Nothing matches the timeless beauty of Redwood and Cedar Siding. Most modern architecture incorporates some element of wood in its design. Modern designs can wrap the entire home, letting the beauty of the wood become its own design element, while some may only use wood for the entry way or soffits as an accent.
Choosing a suitable wood for the exterior of your home or commercial store front can be challenging. Some of the considerations you will want to look at are the species, thickness, length, durability, color, price and up-keep.
There are several species of wood suitable for exterior building applications. The most rot resistant of the species are Redwood and Cedar. Both of these species have excellent rot resistance, are very stable, and are readily available. Secondary species that you may find on the market are Alaskan Yellow Cedar and Douglas Fir. While Douglas Fir is the most widely available wood for exterior applications, it is not a naturally rot resistant wood and will have to be sealed every two years to keep it from failing prematurely. Alaskan Yellow Cedar is a good bet but not widely available in the lower 48 states. Avoid any pine products as they are not suitable for the exterior of a building.
The thickness for exterior applications will also need to be considered. We suggest a minimum of ¾” thickness and no wider than 6” for optimal performance. We’ve found that ¾” thick is an optimal dimension when considering ease of installation, durability, cost of installation and cost of material. A 6” face width minimizes the possibility of unsightly cupping. Interior redwood siding is different. It can be as thin as 1/2″ because it is not exposed to the elements.
Length is also an important factor. When you are installing wood as siding, you want medium lengths, not long or short. Lengths in the middle range are easier to handle, will create less waste, and will create an aesthetically pleasing pattern on the side of your house. Lengths from 6’-10’ are optimal.
All woods were not created equal in terms of durability! Redwood and Cedar are the most durable species of them all because of naturally occurring pest repellents the wood. Redwood also has very good rot resistance because of high levels of tannic acids that keep decay and bugs away. Up-keep for Redwood or Cedar siding is minimal because of these properties. Many people that install this type of siding do not preserve the wood at all, allowing it to naturally fade to a grey color after a few years. That weathered silver driftwood look is very desirable.
Both Cedar and Redwood are stunning to look at when freshly installed. They have very rich colors, ranging from deep reds in Redwood to subtle browns in the case of Cedar. If you want to preserve those colors, you will need to apply a wood preservative that has UV blocking properties. Cabot’s Timber oil is a good option and can be found in most big box home stores.
Typical 1×6 Redwood that has been graded, dried properly and milled for siding will cost around $15.49 per Square Foot. Cedar is a more affordable choice at $11.95 per Square Foot.