Cedar Vs Pressure Treated Wood: When To Use Which Wood?

Cedar Vs Pressure Treated Wood

Cedar and pressure treated wood are two of the most popular for both indoor and outdoor projects. Their excellent weather-resistant ability makes them a great choice for decks, fences, and furniture. But which one is better between the Cedar Vs Pressure Treated Wood?

Cedar and Pressure Treated Wood have some minor differences, such as Cedar looks more beautiful due to its tight grains and availability of different colors. Pressure Treated woods, on the other hand, are a little bit stiffer, which gives them better weather resistance ability. It is also a budget-friendly option.

But that’s not all. Cedar and Pressure Treated Woods have several other differences. These factors make them suitable for different usage. Let’s find out the differences between cedar and pressure-treated woods, with recommendations at the end on which will be a better option for you.

Cedar Vs Pressure Treated Wood: Quick Comparison Chart

FeaturesCedarPressure Treated Wood
Weather resistanceGoodExcellent
Chemical propertiesNaturalUnhealthy
InstallationEasierRequire serious efforts
Durability20 to 25 years10 to 15 years
Resale valueHighLow

Cedar Vs Pressure Treated Wood: Key Differences

Although both the pressure treated and cedar wood can be great choices for decks or any other outdoor construction, their differences make them suitable for different usage. Let’s find out the key differences between cedar vs pressure-treated:

1. Weather resistance

Weather resistance of the woods is essential as you will most likely use them outdoors. Wood usually does not perform quite well in a humid environment.

But both the Cedar and Pressure Treated Wood is made to withstand damp weather. However, the pressure treatment of the pressure-treated woods makes them sturdier and less susceptible to rot.

The pressure treated wood requires some maintenance. If you can do that, they will perform better than Cedar against moisture or even hot weather.

Not to mention, Cedar looks beautiful but may fade over time if direct sunlight hits the wood.

Overall, I think pressure treated wood has a better weather-resistant ability. But the chemical properties of the Cedar also perform well in bad weather.

2. Appearance

The appearance of the wood will show your taste in aesthetics to the guests. Plus, it’s always a dream to have a beautiful-looking wooden deck or fence around my house.

Due to the high-pressure treatment, the pressure treated wood does not look much good. During the treatment process, it creates a lot of tiny holes in the lumber to ensure the penetration of different chemicals. This way, the pressure treated wood loses its natural beauty and is not good-looking.

If you prefer a natural wood look and prioritize aesthetics, then Cedar is the best choice for you. Its grains are straight and tight giving Cedar a beautiful finishing. Whether you want to build a deck, fence, or any other furniture, Cedar wood will offer the best look.

3. Chemical properties

Both of these woods have some chemical components inside them. Copper is the main chemical component that helps pressure treated woods to avoid rot and decay.

However, the existence of copper and ammonia components makes pressure treated wood a little bit unhealthy to work with. They also smell bad, but not too much.

Avoid inhaling the gas from the wood if you are going for DIY. The good thing is that all the harmful effects will vanish after a few days of using the furniture or decks.

On the other hand, Cedarwood doesn’t include such harmful chemicals. Instead, they have phenols to protect the wood from rot and decay. It makes a nice odor, and that’s why people often use cedar for making furniture or home improvement tools and equipment.

4. Installation

If you are hiring a professional, you may not need to worry about the installation process. But if you are going DIY, then you need to find the one that is easy to work with.

Cedar is softwood and quite easy to work with to make furniture or decks. You can easily cut them and put screws effortlessly.

Pressure Treated Wood is also softwood but relatively harder due to its pressure treatment. Therefore, you may need to put some extra effort while working with pressure treated wood.

5. Maintenance

Pressure Treated wood is treated with different chemical properties to protect it from moisture. That’s why they require good maintenance to stay in good condition. Yearly sealing and restraining are usually required for pressure treated wood.

Cedar has natural elements that protect it from harsh conditions and keep the wood good for a long time. Therefore it doesn’t require much maintenance like the pressure treated wood. Regular cleaning and inspection with sealing every few years are enough for Cedar.

6. Durability

Another benefit of Cedar’s natural components is that it makes the wood extremely durable. It can withstand a great deal of bad weather and treatment and provides long-lasting performance.

Depending on the environment and maintenance, Cedar decks can easily serve for more than 20 to 25 years. Cedar furniture may even last longer.

The chemicals in pressure treated wood also make it highly durable, but the wood is susceptible to warp and crack.

Still, the pressure treated wood decks and furniture will easily last for more than ten years.

7. Price

The Cedar vs pressure-treated wood cost is another essential factor that affects the purchase decision. Cedar wood relatively costs higher than pressure treated wood.

Both of these woods have different price levels. Premium cedar woods without any cosmetic defects usually cost higher. Other normal cedar wood comes at a lower price but is still expensive compared to pressure treated.

