Three Considerations When Building A Cedar Fence
Cedar is a unique wood for a few different reasons. Cedar has a unique color, the grain stands out well when it weathers, and cedar will stand up well to rot. For these reasons, cedar can make a beautiful fencing material. While choosing to make a fence from cedar is a good idea, you need to make sure that you carefully choose your materials to get the best wear from your fence.
Cedar has natural oils and compounds that help it to resist rot, but these oils can be leached away when the wood is in constant contact with water. Fence posts that are buried in wet soil can rot much faster than the rest of your fence. Pressure-treated wood will resist water-induced rotting much better than cedar and therefore is worth considering for use with a cedar fence. The red color of the pressure-treated lumber should blend well with the colors of a cedar fence, so you shouldn't have to worry about damaging the aesthetics of your fence by using a different kind of wood for the posts.
Heart vs. Sap Wood
The wood that is closest to the outside of the tree is where the tree sap runs. The wood on the inside of the tree is more rigid and more dense with rot-resistant compounds. Thus, if you are looking for fence slats that will hold up to rough wear, you should try to buy heartwood slats whenever possible. They will last much longer than sap wood in rough conditions.
Even though cedar will stand up well to rot, it is not indestructible. After you build your fence, you should treat it with a wood sealer like linseed or tung oil. Both products are natural, so they are not harmful to the environment, and they will complement the natural rot-resistant properties of the cedar. You should also reapply the wood sealer anytime the color of your fence starts to fade.
Cedar is a good building material, but it is also a natural material. As such, cedar is subject to rot. To get the best performance from your fence, you should carefully choose your building materials and maintain them. Re-staining a fence every few years can be a chore, but it is well worth it to enjoy the natural beauty of a cedar fence. If you have your heart set on a wood fence, choose cedar whenever possible.
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