Cedar siding is certainly beautiful. But does it compare to synthetic alternatives like vinyl or fiber cement?
Cedar siding offers natural insulation for the entirety of your home while also standing up to the elements. It’s easy to customize to fit your home’s floor plan and can be painted or stained to suit any aesthetic. Plus, cedar wood is considerably better for the environment than other popular siding materials.
Like any wood product, cedar siding is susceptible to things like fire, pests, and rot. If you want to get the most out of your cedar siding, you’ll need to keep up with regular (and expensive) maintenance. Even with the best care, though, cedar siding rarely lasts as long as other materials.
Are the risks associated with cedar siding worth the jaw-dropping appearance? Here are the pros and cons of installing cedar siding on your own home:
What Are the Pros of Cedar Siding?
Despite the fact that cedar is considered softwood rather than hardwood, it’s still one of the most durable siding materials you can use. This durability is greatly improved by routine maintenance and weather-resistant treatments.
While most siding materials offer little insulation, cedar is extremely effective at insulating your home’s interior. This can reduce the amount of noise that transfers through your walls from the outside. It can also help lower your cooling and heating costs throughout the year.
Siding made from synthetic materials often mimics the look of natural wood. But nothing can compare to the aesthetic provided by real cedar siding.
Cedar siding is a great choice for any rustic- or cottage-style home. Yet that doesn’t mean that other architectural trends don’t pair well with this material. Cedar siding is extremely versatile and comes in many different styles to suit any look.
Easy to Work With
While alternatives like vinyl siding have their own benefits, flexibility is not one of them. Meanwhile, cedar siding is incredibly easy to customize to fit any angle.
Cedar is just like any other softwood, so it can be effortlessly cut, carved, nailed, and otherwise worked with. Even the most awkward parts of your home’s exterior can be quickly and easily finished with cedar siding!
In terms of sustainability, you can’t get much better than natural wood. Once cedar siding has surpassed its functional lifespan, it can either be recycled into a new project or allowed to decompose back into the soil.
Cedar wood grows relatively quickly, making it easier to keep up with demand without using an excess of resources. Plus, cedar trees are some of the most responsibly grown wood sources in the world.
Is cedar siding the end-all-be-all of eco-friendly construction? No. But this biodegradable siding solution is more sustainable than synthetic alternatives.
Can Be Stained Or Painted
While natural cedar siding is undeniably beautiful, it’s not for everyone. Fortunately, cedar siding is an excellent candidate for both stain and paint. So you can easily customize your home’s exterior to suit your personal style or update existing cedar siding when you need a fresh look.
What Are the Cons of Cedar Siding?
Perhaps the most common reason homeowners opt for synthetic siding over a material like cedar is the need for regular maintenance. Although cedar siding comes with a host of benefits, most of them will disappear if the wood is not properly cared for.
Frequent cleaning and resealing of cedar siding is a must. This will maintain the material’s structural integrity and preserve its beautiful appearance. Routine maintenance will also deter insects and other sources of potential damage.
Even with expert care, cedar siding may need occasional repairs. And most cedar siding will need to be completely replaced within 10 to 20 years. Proper installation and consistent maintenance are the best ways to guarantee your cedar siding lasts as long as possible, with some cedar siding lasting as long as 75 years.
Before installing cedar siding, homeowners should be aware that this material is considerably more flammable than other types of siding. This is especially important to know if you live somewhere with particularly dry weather or frequent wildfires.
Cedar siding is often treated to increase its flame-retardance. Pay close attention to the fire safety rating of your chosen cedar siding before updating your home’s exterior.
Not Compatible With Iron
While cedar siding is incredibly versatile, it will react to iron nails and fasteners. Cedar siding left in contact with iron will develop rust stains and eventually rot around the iron. Fortunately, rust stains that are caught early enough can be removed and the cedar siding retreated for continued use.
Cedar siding is far from the most budget-friendly option on the market. On average, cedar siding costs at least twice as much as vinyl and other popular materials.
Even if the initial installation is within your budget, keep in mind that maintaining cedar siding is expensive in and of itself. It will cost significantly more than vinyl siding throughout its lifespan.
Vulnerable to Environmental Damage
While cedar is one of the hardiest woods used for siding, it’s not invincible. Pests, including insects and species of woodpeckers, can damage cedar siding beyond repair. This is more likely to occur after the wood has aged and lost most of its bug-deterring aroma.
Rot is also a concern, with homes located in moist climates the most likely to have issues. Frequent cleaning and sealing can keep mold and mildew from taking over your cedar siding and leading to rot damage.
Siding isn’t just responsible for boosting your home’s curb appeal. In reality, siding is the exoskeleton that keeps your home safe from the environment and all of its potential hazards.
Cedar siding might require near-constant maintenance. But the reward is a sturdy, beautiful finish that insulates your home from noise and harsh temperatures. It’s also extremely forgiving to work with and won’t take a toll on the environment like synthetic alternatives.
Even if fitting routine maintenance into your calendar is a non-issue, cedar siding won’t fit every homeowner’s budget. And if you fail to keep up with cedar’s maintenance needs, it can quickly become vulnerable to the elements and damaging wildlife.
When it comes to cedar siding, it’s extremely important to know what you’re getting yourself into. Would you be willing to maintain cedar siding if it meant enjoying its many benefits in your own home? Let us know in the comments!