The Benefits of Western Red Cedar: Why it’s Worth It 

When it comes to building materials, it can be tempting to opt for the cheapest option available. However, choosing a more expensive material like Western Red Cedar sourced from Canada and the United States can be a wise investment in the long run.

1. Durability

Western Red Cedar is known for its durability and resistance to rot and decay. This means that it will last much longer than cheaper alternatives like White Cedar or Chinese Fir, which may need to be replaced more frequently due to weathering and other forms of damage. Not only will this save you money on replacements, and repairs, but also reduces the environmental impact of constant resource extraction and processing over time.

2. Premium Appearance 

Western Red Cedar has an attractive, natural appearance that adds value and visual appeal to any project. The wood’s distinctive grain and warm color create a timeless aesthetic that cannot be replicated by cheaper alternatives. This makes it a popular choice for outdoor structures like decks, fences, and pergolas, as well as for indoor features like ceilings and accent walls.

3. Sustainability 

Western Red Cedar is a sustainable choice. It is harvested from responsibly managed forests in Canada and the United States, which means that the production process has a lower environmental impact than other materials. This is because the forests are carefully monitored and replanted, ensuring that the ecosystem is protected for future generations.

4. Economic Impact

 Lastly, let’s discuss the economic impact of your purchasing decision.

By choosing this material, you are supporting the local economies of both the United States and Canada, as well as helping to create and sustain good-paying middle-class jobs within the forestry industry.

In Canada, the forestry sector is a major contributor to the country’s economy, accounting for more than 200,000 jobs and generating billions of dollars in economic activity each year. Similarly, in the United States, the forestry industry supports over 2 million jobs and contributes over $300 billion annually to the country’s economy.

By choosing Western Red Cedar sourced from Canada and the United States, you support the livelihoods of those working in the forestry industry, including loggers, sawmill workers, and others involved in the supply chain.

This benefits individuals and their families and helps boost local economies and creates a ripple effect throughout the broader community.


Choosing Western Red Cedar sourced from Canada and the United States is not only a wise investment in terms of durability, aesthetics, and sustainability but also a way to support the economies of both countries and create and sustain jobs within the forestry industry.


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Wooden Shed or Plastic Shed The environment should be respected and many people are trying to save/impact it with small steps that, collectively, could impact the atmosphere in a major way. If you are looking to be more eco-friendly, why not include your garden in your plans? Growing your own fruits and vegetables and using rainwater harvesting systems are just a few of the ways you can become more environmentally-friendly. If you are looking for different methods to reduce your carbon footprint, keep in mind that your garden shed can play a huge role. There are quite a few incredible ways to transform your shed into an eco-friendly zone.

Wooden Shed or Plastic Shed?

Sustainable Structure

If you need to replace your old shed with a new structure, make sure that you choose one which is made out of responsibly-sourced material from an ethical manufacturing company. When trying to decide between a wooden shed or plastic shed, wood is your best choice in our opinion. Wood has a negative carbon footprint and acts as a carbon sink which is excellent. This means as a tree grows, it stores carbon in its fiber. When a tree is harvested and cut down and made into a shed or other building product, the carbon stays in the product and does not get released until the life cycle of the product has ended. In comparison, sheds made from plastic, steel and aluminum use a tremendous amount of CO2 in the production process which is released immediately into the atmosphere. This release of carbon during processing increases the global warming crises we are now in. Garden sheds made with plastic are also more difficult and expensive to recycle and use additional CO2 in the recycle process. By using easier to recycle materials such as wood, you lessen your carbon footprint as well. If a wood shed is well-constructed and prepared properly for the elements it can last for a very long time, particularly if made from western red cedar, which is naturally resistant to decay and rot. Other wood species, such as pine, can be chemically treated to extend its life to replicate cedar wood. If you prefer, you can finish your wood shed yourself with special treatments to make it weather and water proof. These treatments will give your outdoor space the look you desire and make sure that extreme weather conditions do not cause any damage and that it will last for years to come. Meanwhile, remember to check the credentials of the company you are planning to buy from, either wood, plastic or metal, to ensure that they are environmentally-conscious and the materials they use are 100% sourced from certified materials, procedures and standards. If you buy a shed from an overseas manufacturer, consider that country’s environmental practices and the materials they are using. Ethical companies in North America, particularly forest companies, will always go through the effort of achieving certified accreditation from such organizations as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or The Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Both accreditations are confirmed only through independent third party inspections, ensuring the wood they are harvesting comes only from legally and sustainably managed forests.

