Western red cedar

Cedar Cladding | British western red cedar shiplap | VSL2

British western red cedar shiplap | VSL2

The majority of western red cedar cladding seen in this country is imported from North America and Canada. However, British Western red cedar has been grown in our woodlands for over one hundred years and the mature trees are available for conversion. As North American cedar becomes increasingly expensive, our British cedar offers a significantly cheaper alternative and avoids the substantial environmental impact of shipping American timber to the UK.

The durability of cedar cladding results from the naturally occurring thujaplicins which create its distinctive aroma and which are toxic to fungi. Studies at Imperial College London have shown that British-grown western red cedar is equally as durable as imported cedar.

Freshly cut or machined, British western red cedar has frequent small- to medium-sized dark knots and an amber colouring which, if left untreated, will bleach to a silver colour. It is faster grown than imported cedar and therefore softer and, unlike most other coniferous softwoods, does not contain any resin so can take a range of paints, oils and stains.

Western red cedar cladding is the most popular choice for untreated cladding because of its excellent durability, stability and volume to weight ratio. It is the most stable of all softwoods, with a very low tendency to shrink, warp, twist or check.

The low density of cedar has many benefits. The wood is very light, which makes it easy to move and install while the open cell structure gives the wood excellent thermal and acoustic properties. However, Western red cedar is a relatively soft and brittle wood, which can easily be damaged if knocked or scraped.

Technical specifications

Family Cupressaceae
Species Thuja plicata
Other common names Cedar
Provenance Legal and well-managed forests in England.
Location External use only
Profiles Feather edge, square edge & all machined profiles
Dimensions Profiles – 20 x 95, 20 x 120mm, 20 x 145mm
Lengths 2.0mt – 3.7mt. The majority of boards will be 3.6mt
Moisture content Air dried – 16 – 20%
Durability BS EN 350 Durable (heartwood only)
Weight Approximately 390KG / M3 when dried
Shrinkage Fresh sawn: less than 0.5% along the length. Between 5% and 7% across the section.
Air dried: Negligible.
Resistance to impact Very low
When to fix Air dried: year round. Fresh sawn: September to March
Appearance Freshly cut or machined British western red cedar has a pink to amber colouring with frequent dark knots. As the boards weather, the colour will change to a silver-grey patina.
Grading Knotty
Surface finish Machined smooth & sawn
Working properties Works well but knots can come loose and cause problems for fixings. The wood is very soft and can tear and bruise easily. Takes finishes and stains well.
Chemical properties The natural oils in western red cedar have a corrosive effect on ferrous metals, so care should be taken to select galvanized or stainless steel fixings which are non-corrosive.
Fire treatment Pressure impregnation not possible. Be careful of ferrous content in paint on treatments.
Further information Trada Technology.
While the utmost care has been taken to provide accurate information, Vastern Timber shall not be held responsible for any consequences arising from any errors or omissions on this website nor for any damages resulting from the use of the information.

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