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Ryan Coyle
Ryan Coyle

With 20+ years of experience in the landscape, decking, and construction industries, Ryan is one of the top deck designers in the central Indiana area. He and his companies have garnered several awards for their designs.

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Why Use Western Red Cedar for Pergolas and Arbors

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At Artisan Outdoor Craftsman, we take pride in producing the highest quality wood products & outdoor living design and construction services that add beauty to the landscape, while adding to contractors’ profit margin. This is why we recommend and use Western Red Cedar for arbors and pergolas.

Western Red Cedar trees grow in the Pacific Northwest, and it is one of the best woods to use for outdoor decks, pergolas, and arbors because it is durable, beautiful, and cost-effective. It is also resistant to insects and decay, which means it will look great for many years to come. It is also amazingly strong for softwood. Western Red Cedar is also lightweight and easy to work with, which makes it easier for contractors.

Here are some of the reasons we prefer Western Red Cedar lumber for our arbors and pergolas:

  • It’s beautiful and durable
  • It’s naturally resistant to insects and rotting
  • It’s abundant and economical

Western Red Cedar is beautiful and durable

This wood is beautiful, and its ability to accept stains means its beauty comes in many hues. That is why Western Red Cedar decks are popular. As one of North America’s most durable woods, it lasts for decades and even centuries. Light in weight, uniformly textured, straight-grained, and containing no pitch or resin, Western Red Cedar is easy to work with, and it has a variety of uses.

In fact, along the Pacific coast, where the trees grow in abundance, people have used the wood for a lot of their building needs, not just structures for an outdoor living project. The outdoor deck of your dreams can be built off the exact same wood that you use for the house, office, or guest room. Unlike inland cedars, Western Red Cedar has developed a toughness due to the ocean salt from the West Coast. This makes this cedar durable lasting up to 50-plus years.

Trust us when we say this softwood is beautiful, in both sight and scent. It’s hard to beat the beauty of Western Red Cedar pergolas. No man-made material can duplicate the depth of its natural luster, or its subtle, natural aroma (which is another hallmark of its universal appeal).

As an outdoor living contractor, we like that this species of cedar lays flat and stays straight. The even grain and relatively consistent density make Western Red Cedar less likely to swell, warp, cup, and twist than other soft and hardwoods. It is a very versatile wood, and it can withstand nearly all kinds of weather. As a result, the wood retains a distinguished appearance that lends a mark of quality to any home’s outdoor living space. This is why Western Red Cedar is a great choice for outdoor structures, like pergolas, arbors, and gazebos.

Western Red Cedar is naturally resistant to insects and rotting

Cedar comes in a number of varieties, but its natural resistance to moisture and deterioration has long made Western Red Cedar a popular choice for interior projects, but especially those in outdoor spaces.

Western Red Cedar lumber’s ability to absorb moisture from the air around it or to discharge moisture helps the wood remain consistent in its size — it has an extremely low shrinkage factor. This means it is less vulnerable to warping or twisting, despite the weather or humidity.

As for why it is naturally resistant to insects, the U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted a test and discovered termites prefer not to eat cedar. Scientists discovered the wood contains allelochemicals, which can act as repellents and toxicants to insects, including termites. An earlier study showed Western Red Cedar was susceptible to very little insect damage.

The natural oils in the wood that provide the distinctive cedar aroma also aid in Western Red Cedar’s natural water-resistant qualities.

Because of the natural qualities of Western Red Cedar, you do not have to treat the wood. If the product is not treated, the wood will turn a silverish gray color over the course of a year. Some people like this color, while others do not. Though you don’t have to treat the wood, it is recommended that a linseed oil-based product be used on it to condition the wood and help lessen the checking process. An oil-based product will penetrate the wood deeper and will help protect the wood as opposed to a water-based stain. There are many different colors and varieties available.

Western Red Cedar is abundant and economical

Wood is the only major building material that is renewable, and due to sustainability practices for every tree harvested, at least three are planted, according to the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association.

While some customers choose this species of cedar because of things like affordability, beauty, and durability, real cedar also is a good eco-friendly choice. Here are some reasons outlined by the WRCLA:

  • Wood, including Western Red Cedar, requires less energy to produce when compared to concrete or steel.
  • Cedar and wood also have a lower impact, when compared to other building materials, on air quality, producing fewer toxins and greenhouse gases.
  • Western Red Cedar is recyclable and biodegradable, and it comes from a renewable source.

Coastal Western Red Cedar grows from Southeast Alaska to Northern California. The amount of acreage devoted to Western Red Cedar forests has grown by 20% since 1970. Because of these sustainability efforts, this cedar wood remains abundant and economical.

Let Artisan Outdoor Craftsman help you

As you can see, there are many reasons to use Western Red Cedar for decks, pergolas and arbors, and your other outdoor living space projects. At Artisan Outdoor Craftsman, our products and designs grew out of years of experience in the landscape industry. We work with a variety of customers, from other outdoor living contractors to homeowners to business owners.

Our professionally designed systems are extra durable, but also made to install quickly and efficiently. We use high-quality lumber and hardware that will last for years, even in the harshest exterior environments.

We are driven by a passion for excellence. Our experienced craftsmen have been building and installing pergolas, decks, arbors, and outdoor structures for decades. We are the leading experts in outdoor construction in Central Indiana.

Whether you are a fellow contractor looking for all the materials needed to build these kinds of structures, or you are a homeowner or business owner looking to beautify and enhance your exterior, contact us so we can design and deliver the project right for you.