A Suitable Investment

Like pergolas, gazebos, and other outdoor structures,  a wooden shed or plastic shed is an excellent addition to your property. All structures offer you an outdoor space that you can make good use of and also add value to your property. Western red cedar garden sheds are a fantastic option if you are looking for an outdoor structure made with eco-friendly materials. By choosing a shed made of wood, you are making sure that you reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to making the earth a greener and cleaner place.
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For centuries, red cedar has been a preferred building material. In fact, archeologists in British Columbia have found artifacts that point to the use of red cedar wood in native societies from as far back as 8,000 years ago. Every part of the tree was used including the roots and bark for constructing basic objects such as baskets and ropes to the wood for housing and canoes. Today, red cedar still maintains the reputation as being one of the world’s best building materials. It offers unique natural performance characteristics such as being lightweight, stable, durable and resistant to water and insect damage. Aesthetically, it is naturally stunning with its deep tones and textured wood grains. It is also an environmentally friendly choice with its high thermal coefficient and ability to remove greenhouse gases. Plus, it is renewable, biodegradable and sourced from the most sustainable forests in the world. Cedar is a popular design choice for good reason and at OLT, we love being able to share the advantages of Western Red Cedar with our customers. For a quick overview of the history of cedar in design and building, check out the infographic below. infographic_History-of-Using-Cedar-OLT Embed This Image On Your Site (copy code below):
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How-to-Maintain-a-Deck-or-Pergola A deck or a pergola can add a wonderful rustic charm to any home and enhance the appearance of patios and walkways. But the problem starts when your deck begins to be exposed to the elements. A weathered deck or pergola tends to look faded, the grain appears washed out and the timber starts to look old. Maintaining your cedar deck or pergola will help keep these elemental issues at bay and boost the natural appeal of your garden. Here are some ways you can maintain your deck or pergola:

Cleaning your deck and pergola

If you are planning to restain your deck or pergola or are simply interested in keeping it free from dirt, mildew or grime, it is important that you clean it regularly. To clean your deck, use household substances that contain Napisan. Add 2 cups to half a bucket of hot water to create a super solution to clean your pergola with. Scrub your deck down with a stiff bristled decking brush when you apply the cleaning solution. Leave the solution on for about 15 minutes, add some more, and scrub it well. Then rinse the solution off and allow it to dry. You may need to resort to using a commercial stain stripper if there is buildup of stains on your deck, which will help to get rid of any surface staining. Exert caution while using stain stripper since it is caustic and may harm pets or plants. For a cedar pergola, try to avoid harsh abrasives and cleaning detergents, which may end up damaging and discoloring it and weakening the composition of the wood. Instead, use water, a mild detergent and a soft bristle brush to clean it well. If you don’t have time, you could even get away with hosing your pergola down once every 2 to 3 weeks. Remember to use a medium pressure setting on your garden hose since high pressures may damage the surface.

Getting rid of stains and mildew

Mildew can ruin a pergola or deck quite fast. As soon as you spot mildew building up on your outdoor surface, you must work fast to get rid of it quickly. Sometimes, the corrosive fasteners used on your deck may cause brown or black stains over time on the wood. After you have washed your pergola or deck, mix a cup of oxygen bleach with a gallon of water in a spray bottle and spray the solution onto your deck after you have thoroughly washed it. Once you see the mildew and stain start to fade, use soapy water to wash the solution off and rinse it well.

