Cedar vs. Pressure Treated Fencing-Which one is Better?


Cedar and pressure-treated lumber are two very popular choices for fencing, decking, and other outdoor structures. Each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, and knowing what those are can help you determine which one is best. Here is some information you will find very useful in making your decision.

Cedar vs. Pressure Treated Lumber

Cedar is one species that is naturally resistant to insects and decay. Termites and moths generally do not bother cedar wood, which is why it is often used to line closets.

Pressure treated lumber on the other hand is typically made from yellow pine, which does not have this natural resistance. To prevent rot or insect damage, this lumber is chemically treated by forcing preservatives into the wood during the manufacturing process.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cedar Lumber

Cedar provides an aesthetically-pleasing appearance, while naturally resisting decay. Many people enjoy the look of cedar wood, and find it needs no staining or painting whatsoever. However, if you do choose to stain your wood, you’ll find it compatible with a number of different types of varnishes, paints, and stains.

Although it isn’t necessary to stain cedar, you should nonetheless seal it to prevent warping. You’ll also need to reapply sealer every two to three years to keep your wood protected.

Some other advantages of cedar wood are:

  • Being one of the most durable fencing materials, lasting between 15 and 20 years with proper care.
  • Leaving a lesser impact on the environment.
  • Easily withstanding the harsh temperatures Minnesota is known for.

A few disadvantages include:

  • Having a soft nature, which makes it susceptible to dents and dings.
  • An occasional shortages of materials.

Pressure Treated Lumber Advantages

True cedar trees are found only in certain areas of the world such as Lebanon. Some varieties like the Eastern Red Cedar do grow in the United States. Even so, these are not true cedars although their wood grain and fragrance do resemble them.   

Since cedar wood can be scarce in many areas, it also tends to be more expensive. Accordingly, you could save a great deal of money by installing a pressure treated fence rather than a cedar one.

Some other advantages of pressure treated lumber include:

  • Resisting dents, dings, and scratches.
  • Greater durability for structures that will remain in contact with the ground.
  • A natural, rustic appearance.
  • No need to reseal every few years.

Disadvantages of Pressure Treated Lumber

Of course, pressure treated lumber is infused with chemicals that could be harmful for the environment. In addition to the environmental impact of manufacturing, you could find it difficult to dispose of your pressure treated lumber when you are finished with it.

It can also be more difficult to stain or paint pressure treated lumber. That’s because the chemicals infused into the wood make it difficult for stains to be fully absorbed. That may not be a problem if you prefer a natural look, but might be an issue if you have a particular stain or color in mind.

Which one is Right for Me?

When deciding, keep your budget, project, and maintenance needs in mind. If you are wanting a natural wood look and would like to limit your environmental impact, cedar might be a great choice. On the other hand, if you are on a tighter budget or would rather not have to perform ongoing maintenance, pressure treated lumber could be better instead.

Here at Security Fence & Construction, we install cedar, pressure-treated lumber, and other types of wooden fences for our customers in Minneapolis and the surrounding areas. We can create a custom fence that perfectly suits your needs, and invite you to contact us to learn more.