Cedar Siding (aka: Shakes or Shingles)
Has the Look but Requires Some Labor
Typically, when a homeowner
opts for cedar over other types of exterior materials; it is due to cedar's
natural beauty and style rather than cost or maintenance. Cedar is certainly
durable and rich, but it does require regular maintenance, including regular
re-staining or painting. In fact, you will need to do this almost every
year in order to maintain its aesthetic appeal. Still, some prefer to
leave cedar to age naturally, and you can do so without worry of rotting,
cracking or warping. If you prefer the unfinished cedar look, you do not
need to chemically treat this wood and will enjoy its natural antibacterial
and anti-fungal properties.
Now that you know why people choose cedar, we'll guide you through the basics:
Cedar is a renewable resource, which means that cedar trees are planted in forests primarily for harvesting and are replanted every year. Cedar, along with other types of wood, is biodegradable. When it is no longer usable, it can be reabsorbed into the Earth without harm. Wood fibers actually enrich the soils making for great compost.
There are many types of cedar grown across the U.S., but they all belong to the pine family. Northern White Cedar has been considered one of the finer grades of wood, typically available in smaller diameters. It has a very pleasant odor and has a natural blonde color. Much of the country's Northern White Cedar comes from areas of northern Michigan. Yellow cedar is a very strong and durable type of wood that lasts longer in the ground, holds nails better and is more bug resistant than red cedar. Red cedar is much more porous and therefore accepts stains more easily. Red cedar also has a tendency to warp less and cost less than yellow cedar.
Care and maintenance of cedar must be routine and annual. While it is durable, it shows weathering quicker than other types of materials. Whether they are used as siding or roofing, cedar shakes (shingles) should be pressure washed (on a low setting) every year to remove dirt, bugs, and mildew. Also, to keep cedar looking new, homeowners should re-stain or paint cedar planks every one or two years.
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