Staining your deck or pergola

Sometimes, the color of your pergola or deck may fade over time. If you look at a cedar pergola for example, it may turn silvery-gray from its light reddish color. This is mainly due to the natural weathering process of the wood. You could consider applying a stain and sealant to preserve the original color. Before you apply the stain to your deck or pergola, spray some wood brightener on it to make the wood more receptive to the next coating of stain and to neutralize any residual stain stripper. Spray this on, allow it to rest for a few minutes and then rinse it off. To stain your deck or pergola, you can use a paintbrush, the bristles of which are useful in opening the pores of the timber, allowing it to absorb the stain much more efficiently. Avoid applying too much stain to your pergola or deck, which could make the surface peel and crack, and look unappealing. Use long, continuous strokes on a single board at a time without touching any of the other boards. Be sure to coat each board evenly. Move on to the next row when you have finished one. Refer to the directions on the can for the drying time and when it is safe for you to apply the next coat of stain. In the second coat, you will need to use less oil than the first, as the wood will not be able to absorb much at this time. For cedar pergolas, there are also many special semi-transparent oil-based wood stains available, which you may simply spray on your deck. If you are applying a sealant, do so only after the stain has been allowed to dry well. This may be reapplied every 3 to 4 years

Repairing your deck or pergola

Keep an eye out for any corrosive fasteners that may be causing stains. It is wise to simply replace them. In the case of a cedar pergola or deck, flip the switch for materials such as stainless steel or aluminum, which does not react with the wood, and reduces the maintenance work that goes along with it.
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How to organize your shed Everyone understands the benefits of a well-organized garden shed in terms of saving of time, energy, and money. If your tool-shed is uncluttered you will not have to waste time locating your trowel. Gone will be the frustration of having to waste energy moving the wheel barrow and that extra bag of potted soil to get to the lawn mower. And you will not have to waste money on an extra pair of gloves simply because you cannot find your own. Hose keeping If you have ever tripped on a coil of hose and gotten hurt, you will remember how excruciatingly painful it can be. Keeping the coil of hose on a large hook can solve the problem. Choose a hook that has a steep angle to hold the coil of hose in place. Tool hanger Tools with longer handles are best stored where they do not hamper movement and yet can be reached easily. Nailing a tool hanger to the inside of your shed’s door will create ample space on the walls for shelves and benches for pots. Build shelves In tight quarters there’s never sufficient light. As a consequence you must use open metal shelves to allow sunlight to permeate through the shed. Adjustable shelves help to match shelf to tool height. Unclutter Merely using shelves is not enough if everything is ultimately going to be piled up on them. It would be advisable to use metal or plastic bins to store the stuff. Magnetic help Mechanics have for long used magnetic bars to store, and manage their tools. It is always stellar to extend the idea to your garden shed so that your pruning shears and trowels can be store safely. Choose a magnetic strip strong enough to bear the weight of your tools and you will have the tools always readily accessible. Have space for a potting bench Clear some space in the shed and make room for a potting bench. That is the best way to you can plant or repot your favorite plants even on a wet day. The potting bench will also allow your potting mix to remain dry. Maintain a calendar Maintain a calendar of gardening activities and it will save you the trouble of remembering when you last fertilized the lawn or planted seeds. Using a metal one will help create a precious place for plant tags, seed packets, and small parts with magnetic holders. Wicker basket  Something as mundane as a wicker basket suspended from the door of your shed will create a space for small and most frequently used paraphernalia such as shears, trowels, gloves, or, maybe, even a reference book. It’s the easiest place from where you can grab your equipment and begin working. Baskets An old bushel basket can be put underneath the potting bench to store mulch, birdseed, or potting mix. You can easily purchase bushel baskets at the flea market for a bargain, but any basket or bin will be handy for the job. Make wheeling easy You can make wheeling anything in and out of the shed by using a portable ramp. This one will be easy to make. Just a couple of 2x4s and a ½ inch plywood combine to create a ramp high enough to wheel equipment in and out while being use and small enough to store when not. Shed design Before you head to the hardware store to buy stuff that will enable you to build a storage shed of your own just make a pile of all