Is Cedar Good for Outdoor Use?

Cedar, a type of softwood from the cedrus genus, has been a popular choice for various applications due to its unique properties. Known for its rich color, pleasant aroma, and excellent durability, cedar has been widely used in many outdoor projects.

Its natural resistance to decay and insects makes it a top choice for outdoor use. But what makes cedar truly stand out for outdoor use? Let’s delve into the details.

Why Cedar for Outdoor Use

Cedar’s inherent properties make it an ideal choice for outdoor use. Even when wet, its resistance to decay and rot is a significant advantage. This is due to the natural oils in cedar wood that act as preservatives, enhancing its resistance to insects and decay.

Durability and Weather Resistance

One of the primary reasons why cedar is highly favored for outdoor use is its exceptional durability. Cedar can withstand various weather conditions, making it a reliable choice for outdoor furniture, decking, and fencing. It’s not just about resisting rot when wet; cedar also stands up well to the sun’s UV rays, preventing it from cracking or warping.

Aesthetics and Comfort

Cedar’s rich, warm color and grain pattern provide a natural, rustic charm that enhances the aesthetics of outdoor spaces. This wood doesn’t just look good; it feels good too. Unlike synthetic materials, cedar never overheats, making it comfortable to touch even under the scorching summer sun.


Cedar is a renewable resource, making it an eco-friendly choice. Using cedar for your outdoor projects means you’re contributing to the sustainability of our environment.


The versatility of cedar is another reason for its popularity in outdoor use. Whether you’re building a deck, a pergola, or outdoor furniture, cedar’s malleability allows for a wide range of designs. Its ability to take stains and finishes well means you can customize its look to match your outdoor decor.

Cedar in Different Climates

Cedar’s performance in various climates is another testament to its suitability for outdoor use. Its ability to withstand different weather conditions is a significant advantage, especially for those living in regions with extreme weather variations.

Cedar in Rain and Snow

Cedar’s resistance to decay comes into play in rainy and snowy conditions. The natural oils in cedar wood repel moisture, preventing the wood from rotting even when exposed to prolonged wet conditions. This makes cedar an excellent choice for outdoor use in areas with high rainfall or snowfall. Can cedar wood stay outside in winter? Absolutely! Its resistance to moisture means it can withstand the harsh conditions of winter without significant damage.

Cedar in Sun

Cedar also performs well under the sun. Unlike some other types of wood, cedar does not easily crack or warp due to the sun’s UV rays. This is due to the tight grain structure of cedar, which helps maintain its shape and integrity even under intense sunlight.

Cedar vs Other Woods

Regarding outdoor use, cedar is often compared to other popular woods such as pine and pressure-treated wood. Let’s see how cedar stacks up against these alternatives.

Cedar vs Pine

Pine is another commonly used wood for outdoor projects. However, it lacks the natural decay resistance that cedar offers. While pine is often cheaper than cedar, it requires more maintenance and doesn’t last as long when exposed to outdoor conditions.

Cedar vs Oak

Oak is a hard, strong wood known for its durability. However, it doesn’t perform as well as cedar in outdoor conditions. Oak lacks the natural oils that give cedar its resistance to moisture and decay. This means that oak furniture left outdoors must be treated regularly to prevent rot and insect damage.

Cedar vs Pressure-Treated Wood

Pressure-treated wood is often used for outdoor projects due to its resistance to insects and decay. However, this resistance is due to chemical treatments, not natural properties of the wood. Over time, these chemicals can leach out, requiring the wood to be re-treated. Conversely, Cedar has natural resistance to decay and insects, making it a more environmentally friendly choice.

Caring for Cedar Outdoor Furniture

Maintaining and caring for your cedar outdoor furniture is essential to prolong its life and keep it looking its best. Here are some tips on how to protect cedar wood outside:

Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning is crucial to prevent the buildup of dirt and grime. Use a soft brush or cloth and a mild soapy solution to clean your cedar furniture. Rinse thoroughly and allow it to dry completely.


Applying a coat of oil can help enhance the cedar’s natural color and provide additional protection against the elements. Use quality wood oil and apply according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


During harsh weather conditions or when not in use, consider covering your cedar furniture or storing it in a shed or garage. This can help to protect it from extreme weather and prolong its life.

Regular Inspection

Regularly inspect your cedar furniture for any signs of damage or wear. Early detection can allow for timely repairs and prevent further damage.

Common Cedar Outdoor Products

Cedar’s durability and aesthetic appeal make it a popular choice for various outdoor products. Here are some common outdoor products made from cedar:

  1. PICNIC TABLE – Amish Solid Red Cedar Outdoor Furniture: This picnic table made from solid red cedar is perfect for family gatherings in the backyard.
  2. SIDE TABLE – Amish Red Cedar Outdoor Patio Furniture: A versatile side table that can complement any outdoor setting.
  3. Cedar Decking: Cedar is a popular choice for decking due to its durability and natural resistance to decay.
  4. Cedar Fencing: Cedar fencing provides privacy and adds a rustic charm to your outdoor space.
  5. Cedar Pergolas: Cedar pergolas are a beautiful addition to any garden, providing shade and a structure for climbing plants.

