Cedar VS. Pine
Cedar Versus Pine
Why is Northern White Cedar better than Pine for building a log home?
The numbers speak for themselves. Northern White Cedar (NWC) outranks Pine in every category related to building a log home. Cedar Direct Log Homes only uses NWC for their log home packages.
When making such a large investment for you and your family, you should choose the best product for your log home. No two log homes are equal. Let’s take a look at those reasons.
Northern White Cedar Education 101
- Energy Efficiency – Log homes, in general, are 30% more energy efficient than traditionally framed homes when properly built. NWC has the highest R-value of any other wood used in home construction. Cedar has a 26% higher R-value per inch than the average pine log. Wood’s thermal resistance or resistance to heat flow is measured by its R-value. The higher the R-value, the more thermal resistance.
- Cedar R-value vs. Pine 26% 26%
2. Longevity – The cedar tree is well known as the symbol of endurance, eternal life, and immortality. Ancient civilizations, particularly Egyptians, used cedar resin to mummify their dead. Cedar sawdust was discovered in pharaohs’ tombs. The wood speaks for itself, and we want you to have peace of mind when making such a large investment.
Cedar fence posts have been known to last 50-60 years or more, while Pine typically lasts 3-7 years untreated when in contact with the ground. Here is the question to ask yourself…why would you build an entire home from a wood species such as Pine when you are not allowed to build a deck using that wood unless it has been chemically treated like pressure-treated decking lumber? The national building code dictates that only Cedar, Cypress, and Redwood are permitted to be used for the construction of decks without chemical treatment.
3. Moisture Content – The amount of moisture, or water, in a log directly impacts the construction of your new log home. Pine logs naturally hold much more water than Cedar while growing on the stump. Northern White Cedar has the lowest moisture content of any wood specie on the stump in North America.
Without kiln drying a Pine log, you cannot use it in log home construction. The moisture in the log would create severe twisting, settling, and cracking in the logs, not to mention the bug larvae that could be inside the log. The kiln quickly forces the moisture from a Pine log and attempts to kill all the larvae.
Cedar logs are naturally air-dried for approximately six months. After such time, the moisture content is roughly 14-16%. For comparison, furniture-grade wood typically has 8-12% moisture content. Not only do our logs dry naturally, but there is also no risk of harming the molecular structure of the log by kiln drying quickly in high heat.
Pine has twice the moisture content than cedar, so there is no choice but to dry the log using a kiln. Even with kiln-drying Pine logs tend to absorb moisture when exposed to their natural environment, which defeats the purpose of drying the logs with a kiln. Also, the kiln’s heat cannot always reach the center of the log, leaving a potential for disaster if wood-boring insects lie dormant inside your Pine logs before construction.
Cedar is naturally impervious to wood-boring insects, which we will discuss next.
Average Moisture Content of Cedar Naturally Air Dried
4. Rot & Insect Resistant – Northern White Cedar contains natural oils called Thujaplicins in the heartwood. This makes Cedar naturally resistant to rot, decay, mold, mildew, and wood-boring insects. This eliminates the necessity of treating your dream log home with harsh chemicals.
Northern White Cedar log homes need not be treated with chemicals inside or outside of the logs. The only reason treatment would be recommended is to preserve the color on the exterior logs of the home from the sun or Ultraviolet exposure. They will naturally turn grey like a Cedar-shake shingle left untreated over time. Most of our customers chose to apply an exterior stain to the logs, log siding, and fascia to maintain a uniform color on the exterior.
5. Sustainability – Northern White Cedar is a renewable resource making it naturally sustainable. Although Cedar has the lowest moisture content of all species on the stump in North America, the tree grows in the swamps of Northern Maine and Eastern Canada.
NWC trees naturally reseed themselves eliminating the need to plant seedlings each time trees are harvested.
Cedar Direct uses only second-growth trees giving the younger trees time to mature. Pine plantations in the southern part of the US produce pine trees for harvest quickly, but they require an inordinate amount of resources to reseed, fertilize, and destroy stumps for the new plants. Pine also requires herbicides and insecticides to maintain a healthy crop. None of this is necessary with Cedar.
6. Costs Compared to Pine – Most customers assume our Cedar log home packages cost more than the traditional White Pine log home package. They are pleasantly surprised to realize our packages are comparable to White Pine prices and, in many cases, even lower.
Cedar Direct also includes Cedar for all interior tongue & groove included in our log home packages at NO ADDITIONAL charge. Most Cedar companies include Pine for the interior tongue & groove, and they charge the consumer more for Cedar. We find this simply ridiculous. Check out our log home package materials list or request a custom quote today to begin building your dream Cedar log home.