the gear and paraphernalia that you would like stored and measure its aggregate length/size. If you are going to store bigger power tools then it is pretty obvious you will need greater space. Prioritize Once your shed is up, determine which equipment you are going to use more often and which you need less frequently. Equipment that is going to be used often should always be kept at the front and at the center. The rest can be assigned to the back portion. Trowels and gloves should always be kept in a way that they can be readily accessed. Tools to be hung Frequently used tools such as hand rakes, hedge sears, and small saws for cutting small branches and cultivators should be kept hung on the side of your shed doors. This not only protects the blades from inflicting damage on other tools but also help in enhancing their lifespan. However, they should be suspended from the lower part of the wall to protect you from their blades and prongs. Do not store extras Sort objects into groups. For instance, chemicals, cords, seeds, and pots can make up one group. Donate whatever equipment is surplus or discard the ones that are beyond use or repair or are rusted.
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How to Level a Shed Floor properly The most important feature when constructing a garden or storage shed is to start off with a solid level base. There is no guarantee that your backyard or garden space will be completely level despite looking reasonably so. This may not be an issue for many people, but if you are going to have a working bench inside the shed, where you plan to spend much of your hobby time, it is important that the bench is sitting level and not tilted at an angle. Without any doubt, no one would appreciate dining every day at a table that is inclined at an odd angle. You do not want your milk spilled on your lap, you want it sitting just fine in your cup. A Potential Colossal Error  Most importantly, to make it easy to assemble the shed, the base has to be completely level. In case the base is off level, it will only start showing when you get to the point when you have to start assembling the roof and you start running into all sorts of trouble because of the level issues. The easiest way to guarantee that your floor will be level is to buy a few tons of aggrade or crushed stone from your local hardware store. Crushed stone aggregate is a mixture of small stones and fine dust. This mixture after due leveling and compacting will offer the same strength as concrete because the stone will bind into the fine dust and provide the perfect base for your shed’s floor. Setting Out You can begin by marking the levels of the place where you plan to put up your shed. After this is done, drive four small 2’ wooden pegs with spiked edge at one end into the ground at approximately four points that will approximately be the four corner points of your shed. You will need to make your base a little bigger than the base of the shed. It will be a prudent idea to ponder awhile on how your shed is going to look like. Will it be imposing or is it going to obstruct the view or maybe end up blocking light? Only when you are satisfied about the exact position where you want your shed to come up should you move on to the next stage. The next thing is to create four level points at the four corner positions and mark them on the four pegs you hammered into the earth. Later on, if necessary, you can cut the stake down while they are still moored well enough in the earth up to these level points. The simplest way of achieving this is to identify which you think is the highest corner in the space and hammer than peg in the ground, to about 4 – 6 inches of the existing ground level. By doing this you have ensured that the top of the peg sits 4/6” above ground. This exercise is meant to find an average height that would be suitable for all four corners without using too much aggregate. There are several ways of controlling an excavation. But this one being a small excavation, a spirit level used together with a long (8′ or 2.4m) 4×2 timber will be fine. You can use a spade to strip the turf and top soil to a depth of 50mm and then excavate to the depth of 75mm in one corner. Resting the end of the 4×2 on the corner peg, measure down to ground level. It would be prudent if you could cut a piece of timber of this length. You can then take your excavation forward, checking with the 4×2, the spirit lamp and the timber that you are not going too deep. Placing Crushed Stone Layer  Before you have compacted the stones, rake it as level as possible. To compact the stone you could hire a vibrating plate, but if you need to burn those extra calories you can use a hand tamper to compact the ground. Hand tampers are 25 lbs in weight with an area of 4”x4” which you raise repeatedly and let it fall to compact the stone. Keep pounding the stone into the earth until it is compacted and at the same time keep taking levels as you did while excavating. Add or remove the aggrate according to the requirement. Pressure Treated Wood Foundation It is necessary to ensure that the timbers are laid perpendicular to the direction of the floor joists. The pressure treated timbers should be 4”x4”, to permit ventilation under the shed. Usually pressure treated timber has a long lifespan when in contact with the ground but installing the weed barrier and the stone should prolong it further. Moisture is what leads to decay, so remember that any steps taken to ensure dryness will prolong the life of the timber.
