Siding Options: Cedar Vs. Redwood

Redwood Siding

Every home must have siding. Unless you have a real brick home, there is some type of siding on your house. Whether stucco, vinyl, metal, composite material or wood, siding is an essential component of a home’s construction.

However, wood is the quintessential material not only for the “bones”, floors and top of a home, but also for the siding. Before all the other modern materials used for siding today there was wood. 

And we still love it.

The Timeless Allure of Wood Siding

The appeal of wood siding even influences the manufacture of other siding materials, according to United Home Experts,

“Almost every type of siding on the market tries to imitate the look of real wood.  Why? Because real wood has acedarshingles-resized-600 timeless, classic look that simply makes humans feel secure and grounded.  It is almost as if the look, the feel, even the smell of real wood is somehow imprinted on human DNA. Humans simply respond well to wood.  So perhaps it would be a good idea to skip all the make-believe wannabes and stick with the real thing.

Real wood siding comes in a wide variety of wood types and styles, enough to fill the needs of virtually any homeowner.  Some of the styles available in wood include hand-cut shakes, machine-cut shingles, clapboard and solid wood, plus many other choices.”  

Wood choices for siding are varied and include pine, spruce, and fir which are softwoods and are relatively economical options. In addition, there is clapboard materials and plywood options. 

But probably the most common woods when it comes to choosing a wood for siding is cedar and redwood, because these types of wood are decay resistant. While these two woods are far from the least expensive, they do offer several advantages over the other wood products available.

Cedar vs. Redwood – The Pros and Cons

Let’s take a deeper look at cedar as a choice siding option.

Cedar is largely popular because of its grain and rot resistance. Cedar stains easily and displays a warm and rich character. Shakes and shingles are often made with cedar because of its dimensional stability, resistance to swelling, and is less prone to cupping and splitting.

When it comes to clapboards cedar is a popular choice, too, although clear Grade A cedar can be very costly. Cedar siding is more moisture and insect-resistant than pine, but it needs to be maintained regularly to retain these qualities. Cedar, like any other wood, must be sealed and stained, or even painted, if it is going to resist moisture, damage, and decay. 

Alongside the cedar options there are redwood siding materials.

Redwood is well-known for its rich texture and red-brown tone and is a good choice for siding in any climate. Because redwood naturally resists shrinking, it holds its profile and maintains joints with almost no warping or cupping

Another great quality of redwood is that it possesses very little pitch or resin. Because of this, it absorbs and holds a finish very well and requires less maintenance than some other woods. And, like cedar, it is also naturally insect resistant, not only on the surface, but also throughout the wood. 

The fact is that both materials only differ largely in appearance, durability and availability. 

When it comes to home building projects including siding, redwood has a darker, often more elegant finish than cedar, which tends to offer a warmer and more rustic look. The preference is often determined by the project and the overall style of the home. Regardless of which wood is used, both materials will tend to turn a silver-gray if they are not maintained periodically.

Durability is a bit different between the two, as well. Redwood came out on top in one test that was made by TimberTown in Austin, Texas,

“To determine the hardness of redwood and cedar, we are using the janka hardness test. Redwood – with a janka rating of 450lbs – is about 23% stronger than cedar (janka rating of 350lbs). Whether or not the extra strength is necessary for your project is up to you, but clearly redwood is more durable than cedar in general.”

And, finally, there is the issue of cost and availability.

Nationally, western red cedar is far more available than California redwood. Suppliers produce almost one billion board feet of cedar each year, which makes it easily accessible anywhere in the country. While redwood is quite popular for many projects, especially in the Northwest region of the United States, it can be harder to find in other areas.

It is this availability – or lack of it – that largely determines the cost of cedar and redwood products. But it can be said that, typically, redwood is going to be a bit more expensive. And, if you live in the Mid-West and the East Coast, it may be harder to come by.

Here’s what was listed in a recent siding cost comparison at,

”Redwood: $4-$14 per sq. ft. Very popular softwood in the Western U.S. with moderate rot resistance and less expensive when purchased in the western region. 

Cedar: $3-$10 per sq. ft. This is the most popular siding choice. Western Red and Eastern White are most often used. Cedar is particularly suitable for staining and has the highest rot resistance of all softwoods.”

Your Local Wood Siding Solutions Provider

There are a wide range in quality levels and maintenance requirements in wood siding.  3 Generations Improvements is a full-service siding contractor and we have installed all types of wood siding. Below, please find information about LP SmartSide Engineered wood siding, Boral Siding products, CedarValley Shingles along with raw wood options.