When it comes to understanding the world of cedar, there are few people we trust more than “Mr. Cedar” himself, Paul Mackie. He’s been with the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association—known as the “voice of the cedar industry”—for more than two decades, working to represent quality cedar producers and educate others on all things cedar. 

In this series, Paul will share everything cedar-related, from what exactly western red cedar is to the difference between kiln- and air-dried lumber to installation best practice. Today’s video tackles the question: What are benefits of using western red cedar for trim or siding?

Here are some key takeaways:

Benefits of using cedar for trim and fascia

Western red cedar is an incredibly durable wood species that has a much longer service life than other materials. For example, many people after Thanksgiving will hang holiday lights from their home’s fascia and trim; if they have a nondurable wood species that’s primed—such as primed spruce (SPF), for instance—they’re poking holes in it with nails, which compromises the primer and topcoat and shortens the overall service life of that product. The advantage western red cedar has is that it’s naturally durable throughout its heartwood, so you don’t have to concern yourself with what the results might be of hanging lights attached to a piece of fascia or trim from a nondurable wood species.

How does cedar compare to alternate materials?

Western red cedar’s environmental footprint is also significantly softer and smaller than all of the substitute products such as plastic composite decking, virgin vinyl decking, brick, PVC, and fiber cement. Western red cedar is renewable, whereas all of those other products are composed of nonrenewable resources.

There are other products out there that can be used as an alternative to western red cedar for fascia or trim. Some of them are composites, some of them are pure PVC. When it comes to trim boards, one material that’s gained quite a bit of market share over the last 10 years or so is primed spruce (or SPF). Many of these alternatives are more affordable than western red cedar—so in terms of price, western red cedar is at a disadvantage.

Watch additional installments in our series with Paul here, and stay tuned for more from Paul as we continue to learn from him on Dunn Solutions over the next few months.

What Are the Benefits of Using Western Red Cedar for Trim or Siding?