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Cost Effective Ways to personalize your pergola or gazebo When it comes to building a pergola or gazebo, there is a wide range of options that include high quality western red cedar pergolasCedar is more durable and suitable for outdoor use. You could also choose other materials such as vinyl with ultraviolet inhibitors for sustained whites and long lasting colors. The options are endless no matter what material you decide on and there are several cost effective ways to personalize your pergola or gazebo. Personalizing is all about enhancing its appearance and utility. Here are a few cost effective ways to make your pergola and gazebo the pride of your home. Add some Furniture  It would be nice to convert the area covered by the pergola into a quiet seating area by placing a patio table and a few chairs. Painting the furniture to match your gazebo is also an impressive and prudent idea. You may also consider adding a hammock or a hot tub under the pergola and enjoy some rest and relaxation. Adding Rafters or Joists Pergola kits comes with necessary rafters or joists which will leave you with a complete view of the sky and the sun. You can choose to add rafter beams or joists for greater shade or a better frame for the creepers.  You can order a customized kit with additional joist beams. These beams will provide extra shade and space on which to place hanging baskets. Erect Trellis or Lattice Erecting a side-wall trellis or lattice is a wonderful way to provide space for vines of all types including honeysuckle and roses. These plants will give your pergola the effect of a garden room. Trailing or garden vines will act as doorway overhang or serve as a shade for the sitting area. The shape and color of the trellis or lattice will accentuate the exterior décor. Make sure that you install 1/2- to 1-inch thick lattice or trellis wood pieces as support for the weight of any climbing plant. Close One End Although a pergola kit creates a room without walls, it would be magnificent to add one or even two walls. Softening the edges of the pergola by adding a trellis at one end is another stellar way to personalize it. Drill all screw holes on fragile wood like trellis and lattice prior to installation. This will prevent the wood from splitting when you connect the pieces to the pergola. If you choose to add some paint, it would be prudent to use an acrylic, non-toxic one to avoid damaging the plants. Include Flowers Flowers provide an excellent surrounding for outside gatherings no matter what. You could consider a lattice wall filled with colorful flowers apart from climbing vines. Some sunny flowers that go well with vinyl pergolas include spider flowers, nigella, marguerite daisies, sweet alyssum, and more. Don’t hesitate to approach a professional at your local nursery to identify which species are likely to thrive in the climate where you live. All Season Pergolas Individually designed pergolas will spice up your life in ways words cannot describe, whether its Sunday breakfasts or a Saturday night bash. Solid polycarbonate roofing or retractable canopied fabrics will not only create extra space but also provide year round protection from the elements. A combination of polycarbonate roofing or colorbond roofing will give you ample opportunity to enjoy sun and light during summers and even those bitter winters. Swinging Pergolas You can add an element of fun to your pergolas by including a swing. This cozy little pergola is best for two individuals to enjoy the garden view while relaxing outdoors. These pergolas have a lattice at the top and bottom of its walls which will shelter you from the sun’s heat and at the same time take care of your privacy. Simultaneously, these pergolas do not hinder a cool breeze from freshening you up. Pergola with Hanging Seats  This is a new version of the typical patio seating found beneath the pergola. Here cushy chairs hang from the rafters, lending a relaxed atmosphere to the entire area. The deck-topping pergola should match the angles of the house so that the décor suits the yard perfectly. You can apply white paint for a classic, bright, and clean appearance. Design Pergolas to Match Your Outdoor Style Installing a pergola of the same stain as on the deck on which it has been erected is the ideal way to allow it to blend with your décor. Surround it with a multitude of potted plants to give it a feeling of being cut off from the rest of the surrounding structure. Incorporating a two-person swing and pillows provides the right atmosphere to relax and enjoy the weather with a partner. Glass Blocks for Privacy Installing glass blocks sporadically to a pergola creates not only a unique design but offers privacy as well. It’s almost like creating a room outdoors, distinct from the yard. The combination of timber and glass goes well whether you have a small or large pergola. You can choose to connect the pergola with the rest of the yard by placing potted plants around this wonderful and sensational addition to your property.
