cedar grades
Choosing the right grade of cedar

The character of a structure and the image desired by the architect, builder or homeowner is portrayed in the exterior appearance of that building. When choosing the grade of cedar boards to be used, it is important that the product selected meets the requirements of your project's specifications. Western Red Cedar siding is available in a wide range of patterns and grades to complement any architectural design.

Clear siding is mainly an appearance grade, and is used for a more prestigious, upscale look. Because of its superior quality and appearance, clear grade cedar is less available and, therefore, more expensive. Lengths are limited to what is cut at the mill, with the bulk of clear siding delivered on a typical order in the medium range of 6 ft. to 12 ft.

Knotty siding is very popular in today's homes and offices because it provides the charm and warmth of a vacation cabin or cottage, where knotty cedar has long been used. It's more readily available and costs less than clear cedar. Lengths of knotty siding are generally 3 ft. to 20 ft., with approximately 94% of your order being 6 ft. or longer.


The grade should determine the finish

When having a factory finish applied to your cedar lumber, it is important to select the right finish for the grade being used.

Semi-transparent finishes are one-coat applications, which retain the color variations and grain patterns of the cedar. Semi-transparent finishes may need to be reapplied within one and a half to two years after factory finishing, depending on the exposure to weather.

Solid finishes cover the true color of the cedar but allow its texture and natural characteristics to show through. A one coat, solid factory finish application on a smooth product is considered a prime coat only. A second (and possibly third) coat may be needed to achieve the desired finished appearance. Solid finishes, particularly a two-coat application, offer more longevity between refinishing.

The finish should fit the grade of cedar being used. Don’t select smooth, clear cedar then cover its grain and color with solid stain. Use a rougher grade and save money. Solid stain adheres better to a rough grade anyway.


Clear Grades of Western Red Cedar
A Clear
THUMBNAIL OF SIDING This is a fine appearance grade that allows only slightly more growth characteristics than Clear Heart. Pieces are of mixed grain. These mixed grain (vertical and flat) pieces are graded from the surfaced face.

* Available solid wood or finger-joined

Knotty Grades of Western Red Cedar
Select Knotty*
THUMBNAIL OF SIDING Knots and other natural features define the visual character of knotty sidings. In Select Knotty grade, knots are sound and tight. Available rough or dressed, kiln-dried or unseasoned and smooth or saw textured. Some companies may supply this grade with knots glued on the reverse face.

*Shipments of Select Knotty grade siding usually specify a percentage of Quality knotty grade pieces.