Redwood and cedar, which are two of the most popular softwood species, find their applications in a wide range of woodworking projects, especially exterior applications, due to their outstanding durability and resistance to decay.
Even though both share many similarities, there are also many differences between the two outdoor wood species in terms of appearance, physical strength, and uses. If you are looking to know about the differences between redwood vs cedar, you’ve come to the right place. Here you go.
What is Redwood?
Redwood timber refers to wood sourced from conifer redwood trees. The two major species include the coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and the giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum). Redwood trees are famous for their impressive height and age. The timber is valued for its natural strength, durability, and resistance to decay and insects. The attractive reddish-brown heartwood is fairly strong for softwood and is commonly used for outdoor construction, such as decking, fences, furniture, and siding.
Due to its ability to resist harsh weather conditions, redwood timber is favored for outdoor use. It is also sought after for its workability, owing to its straight grain, which makes it a popular choice among woodworkers around the world.
About Cedar Timber
Cedar timber is procured from various species of cedar (cedrus) trees, which are known for their beautiful, aromatic, and decay-resistant wood. The most common cedar species include Western Red Cedar, Eastern Red Cedar, and Spanish Cedar, all of which share similar reddish-brown hues with distinctive grain patterns.
Cedar timber is favored for outdoor applications like fencing, decking, furniture, and siding due to its natural resistance to insects and decay. The wood’s pleasant natural scent, along with its fine grain, attractive appearance, and dimensional stability, also makes it popular for interior uses, including beautiful furniture and cabinets. Cedar’s versatile and durable timber is popular for use in a wide range of construction and artisan projects.
Redwood Vs Cedar Wood
The softwood species offer good natural strength and durability, making them suitable for various outdoor applications, including decking, fencing, and outdoor furniture. As for differences, each of the two species has its distinctive properties, pros, and cons, setting it apart from the other. We’ll discuss the same here in detail.
Both redwood and cedar are considered good choices for outdoor applications. In terms of appearance, there is a clear difference between the two wood types. Redwood has a reddish-brown heartwood with a warm and rich color hue. The grain is usually very pronounced and adds to the overall appeal of the wood.
Conversely, Cedar has a range of color tones, from light browns to almost reds, across different species. The grain is typically finer. While both woods turn to a silver-grayish look over time and with exposure to sunlight, redwood takes more time to lose its original color. The choice between redwood and cedar based on appearance will depend on your project type and your personal preferences, as both feature distinct and aesthetically pleasing appearances.
Both are softwoods with above-average strength characteristics. They are slightly different in terms of hardness, density, and strength.
Redwood with a Janka rating of 400-450 lbf is slightly harder and stronger than cedar, which has an average Janka score of 350 lbf. Both woods are moderately resistant to dents and scratches. Cedar is still relatively softer and may catch dents easily, which is why it’s not recommended for heavy use such as flooring.
In terms of strength, redwood is generally stronger than cedar due to its density. Redwood’s density also contributes to its higher durability. The choice between them for your outdoor project should depend on the specific requirements of your project and the desired ratio of hardness, density, and strength.
Durability & Resistance
As you know, Redwood and cedar are famous for their durability and natural resistance to things like moisture and insects, which is why they are considered popular choices for outdoor use.
Redwood is inherently resistant to decay and insects due to its higher levels of natural preservatives. It can survive in moist environments and harsh weather conditions. Cedar is also naturally durable but might sometimes need additional protection, especially when used in harsh conditions. Both woods weather to an attractive patina over time.
The choice between cedar and redwood for durable outdoor timber depends on climate in your location and maintenance preferences. Both woods offer good resistance to weather and are suitable for long-lasting outdoor structures. Proper care with routine maintenance and polishing can enhance their lives and maintain beauty and performance for a long time.
Redwood and cedar both share low-maintenance requirements, i.e. require low maintenance due to their natural durability. Both woods naturally resist decay and insects and are also somewhat immune to dents and scratches due to their density. So they require minimal upkeep.
Redwood’s higher density and better resistance characteristics make it superior to cedar in terms of the need for maintenance. However, both woods perform their best when cared for with periodic sealing or staining, which helps extend their lifespan and maintain their original appearance.
Cedar may require more frequent and detailed maintenance, especially when used in humid or harsh climates. The maintenance needs will also depend on climate considerations and your particular preferences.
Both have basic similarities and differences in terms of workability.
Redwood, because of its fine and straight grain, is generally easy to work with and causes minimal splintering. It is easy to cut, shape, and sand with smooth outcomes, allowing for intrinsic designs.
Cedar, which is softer than redwood, shows good workability and is particularly suitable for intricate woodworking. Both woods respond quite well to hand and machine tools, allowing for detailed crafting. The choice between redwood and cedar depends on your particular workability requirements for your specific project. Both wood offers versatility and can be used in various woodworking applications.
Availability & Price
The availability and price of redwood and cedar can vary by region. Redwood, which is primarily found in the western United States, is more readily available and accessible to people in that region. Cedar species, on the other hand, are found all over the world, but specific types of cedar can be limited to particular regions.
Both woods can be moderately priced or expensive, depending on local availability and other associated costs.
The two woods are known for their natural durability and resistance to decay, have versatile applications across many industries, particularly outdoor construction.
Redwood is commonly used for building decks, fences, and outdoor furniture due to its outstanding durability, strength, and attractive appearance.
Cedar, with common varieties being Western Red Cedar and Eastern Red Cedar, is preferred for other outdoor applications like siding, shingles, and other structures.
Both cedar and redwood are popular options for exterior decorative and landscaping components.
Redwood Vs Cedar: What is the best wood for your Project?
As two popular types of softwood originating from conifer trees, redwood and cedar share many similarities in terms of physical properties and appearance. Despite being softwoods, they are both fairly strong and have excellent resistance to weather and insects, making them last long with low maintenance. Both are attractive woods with unique grain patterns. While redwood features a deeper reddish color, cedar tends to have a lighter tone.
If you are confused between redwood and cedar or need help choosing the right timber for your woodworking project, contact Cameroon Timber Export Sarl to explore our wide range of hardwood and softwood timber species, certified for high-quality and available for worldwide shipping at the best wholesale price timber. Contact us now to get started.