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How to Maintain and Care for Your Pergola An outdoor pergola is an open structure that can be used for shade and can come with retractable canopies or climbing vines overtop.  It can serve as a roof for the walkway or for the porch. When you maintain an outdoor pergola, what you really do is not only take care of its appearance but increase its lifespan. Knowing how to care for it is important especially since pergolas can be made from many different materials such as wood, plastic, vinyl and metal. Hose it Down Irrespective of what the pergola is made of, it is always prudent to hose it down. It is advisable to use a high-pressure water hose to eliminate any dirt that may be clinging on the surface. The pressure of the hose can be adjusted depending on the type of material used in the pergola. Always begin hosing in a downward direction. Make sure there is no furniture or other items lying around during the process to avoid damage. Clean It  Purchase a proper cleanser for your outdoor pergola that can be applied with the help of a brush with bristles that are tough enough to clean the area properly. You can also use a tooth brush for stubborn areas of the pergola that cannot be targeted with a bristle brush. Always take care to remove any splinters of wood or paint that may appear to be peeling off. For a metal pergola you may want to use a bristle brush to clear away all the rust clinging to the surface. If your pergola is made from vinyl, you could do well to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the cleanser. Most vinyl material will also react well to cleaning by a detergent. Removing Mildews and Stains Mildew is something you cannot afford to ignore unless you want to risk spoiling the appearance of your pergola. Fasteners used on the pergola could also cause staining. If the pergola has corrosive fasteners they could leave black or dark brown spots on the wood. To remove mildew, mix a cup of oxygen bleach with a gallon on water and apply it after washing your pergola thoroughly. Once you see the stains lighten, wash it again with soapy water followed by rinsing. Rinse the Pergola Once the cleanser has been properly applied and cleared of all the dirt or debris, then rinse the wash water with a hose. Carefully study your pergola if any of the areas need special attention. One could repeat the exercise if necessary. Touch Up Damages A touch up kit or a repair kit makes it easy to work on areas that are damaged. You can apply wood or metal putty wherever there are cuts or dings and then refinish that area. The touch-up kit is also ideal for repainting the damaged areas. Several vinyl pergolas come with repair kits specially designed to take care of damages. How to Maintain and Care for Your Pergola Sealing and Staining  If your pergola is made from cedar, with time, its color will change from light reddish to silvery gray. This is because cedar weathers with age. If you wish to preserve the original color then a sealant used for hard woods could come in handy. Clean the pergola well before applying any wood stain and sealant. Spray the pergola with a translucent oil-based wood stain suitable for cedar. Allow the stain to dry before applying a sealant. A coat of wood stain every alternate year will help boost its appearance. Repairs If you notice stains forming due to the fasteners, it is advisable to replace them immediately. Always use stainless steel or aluminum fasteners that do not react with the material of the pergola. These fasteners are a tad expensive but are guaranteed to give your pergola a nice, clean look. This will also reduce staining and lessen the burden of maintenance. Care must be taken to tighten up any loose fasteners. Any repairs to damaged parts must be undertaken as soon as possible to ensure uniformity in beauty of the entire pergola. Painting Some places have long summers marked by relentlessly hot weather, which can wreak havoc on outdoor furniture including pergolas. Dry heat can take a toll on wood pergolas. One of the best remedies is a quality heat resistant paint. Repainting it with a salient and fantastic heat-resistant paint will not only enhance its beauty but also prolong the life of your pergola. Trim the Vines Most people grow creepers along their pergolas. A touch of greenery undoubtedly makes the ambience livelier. However, it is important to remember that vines thicken and add to the weight on the pergola. Although most pergolas can tolerate weights, it is wise to keep trimming the vines couple of times every year. This will reduce the burden on the frame while the vines will take no time in regaining their lost glory.
