When you think of cedar wood, you may think of elegant wardrobes and chests where family heirlooms are kept. Cedar is an elegant material for sure, but it is right for a deck? With its durability and rot-resistance, cedar has a lot going for it when it comes to outdoor applications. But, how does it compare to pressure-treated wood? Let’s explore the pros and cons of cedar decks.

The Benefits of Cedar Decking

When used for decking, cedar brings a lot of benefits to the table, including:

  • Insect resistance
  • Moisture and mold resistance
  • Resistance to warping and twisting
  • Beauty, in texture and color
  • Environmentally friendly

Cedar has these benefits because the tree naturally has a high level of aromatic hydrocarbons and acids. These substances not only give cedar trees their characteristic smell but also protect them from insects and moisture damage. These benefits persist after we’ve turned the tree into decking.

Can I Leave My Cedar Deck Untreated?

Yes, you can leave your cedar deck untreated and, with proper maintenance, expect it to last. Cedar naturally resists the main culprits that cause warped, twisted and damaged decking, including moisture, mold, fungus and insects. Its ability to go untreated makes it a more environmentally friendly decking option, as you don’t need to use or dispose of treatment chemicals when you use it. However, if you want, you can still treat the deck to enhance its natural characteristics.

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The Disadvantages of Cedar Decking

By far, the biggest disadvantage of cedar decking is that it has a tough time resisting scratches. If you want to place furniture on it, it’s best to use soft pads on the bottom of the furniture to prevent it from harming the deck.

Those with pets may not want to use cedar at all, as a pet’s nails can wear deep scratches into the deck over time, especially if your dog has a habit of racing out your back door. Although, if your heart is set on cedar, you can prevent this damage by laying down a mat just outside of your back door.

A second drawback to cedar is that it fades to grey as it matures. This is a positive for some people who like the look, but this faded grey is not nearly as popular as the glowing orange of new cedar. You can do things to keep the cedar from fading, but it will require yearly maintenance and sealing.

Of course, cedar may also cost more than other materials you might choose for your deck. However, it’s worth noting that it’s a relatively low-cost when compared to other high-end materials. Plus, as it doesn’t require much maintenance, it saves you in treatment costs and time over the years.

Is Cedar Wood Better than Pressure Treated?

In general, if you want a top-quality deck that resists the elements, looks lovely, and reduces your deck’s impact on the environment, cedar is a better choice than pressure-treated wood. On the other hand, if you absolutely need a deck that can resist scratches from pets and furniture, you may be better off choosing pressure-treated wood, or another wood that has a better hardness value.