northern) white cedar, on the other hand, grows throughout eastern Canada and the US.

Red Cedar Decking

Western red cedar trees can grow to heights of up to 200 feet and are known for the beautiful reddish appearance of the wood. Red cedar decking is very popular for people looking for that classic cedar look, where the redness of the wood really shines through.

White Cedar Decking

On the other hand, eastern white cedar trees are typically much smaller, growing to around 50 feet. The wood itself is a vastly different color. The outer wood of the white cedar tree is mostly white with a tinge of yellow. The inner wood has some red and brown tones, but it’s not nearly as pronounced as in red cedar.

White Cedar vs Red Cedar Deck Boards: Which is Better?

When it comes to white cedar vs red cedar decking, which should you choose? Let’s take a closer look at the properties of each of these woods to determine which is best for your deck.

Color & Aesthetics

As mentioned, the red cedar has a much more classic red color, whereas the white cedar tends to be a light yellow or white color, with some red and brown wood found in the middle of the tree. If the redness of the cedar is what appeals to you, red cedar is for you.

The grain of each of the two woods is also similar. Both have a straight grain, with relatively few knots. Typically, white cedar might have a few more knots than red cedar, which means that red cedar is slightly stronger than its white counterpart.

Durability & Softness

Cedar overall is known for its durability. A cedar deck can last for up to 30-40 years with minimal cedar decking maintenance. Both red and white cedar are durable, but red cedar is slightly denser and stronger. Although both are softwoods, both are strong enough for outdoor construction projects like decking and fencing.

Does cedar need to be treated? Both white and red cedar are highly durable, but sealing and staining every three years or so can help extend the lifespan of your deck. Can cedar be painted? Yes - both red and white cedar can be painted using acrylic-latex paint, to give your deck a new look or to restore cedar decking.


While red cedar tends to be slightly cheaper overall than white cedar, your cedar decking cost usually depends on your location. For example, western red cedar is easier to source on the west coast, so cheaper in that area. If it has to be transported, the cost will increase, and vice versa for purchasing eastern white cedar if you’re on the west coast.


Both red and white cedar are harvested sustainably from dedicated plantation forests. If you want to choose the most environmentally-friendly option, go with the cedar which is naturally more prevalent in your area. Much of the environmental cost associated with cedar decking is the transportation process, so you can reduce this by purchasing local cedar wood.

Because cedar isn’t pressure treated, a cedar deck vs pressure treated wood is more environmentally friendly, as pressure treated wood cannot be burned, may contain harmful chemicals, and is difficult to dispose of.

Aromatic Properties

Both white and red cedar has the beautiful aroma that cedar is so beloved for. There’s little difference in the distinctive scents between white cedar vs red cedar decking, but when it comes to composite vs cedar decking, cedar wood provides a far more pleasant, woody aroma.


Because it is slightly stronger and tends to contain fewer knots, red cedar boards are generally considered to be stronger than white ones, as knots can affect the overall strength of the decking boards. However, eastern white cedar is still plenty strong enough for decking.


As mentioned, western red cedar is more commonly available on the west coast, where it grows abundantly. Eastern white cedar grows throughout eastern Canada and is more available here. While it’s easier to get western red cedar on the west coast, it’s still available elsewhere, it may just be more challenging to source.

For the Top Quality Red Cedar Decking You Need, You Can Trust Quality Cedar Products!

If you’re looking for top-quality western red cedar deck boards, you can’t go past Quality Cedar Products. Locally owned and operated, our small, quality-focused team offers delivery to residents across Ontario, and wholesale purchases right across Canada and the US.

Why We Only Deal in Western Red Cedar Lumber

Western red cedar is favored by builders across North America due to its durability, resistance to rot, and natural insect-repelling properties. It’s beloved by homeowners due to its beautiful, distinctive reddish hues and natural aromas, as well as its low-maintenance nature.

Why Our Customers Trust Us For Their Western Red Cedar Decking Needs

Our team lives and breathes western red cedar. We know how to install cedar decking, how to protect a cedar deck, and understand that every individual red cedar board used in your deck needs to be of the highest standard.

That’s why we offer a first-rate quality control process. We manually sort truckloads of western red cedar and filter out any lower-grade pieces. Our customers receive nothing but the best quality western red cedar for an unbeatable price.

We’re absolutely certain that the quality of our western red cedar won’t let you down. That’s why we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with the quality of your delivery you can send it straight back with no questions asked.

For bulk purchases, we offer unbeatable rates on wholesale lumber through our wholesale program - check it out to ensure you’re supplying nothing but the best quality western red cedar lumber to your customers and clients.

We Have More Than Decking, Too!

Western red cedar can be used for a whole lot more than building a beautiful deck. We supply sauna cedar, cedar fencing, sound barrier fencing, and cedar exterior siding. Regardless of the project, we guarantee top-quality western red cedar that will look incredible for many years to come.

Final Thoughts on White Cedar vs Red Cedar Decking

When it comes to white cedar vs red cedar decking, it’s hard to go past the durability, price, and beautiful color of western red cedar. If you’re looking for the best western red cedar lumber suppliers, look no further than Quality Cedar Products. With unmatched prices and an intense quality control process, the beautiful cedar at Quality Cedar Products can’t be beaten.

Contact Quality Cedar Products today to discuss your next project!

G&B Wholesale Lumber Incorporated 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. G&B Wholesale Lumber Incorporated 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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