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The History of Western Red Cedar Products Western Red Cedar Wood certainly has played its part in the history of wood products.  It has over a century long history in Europe and North America and is well respected by all who have used it. Cedars reputation for being a naturally durable wood makes it perfect for all outdoor projects. Because Western Red Cedar is only ecologically grown from sustainable forests, in recent years it has gained even more popularity. A Little History: Western Red Cedar Western Red Cedar or Thuja Plicata is an evergreen tree commonly found in Pacific Northwest of North America. Although it is not a true cedar, the tree was very popular with Native Americans who used it in almost every part of their daily lives. In fact, some Native American tribes refer to themselves as ‘people of the red cedar’ as they were dependent on the tree for most of their basic materials. Apart from Native Americans, the tree was found to have historical significance since it has been in use for 4,000 years. Archaeologists have found evidence of Western Red Cedar use in native societies as far back as 8,000 years. Native Tribal Uses According to researchers, the tree was used extensively wherever it grew in North America. Evidence of Western Red Cedar use has been found in British Columbia, Alaska, Washington and Oregon. Excavations showed that the wood was used in native societies extensively. The natives used the cedar wood to create bark baskets, tools, weapons and to cook off of it such as a grilling plank. In fact, the Western Red Cedar was referred to as ‘the cornerstone of the Northwest Coast aboriginal culture.’ Several tribes along the coast line use the wood to create dugout canoes, bentwood boxes, and furniture. The branches were flexible with good tensile strength and they were used to make fishing cords, bows, and arrows. Thinner rods were used to make rope cores, twine, etc.. In most areas, Western Red Cedar bark was used to make clothes, mats, ropes, and cordage. In some areas, the women of the tribe adapted the bark to make rain hats and baskets. The Coast Salish tribes were so dependent on the tree that they created a legend about its origin. According to the legend, the tree was gifted to the tribe by the Great Spirit. The Great Spirit declared that the cedar would be useful to the people for making baskets, weapons, clothing, and shelter. Appearance of the Western Red Cedar Tree Western Red Cedar is a huge tree that can grow up to 60 meters tall. The branches droop down with the longest branches at the base. The tree tapers as it grows upward. The leaves are scale-like and grow in opposite pairs in four rows, almost shingle-like in appearance. Seed cones are produced and they are egg-shaped and one cm long. The tree prefers moist wet soils, a cool and mild climate, and it is tolerate of shade and sunlight. It is extremely long-lived with some trees having a lifespan of 1,000 years or more. Currently, most Western Red Cedar trees are located on the wet belt of  the Pacific Northwest Coast. Modern Day Applications: Western Red Cedar
  • The wood is very popular in the outdoor structure industry such as pergolas, furniture and gazebos as it is lightweight and durable. The timber is a unique soft red-brown in color and has a warm feel to it.
  • It is valued for its high natural resistance and decay properties. The natural wood tannins present in the tree prevent the tree from rotting and preserve the wood efficiently. This feature also makes the wood ideal for high humidity areas like hot tub and sauna frames.
  • Wood planks are commonly used as house siding and interior paneling. The natural tannins also give off a very strong odor that repels pests such as termites and prevents damage to the house.
  • Unfinished cedar weathers to a silvery-gray color and the knots in the wood tend to darken in color. As a result, the wood is preferred for outdoor furniture. However, it readily accepts almost any exterior paint finish.
  • The wood also has an extremely high thermal co-efficient. That means products such as greenhouses and conservatories will insulate better in the winter but remain cooler in the summer.
Buying Western Red Cedar Wood Western Red Cedar products are available in various sizes from large timbers to 1×4 fence pickets. Cedar can be bought in both clear and standard knotty grades. Most building supply dealers carry a wide selection of Western Red Cedar products. There are also several manufacturing companies that specialize only in outdoor cedar kits such as sheds, playhouses, gazebos and pergolas. For more detailed information about cedar, check out The Western Red Cedar Lumber Association’s website as they are the authority on the species. You can find information about painting and staining as well as a sourcing page so you can find exactly what your looking for.
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red cedar bark A pergola made of wood is the ideal structure for providing shelter and shade outdoors, and it will improve the value of your property. Wood is the popular choice (benefit of wood link) of material for constructing pergolas because it is not only affordable but also easy to work with, which provides numerous design options. Out of all the different types of wood, western red cedar wood is the perfect material for constructing pergolas, because of its special characteristics.