The price varies depending on locations and availability. One of the reasons why pressure treated woods are cheaper is because they are widely available. Still, it’s best to ask your local dealers for the price in your location.

8. Resale value

If you are buying wood for business purposes, then you may want to know about the possibility of profit or resale value.

In this case, you will get a better return on investment in cedar woods. As the pressure treated woods cost lower, their dollar values don’t increase much.

Related: Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Wood? The Modern Genre of Wood Painting

Cedar Vs Pressure-Treated Wood: When to Use Which Wood

I have discussed quite a few differences between Cedar and Pressure Treated Woods. Due to their differences, they are suitable for different projects.

Here are some recommendations for the most common usage of woods:

a) Decks

The deck is one of the major areas of houses, and I always want it to look beautiful.

In my opinion, Cedar is a better option for decks as it looks more beautiful than pressure treated wood. Although cedar costs higher, a cedar wood deck is completely worth the money.

Cedar needs to be dry, and that’s why use it on high-up decks. But if the deck is close to ground or grass, it’s better to go for pressure treated wood as it deals with wet grass and soil better.

b) Fence

I also like to have beautiful woods around my house or my garden. But durability is a key factor here. Woods in fences are connected to the soil, and not all woods can handle it well.

The pressure treated wood has better durability when connected to the ground. That’s why I prefer to use pressure treated wood for fencing. Pressure treated woods can last around 40 years when in contact with the ground.

But Cedar looks beautiful, and that’s why you also can consider Cedar for a fence. You may ask how long does cedar last in the ground? The Cedar wood lasts around 15 to 20 years when in contact with the ground.

c) Furniture

Aesthetics is a big factor in making furniture. That’s why I think Cedar is the best option for making furniture for its stylish and beautiful appearance. Cedar furniture can instantly improve the look of any home.

Best Alternatives to Cedar and Pressure Treated Wood

If you are open to alternatives, I have some excellent options for you:

a) Redwood

Redwood is the best alternative to Cedar and pressure treated woods. It is also pest resistant and will last decades under proper maintenance. When you compare redwood vs cedar vs pressure-treated, all of them are more or less the same.

The only drawback is that redwoods only grow in old forests, which are not easily renewable. That means it is not an eco-friendly option.

b) Douglas fir

The creamy yellow to brown hues with fine grain, Douglas fir is one of the most attractive woods that you can consider using instead of cedar or pressure-treated.

It’s an excellent natural timber with long durability. Douglas fir work is fantastic for making furniture, building decks, and fences.

c) Composite materials

Composite materials are eco-friendly as they are made of recycled materials. They don’t require much maintenance and also last longer than most woods.

The only problem with composite materials is that they cost higher than pressure treated and cedar woods.

FAQs: Pressure Treated Wood vs Cedar

Do you need to seal pressure treated wood?

Answer: You need to seal pressure treated wood to protect it from moisture and rot. Wait a few weeks after construction to seal pressure treated wood. Then seal the wood once a year to keep it in good condition longer.

Is pressure treated wood safe for vegetable gardens?

Answer: Although the pressure treated wood include some unhealthy components, they are not effective when you seal or paint the woods.

It’s completely safe for vegetable gardens and all other kinds of usage. If you are making garden fences or beds, pressure treatment is one of the best options.

Does cedar need to be sealed?

Answer: Cedar has a natural resistance to rot and decay. That’s why it is always not necessary to seal Cedar wood.

However, it may look good for around 5 years and then start to rot. That’s why sealing is a safe option for Cedar.

How do you keep cedar from turning GREY?

Answer: Cedar can turn Grey if direct sunlight hits the wood daily. You must seal the Cedar wood with a stain that blocks ultraviolet light. It will protect the Cedar from sunlight and prevent the wood from turning Grey.

Can you leave cedar deck untreated?

Answer: You can leave Cedar deck untreated if you want to enjoy the aroma that comes from the wood.

However, decks are susceptible to different weather conditions, especially sunlight and rain. They can cause color fading or wood rotting. It won’t be wise to leave a cedar deck untreated.

Final Verdict: Which is better?

This was all about the differences between Cedar Vs Pressure Treated Wood. Cedar has a beautiful appearance, and pressure-treated are easy to work with.

If budget is your concern, pressure treated wood is the best option as it comes at a lower price. Cedar is a good option for you if you value aesthetics.

Pressure Treated and Cedar wood have some differences, but they are pretty close, and both perform almost the same. In short, it depends on your personal preferences and which wood you want for your home.

About Adam Larry

Hello everyone! I’m Adam Larry, a pro woodworker, an expert project planner, and woodworking tools expert also owner of this website. From hand tools to power tools, I have extensive knowledge of all aspects of woodworking and take pride in creating beautiful and functional pieces for clients. I feel glad to share my woodworking experience with you with enormous excitement and enthusiasm.

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