DIY Cedar Outdoor Projects

Cedar wood is a popular choice for DIY outdoor projects due to its durability, natural resistance to decay, and beautiful color. Here are some project ideas that you can undertake using cedar:

  1. Cedar Birdhouse: A simple yet elegant project that serves as a decorative piece and attracts birds to your garden.
  2. Cedar Garden Trellis: Ideal for climbing plants like vines and roses, a cedar trellis can add a lot of charm to an ordinary garden.
  3. Cedar Patio Pond and Planter: This project combines a regular planter with a water feature, creating a unique focal point for your patio or garden.
  4. Cedar Picnic Table: A more refined picnic table that will fit right in at a dinner party for adults or an afternoon barbecue with the kids.
  5. Cedar Window Planter Box: This is an easy-to-make project that can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your windows.

The Cost of Cedar

When considering the cost-effectiveness of cedar for outdoor use, it’s important to look beyond the initial purchase price. While cedar can be more expensive than other types of wood, its durability and resistance to decay can make it a more cost-effective choice in the long run.

Here are some price points for cedar products:

  1. Cedar Wood Matte Round (6mm, 8mm, 10mm, 12mm) – $4.95
  2. 1/8″ Aromatic Cedar – $10.00
  3. 1/4″ Aromatic Cedar – $10.00
  4. Cedar – 3D Textured Slatwall (set of two 24″ H x 48″ L panels) – $289.00

Please note that prices can vary based on the size, quality, and type of cedar product you purchase. Always compare prices from different suppliers to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.

The Sustainability of Cedar

Cedar is not just a durable and aesthetically pleasing wood; it’s also a sustainable choice. Cedar trees grow relatively quickly and are abundant in many regions, making cedar a renewable resource. Moreover, cedar forests are managed sustainably to ensure a steady supply of wood without causing significant harm to the environment.

Cedar’s natural resistance to decay means it doesn’t require chemical treatments that can harm the environment. And when a cedar product finally reaches the end of its life, it can be composted or recycled, reducing waste and contributing to a circular economy.

Where to Buy Cedar Outdoor Furniture

When it comes to buying cedar outdoor furniture, there are several options available. Here are some online stores where you can find quality cedar outdoor furniture:

  1. Savingshepherd: This online store offers a variety of outdoor cedar furniture, including picnic tables and side tables.
  2. Everything Outdoor World: While not exclusively cedar, this store offers a range of high-quality outdoor furniture.
  3. Sunnydaze Decor: This store offers a variety of outdoor furniture, including teak and cedar options.

Remember, when buying cedar furniture, look for pieces made from solid cedar for the best quality. Check customer reviews and ratings to ensure you buy from a reputable seller. And always compare prices to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Cedar Preservation and Treatment

Preserving and treating cedar for outdoor use is essential in prolonging its life and maintaining its beauty. While cedar is naturally resistant to decay and insects, it can still benefit from additional protection.

To preserve cedar, consider applying a water-repellent preservative. These treatments penetrate the wood and help to repel water, reducing the risk of decay. They also contain a mildewcide to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.

For a more robust treatment, consider using a semi-transparent stain. These stains contain pigments that protect against UV damage, helping to prevent the cedar from turning gray over time. They also offer some water resistance.

Remember, before applying any treatment, it’s important to clean the cedar thoroughly. Use a mild detergent and a soft brush to remove dirt or mildew. Then, let the wood dry completely before applying the preservative or stain.

Common Problems and Solutions

Despite its many advantages, cedar is not without its problems. Here are some common issues and their solutions:

  1. Rotting: While cedar is naturally rot-resistant, it can still occur if the wood is constantly exposed to moisture. To prevent rot, ensure your cedar furniture is not in direct contact with the ground and is not left in standing water. Regularly apply a water-repellent preservative to enhance its resistance to moisture.
  2. Weathering: Over time, cedar can turn a silver-gray color due to exposure to the sun and rain. While some people appreciate this natural patina, others prefer the original wood color. To prevent weathering, apply a UV-blocking stain or sealant.
  3. Cracking and splitting: Cedar can crack and split over time like all woods. This is often due to fluctuations in temperature and humidity. To minimize this, try to keep your cedar furniture out of direct sunlight and avoid drastic changes in humidity.

Disadvantages of Cedar

While cedar is a fantastic choice for outdoor use, it’s important to consider its potential downsides. Here are some disadvantages to keep in mind:

  1. Cost: Cedar can be more expensive than other types of wood. However, its durability and longevity can make it a cost-effective choice in the long run.
  2. Maintenance: Although cedar is naturally resistant to decay and insects, it still requires regular maintenance to keep it looking its best. This can include cleaning, applying a preservative, and re-staining or sealing the wood every few years.
  3. Softness: Cedar is a relatively soft wood, which can be prone to dents and scratches. If your outdoor furniture will be heavily used or will likely take a lot of wear and tear, you might want to consider a harder wood.
  4. Color Changes: Over time, cedar will naturally turn silver-gray when exposed to the elements. While some people appreciate this weathered look, others may not. Regular application of a UV-blocking finish can help to maintain the original color.


Cedar is a popular choice for outdoor use due to its natural resistance to decay, beautiful color, and a pleasant aroma. It’s a durable wood that can withstand the elements, making it ideal for outdoor furniture, decking, and fencing.

However, like all materials, it has its pros and cons. Cedar can be more expensive than other woods and requires regular maintenance to keep it looking its best. It’s also a relatively soft wood, making it prone to dents and scratches.

Despite these potential downsides, many people find that the benefits of cedar outweigh the disadvantages. With proper care and maintenance, cedar can last for many years, making it a worthwhile investment for outdoor space. So, if you’re wondering how long cedar wood lasts outside, with the right care, you can expect it to serve you well for 15 to 20 years or even longer.