Ten reasons to consider western red cedar for constructing your pergola:

1) Highly Durable Western red cedar wood is extremely durable and is the popular choice for constructing fences, outdoor structures, and making building components. There are different varieties of cedar, but western red cedar is known to resist moisture and decay the best. Western red cedar is able to withstand almost all types of extreme weather, which makes it ideal material for outdoor structures such as pergolas. 2) Repels Insects Cedar actually has the characteristic of repelling insects, and it therefore will not easily fall prey to termite infestation. In olden days, when cedar trees were plentiful, people used to make the frames of their houses and clapboard sidings from cedar. Certain homes even had their roofs made of cedar planks. While many other types of woods are susceptible to termites, cedar can resist these insects and others largely. 3) Dimensional Stability Cedar is hygroscopic, which means the wood will discharge or absorb moisture to be in equilibrium with the surrounding atmospheric conditions. Secondly, the wood has extremely low shrinkage factor and is extremely resistant to checking, twisting, and warping. When you use western red cedar for making pergolas, it will not change its dimension or size  in most types of weather conditions, temperature, or level of humidity. Other types of wood start to warp when there is excess moisture in the atmosphere, but most cedar types will remain flat and straight, which makes them excellent construction material. 4) Comparatively Lighter in Weight Western red cedar is one of the lightest softwoods available commercially. The density of red cedar after it is oven dried is around 21 pounds per cubic foot, and a relative density of 0.32. Such low density, makes it much lighter in weight than other woods, and therefore it is easy to handle and transport cedar. 5) Thermal Conductivity Since cedar has a lower density, it correspondingly has more cell cavities. When the wood is dry, these cavities will be filled with air, which will make cedar a good thermal insulator. A structure made of cedar will keep cool in the hot season and will not need much heating during the winter. Compared to steel, concrete, and brick, the western red cedar provides much superior insulation amongst the softwood varieties. The R value of red cedar is 1.35″ of thickness, which is about 34 mm. 6) Beautiful Appearance Pergolas stand out in the outdoors and therefore they need to look elegant and beautiful. Many types of cedars will not lose their grain texture, and they can be stained and painted without losing their elegant grained appearance. Cedar also looks beautiful in its natural color, which can be white or red. Since, the wood is resistant to rot, and weather conditions, you do not need to stain, paint, or varnish the wood to provide a protective layer as in other woods. The natural color of cedar will also age beautifully to a silvery grey with time. 7) Fragrant Wood The wonderful aroma of cedar is quite well known. The oil in the wood, which provides water-resisting quality, is also quite fragrant. In fact, cedar is the most preferred wood for wardrobes, closets, saunas, and hot tub surroundings. Hence, if you want pleasant smelling pergolas, cedar would be the ideal choice. 8) Acoustics Any wood has the property for dampening vibrations and noise, but cedar excels in this property because of its vast cellular network.The minute interlocking pores of the cellular network, converts the energy of sound into heat due to viscoelastic and frictional resistance. As a result of this high friction inside, the wood has high dampening capacity compared to other materials used in structures. Hence, if you want a relatively quiet atmosphere or you want to dampen the sound you might be making while entertaining guests in pergolas, then cedar would be the ideal choice. Western red cedar is especially effective in this aspect, and is used widely to reduce noise or for confining noise within a certain area. 9) Easy to Handle Being lighter in weight compared to other woods, western red cedar is much easier to handle. Carpenters and workers prefer working with cedar, since there is much less strain during the building process. 10) Customized Designs Since cedar is easy to work with, it is possible to create numerous designs and engravings with relatively less effort. Hence, if you are thinking of building pergolas with intricate and elegant designs, western red cedar should be your first choice.
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