Why Cedar Fencing Is Still the Northwest Favorite
In addition to the typical concerns for would-be fence builders, home owners in the Pacific Northwest must consider the region’s wet climate. The area’s lush flora is supported by rains that can fall for more than half the year. Ideally, then, a fence would be attractive, low-maintenance, and durable enough to stand up to the Northwest’s mixture of rain, sleet, hail, and hot summer sun (sometimes, all in one day!).
Despite the fact that low-maintenance vinyl fencing is available in many styles, most Northwesterners continue to choose cedar for their fence materials. Here are some of the benefits that make cedar the #1 choice for fencing material in the Pacific Northwest.
By purchasing cedar fence material, Northwesterners are choosing to support local value and efficiency. Buying local cedar also benefits the environment: Because cedar is a native tree species, transportation and energy costs are much lower compared to many other fence materials.
Many desire a look and feel for their home that fits in with the local history. This is why Northwesterners often choose to build with cedar. Indigenous tribes in the Pacific Northwest highly valued cedar; one native name for the species translates to “Tree of Life”. It was used in nearly everything from clothing to construction to cooking. Homeowners that choose to build a cedar fence are honoring the area’s history with this material.
Considering that Pacific Northwest cedar is considered some of the finest in the world, it’s easy to understand why Northwest homeowners prefer to use it when building their fences. Four major species of cedar thrive in the Pacific Northwest: Alaskan Cedar, Port Orford Cedar, Incense Cedar, and the Western Red Cedar. As far as durability and affordability are concerned, many consider Western Red the best choice for cedar fence material. Pacific Northwest homes most often use Western Red for their cedar fences.
Resistance to Damp Weather
The Northwest’s propensity for wetness requires pickiness when it comes to choosing a cedar fence material. For this reason, cedar is a good choice for its unique weather resistance, especially its ability to withstand heavy rains.
Cedar fence materials are hygroscopic, meaning they take in or release moisture along with the surrounding atmosphere. This ability to “breathe” in moisture means cedar is less likely to warp in wet climates. Cedar also contains a natural insect repellant, and is therefore naturally protected against native insect infestations and fungal rot as well.
Although it’s 80% as strong as oak, cedar is considered a soft wood. That softness, combined with cedar’s uniform fine, straight grain makes it easier to work with. Cedar is also easy to stain and seal because it has very little pitch or resin; this creates a perfect surface for bonding with stains and sealants.
While there are many great low-maintenance fencing materials on the market, such as chain-link fencing and vinyl fencing, none can beat the popularity of cedar fence material. Cedar fences are durable, gorgeous, and a natural choice for the Northwest, with its lush native cedar trees.
Cedar has a rich, natural color that compliments the natural scenery. For this reason, it looks at home with many different landscaping schemes and home designs. Cedar also exudes a fresh, natural scent that many associate with the Northwest’s pristine wilderness.