Western Red Cedar fence with lattice, Arlington, VA
In this region most wood fences are built using either Pressure Treated Pine or Western Red Cedar.
Pine is used widely in the construction of fences because it is grown abundantly in our area and it is relatively inexpensive. In order to make pine a practical wood for fencing it is chemically treated, otherwise the wood will simply start naturally decaying once it is cut from the ground. Once pine is harvested and milled, it is submerged in Micronized Cooper Azole to make the wood resistant to insect attacks and to delay the rotting process.
Western Red Cedar, on the other hand, is naturally insect and rot resistant and does not require a chemical treatment. Western Red Cedar derives its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties from the natural presence of thujaplicins –a fungicidal, in its composition. Thujic acid, another extract found in Western Red Cedar, makes it resistant to insect attack. Cedar is a great renewable source grown in the western part of the country. It produces long lengths of timber with true, straight grains due to the long time it takes cedar to grow. Western Red Cedar also has a low shrinkage factor making its boards resistant to warping, twisting or checking. In comparison, Pressure Treated Pine boards can twist, warp and check….even in as little as a month after installation!
Western Red Cedar is known for its beautiful color that ranges from reddish hues to light tan and brown boards, making it our choice for all the custom fences we build. Given the investment that goes in to a custom fence, it only makes sense to build it in a material that will last –like Western Red Cedar.
Over time, all wood develops a gray patina. With Western Red Cedar, the advantage is that it can be lightly power-washed to regain its original color. If you attempt to do the same to pine you would have to apply a lot more pressure, which will tear the fibers of the pine. Another advantage is that Western Red Cedar accepts paint/stain/sealers almost immediately. With Pressure Treated Pine, you have to wait until the wood is thoroughly dry, which could take up to 6-12 months after installation.
Many fence builders stay away from recommending Western Red Cedar simply because they don’t stock it…making it a much more expensive option for their customers. At Builders Fence Company, not only do we stock Western Red Cedar, we highly recommend it.
For a straighter and more beautiful wood fence, nothing beats Western Red Cedar…hands down!