When you look at wood fences, you'll find that many of them are made from a type of wood called western red cedar. While this wood has an attractive look, with a reddish tint that fades into a grayish, beachy look over time, its appearance is not the main reason why it's used for fencing. Here's a look at some of the qualities that make western red cedar ideal for fencing.
You may have had an aunt or grandmother who kept her wood sweaters in a cedar chest so they weren't bothered by moths. Cedar is great at repelling insects, thanks to the natural oils it contains. That fresh cedar scent that you may enjoy is very repelling to carpenter ants, wood bees, and other pests that may invade fences made from other woods. Since these insects can burrow down into a wooden fence, weakening its boards, keeping them away is essential. With any other type of wood, you may have to use chemical insecticides to avoid insect damage, but western red cedar takes care of this automatically.
Lack of Water Absorption
Some woods, like pine, tend to take on a lot of water. Not only does this make the wood prone to rot, but it also causes the boards to warp as they absorb water and later release it. Cedar doesn't absorb a lot of water, and it doesn't warp easily. So, your boards will stay straight and true for years, even when you live in a humid environment where other fencing would warp quickly.
Because cedar naturally resists rot, you do not have to regularly seal or paint it. Some homeowners do choose to paint their cedar fencing once it has aged a bit, since they may not like the grayish color it takes on in old age. However, this is purely optional. With most any other type of wood, you'd have to apply a wood sealer every year or two. Even with such little maintenance, cedar fencing lasts longer than other types. You can expect your western red cedar fence to last anywhere from 15 to 30 years, whereas a spruce fence may last 4 to 7 years. Pine typically lasts about 5 to 12 years.
So, if you're looking for a low-maintenance, insect-resistant fence that won't warp and bow, western red cedar really is a great choice. Add yourself to the list of homeowners who are happy with their choice.