This tall cedar likes company. It grows with other species such as spruce and fir in a range from Canada and the northern Rockies to Alaska and the Pacific coast. At heights of almost 200', a single tree can yield an impressive number of board feet. Its heartwood is pink and brown, while the thin layer of sapwood is very light, almost white. After aging outdoors, the heartwood develops a silver- gray color that can be quite attractive in uses such as wall shakes and roof shingles.
Western red cedar is very resistant to decay. The key is found deep in the wood cells, where fungi spores cause decay in other species. This species has unique extractives in its heartwood that are capable of repelling or even killing fungi. Sapwood is generally more prone to decay, even in circumstances less favorable to fungi growth, so the high ratio of heartwood to sapwood in this cedar is an obvious advantage.
Some of the best decay-resistant furniture lumber (teak, mahogany, and even white oak) is somewhat expensive and often difficult to find. While not as structurally solid as these hardwoods, western red cedar can compete favorably with them in outdoor applications. Beyond patio furniture, it is used extensively in fences, siding, exterior trim, and
as sills in frame structures, where wood meets a concrete foundation.
Wood grain images provided by HobbitHouseInc.com