Cedar House Siding

The siding of the house is the first thing everyone sees from the outside. It gives a general idea of the house's condition, style and structure. Often, it tells us how the owner takes care of his home, or about the owner's personal style and outlook. If you want your house to have a cozy feeling, then cedar house siding is recommended.

The cedar tree

Cedars are evergreen trees of the genus Cedrus from the pine family, Pineaceae. Young cedar trees start out pyramidal and have gray barks; a fully grown cedar tree has table-like branches, a massive trunk, and deeply furrowed barks. It grows leaves with needlelike projections that often last for three to six years. It bears large, barrel-shaped, resinous cones that are short-stalked.

Why use cedar?

Cedar has developed a reputation as one of the most popular commercial woods available for its many uses. It is a good thermal regulator as a result of the combination of low density and the proliferation of air spaces from cell cavities. People who live in houses with cedar house siding are more likely to use less on heating and air conditioning; as a result, they are able to pay lower electricity bills. Cedar keeps buildings cool during summer and warm during winter. Cedar is less fire-resistant than most woods; it does not help much in the spread of fire and is not known to produce smoke in large amounts. For carpenters, cedar wood is easy to work with: it is easy to be sawn and cut smoothly, nails in cedar last for about one-third longer than those of other wood, and is easily joined together by adhesives.

The benefits of cedar house siding

These properties make cedar house siding useful to homes; it is both strong – being 80% of the strength of oak – and durable. The durability of cedar wood is attributed to natural preservatives in its composition and therefore can resist decay. Native Americans prefer cedar wood for their houses since it has a long lasting effect; some artifacts made out of cedar wood survive for centuries in great condition. It is very resistant to fungi and bacteria; so pest control is the least of your worries. A well-treated wood has a good resistance against the adverse effects of weather; naturally, cedar behaves like any other wood when wet. In the decorative arena, cedar wood gives more of a traditional look to the building or a house.

Red cedar or white cedar?

Before determining which cedar house siding to use, you must first differentiate the two common cedar woods available: red cedar and white cedar. Red cedar comes from the Pacific Northwest. White cedar is native to the Lake Superior area; specifically in northern Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and southern Ontario. The red variety is better for use as cedar house siding as it twists and cracks less.

Install cedar siding

Once you determine the variety of cedar house siding to use, then choose the method of installation of the house siding. There are comes in two ways: by cedar wood logs or by plywood. Log cedar siding is great for those who want their houses to have that rustic feel of the woodlands. You have to use a lot of cedar wood though which corresponds to a bigger budget or more chopping time.

The more popular way is to use cedar plywood. Again, you are confronted with many choices: bevel siding, lap siding, tongue and groove, and board and batten. Bevel siding is the overlap of the plywood on one side similar to toppled side-by-side dominoes. The process starts at the bottom where a furring strip is set up to support the lower edge of the first plywood. Overlap the next plywood over the first by an inch, leaving about 1/8 inch for expansion as wood expands during rain. Your contractor should be careful on not nailing the overlap area.

Tongue and groove siding is best if you want to secure the wall from further damage brought by weather. This process requires grooves to be carved at one side and a 'tongue' at the opposite. In the horizontal method, start at the bottom; the tongue should face upwards and the groove downwards. Work the next level upwards by inserting the tongue of the bottom siding to the groove to the next siding. On the other hand, the vertical method requires one to start at a corner of the wall sideward. Same as the first, the groove of the second siding should attach to the tongue of the first.

Lap siding is similar to bevel siding, only that a 'lap' is to be carved out. To attach, the corners of the succeeding sidings should be attached to the laps of the previous sidings. A small space shall be reserved for further expansion. This method can work horizontally or vertically.

Board and batten sidings are relatively easy to install. One must first nail the boards to the wall, side by side. The contractor should not nail at the edges because the battens are to be attached there. Battens are thin pieces of wood that traverse the edges of two boards; the batten should be not too thin as it acts as an overlap between two pieces of plywood.

Though cedar is durable, maintenance of the wood is needed to maintain the long-lasting effect. Maintenance shall be done every four to nine years, depending of the quality of the wood.

Prices of cedar siding is around $5 for a minimum of 240 pieces. Rates vary according to thickness and quality of the wood.

Some friendly help

More information of cedar house sidings is available at the website of Western Red Cesar Siding Association or you can contact your local wood siding contractor for more details on getting the best wood available for your home.