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What Type Of Cedar Fence Should You Construct?

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The process of constructing a fence for your yard or other property can feel overwhelming. From choosing and pricing out materials to determining the appearance and structure of your fence, you may feel you're faced with an endless array of options. There are many good reasons to choose a cedar fence, and narrowing down your choices to this material can help make the rest of your decisions much simpler. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of the various types of cedar fencing to help you make your final decision.

What type of cedar is best?

There are several species of cedar -- although all are durable and attractive, your choice may be swayed by a few criteria.

  • Western Red Cedar

This type of cedar is perhaps the most widely known -- its rich auburn color and piney fragrance makes it the ideal choice for constructing furniture, fencing, and even log cabins. Because these trees thrive near the salty ocean air, their wood is slightly more moisture-resistant than other types of cedar. Over time, the reddish hue will fade to a silvery color. This fading does not indicate that the wood is decaying or needs to be replaced, but is simply a byproduct of the oxidation process (much like the tarnish that forms on silver when exposed to air).

You might choose this cedar if your're planning on constructing a large or oddly-dimensioned fence. Western Red Cedar trees are larger than their Eastern counterparts, making it easier to make long or thick boards.

You might also want to choose Western Red Cedar if you live near the Atlantic Ocean or in another region where this type of cedar is native. Although all cedar is relatively lightweight, when constructing a large fence, the costs to ship or transport this wood can be staggering. Your best bet is to choose the type of cedar that is easily available in your area.

  • Eastern White Cedar and Atlantic White Cedar

These types of cedar are more common on the East Coast and in eastern Canada. Their primary advantage over Western Red Cedar is the local availability and their ability to easily and uniformly absorb paint and stain. In addition to the cost savings, another advantage of "buying local" when it comes to cedar is that these breeds tend to have more natural resistance toward the insects and other pests native to that region.

  • Incense Cedar 

Another West Coast favorite, this cedar is more comparable to redwood in size, appearance, and price. Although all cedar is fragrant, even when treated and used for fencing, incense cedar has a spicy and unusual scent that makes it a great fencing choice for backyards that host parties and other gatherings. 

What type of fencing structure is best?

There are several types of cedar fence available, and the best structure depends on your budget, intended use, and lifestyle.

  • Split rail 

This rustic fence works well for dividing a property line or corralling livestock, and is one of the most inexpensive to construct. However, because of the wide spacing between the rails, it is often not a desirable option if you have outdoor pets or close neighbors.

  • Slat

These fences are slightly more expensive than a split rail fence, and are constructed of thick support posts with thin slats between them. These fences can be constructed to a variety of heights and work well at providing an auditory buffer from noisy neighbors or preventing your pet from escaping.

  • Privacy

The most secluding fence of all, a privacy fence can be constructed with alternating slats that allow you to see out while preventing others from being able to see in. Although privacy fences are more expensive than other types of fencing, they can add to your property's value if you have close neighbors, and allow you to enjoy your own little private backyard hideaway.

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