Author Topic: Cedar  (Read 3795 times)

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Offline w802h

  • Posts: 221
« on: April 29, 2014, 07:10 AM »
I'm about to rebuild a deck with a new pergola for vines and seating around the perimeter.  The clients got back to me with STK (knotty) Western Red Cedar as the decking material.  Although not a pitchy wood like pine, are those knots going to be a mess to sit on?  Anyone have any info or experiences with this wood used this way?

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Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 3734
Re: Cedar
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2014, 07:24 AM »
Be very careful about the sawdust.  Cedar has the property of causing contact dermatitis (as in poison ivy) when you get the sawdust on you and in your lungs.  Heartwood is less a problem than wood right under the bark where the allergen is found in the highest concentrations.  If I have to work with cedar, it's time for long sleeves and a respirator, and a long shower when I'm done. 

- Willy -

 "Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up." - Brigham Young

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Cedar
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2014, 07:28 AM »
I admit that I have never had experience using Western Red Cedar for a deck, but have installed more than my share of it as siding.  It does get used regionally often for decking, but because of the relative softness I have never understood why.  I have never found the knot areas to bleed sap and pitch.


Offline w802h

  • Posts: 221
Re: Cedar
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2014, 07:41 AM »
I'm only really concerned about or trying to anticipate potential problems of knots in the seating areas. 

I'm sure cost has something to do with the choice w/tax it's about 1.50 LF for 5/4x6.  That's half the price of Mahogany.  The color is quite different too.  It also has a natural rot resistance.  I agree that it is soft - but they don't have dogs, the kids are grown, etc.

A friend of mine left a nice project because of cedar dust.  No joke. 

Offline leakyroof

  • Posts: 2235
Re: Cedar
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2014, 08:48 AM »
I work a lot with Cedar, it doesn't bother me in the least, so I'm lucky I guess in that respect.  Do heed the warnings about the dust, wear a dust mask and long sleeves don't hurt either.
 No issues with the knots other than a large one could pop out over time. The smaller ones tend to stay put from my experience.
 Splits are another issue however. Also, are they committed to a finishing system yet with the deck? 
 For seating, it should hold up pretty well, as decking material, like Peter noted, it's soft even if you're careful.
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline w802h

  • Posts: 221
Re: Cedar
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2014, 03:45 PM »
The decking is getting a transparent or semi-transparent product.  We have not settled on a look.  I haven't fully discussed whether they want a pigmented product or not or something that allows some weathering.  It will be alkyd-based.  I would welcome suggestions about finishes that have worked well.  Although a film finish may add a layer of hardness on a soft material, on an exterior deck it's bound to fail quickly.  The research I've done shows some of the more popular decking oils still build a bit of a film and may prolong the rosey color, while products like Penofin that don't build a film allow for some weathering.  I'm all ears on the subject. 

Although the grade is STK (Sound, tight knots), it is one of the least expensive non-pressure treated decking woods.  The garden surrounding this structure is on the town tour, so a pressure treated deck would be out of place.  The emphasis is on natural.  You'd be surprised how well their white cedar decking held up to abrasion.  This time they want to go red.

Offline jacko9

  • Posts: 2378
Re: Cedar
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2014, 09:23 PM »
I have Western Red Cedar siding on my house and spa building and used it to trim my house windows.  I also used it as a ceiling in my family room and as T&G siding in my spa building.  Western Red Cedar (even old growth that I used) it is very soft and in my opinion not suitable as decking material.


Offline T. Ernsberger

  • Posts: 868
Re: Cedar
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2014, 07:54 PM »
I agree not suitable for a deck.   Its very soft.  If they insist on cedar.  Look and a Sikkins product that will seal the wood.   They also offer a stain/sealer.   This is a must in my opinion.    A lot of times as cedar ages it becomes very slippery.    I have never had issues with sap, even with open knots.  I have never had any issues from the dust.   I have only ever had issues with ipe.   Ipe is an awesome decking material and if you shop around you can find a good price. I habe work with A LOT of cedar and its a great wood for exterior applications.  I just dont think its a great wood for a deck.   I did a carport ceiling in western red cedar a couple months ago and turn out awesome.   I will add some photos.   When i say carport its a crazy carport.   It cost 160k