Cedar wood delivers a myriad of natural beauty and numerous valuable benefits needed in woodwork. As such, it is mostly used in constructing buildings, furniture. and other fixtures around the house.
While the lumber is durable and strong for crafting various projects, it is not a hardwood. Usually, Cedar trees are classified as softwood because they come from a gymnosperm species that does not flower.
But still, Cedar wood is stronger than other wood species in their group. Further, since it is common for flooring projects, let us look at reasons for this preference: Why Cedar Wood for Flooring?
Cedar flooring gives your home an attractive rustic appeal. It also allows you to choose from various unique species with colors ranging from cooler white hues to warm red tones.
Cedar Wood adds character to your floor, including pinholes, knots, and very prominent grain. Moreover, thanks to the lumber’s reduced density, it is more flexible, and easy to install than hardwoods. So, you’re less worried about damaging the boards when installing it over minor defects in the subfloor.
Cedar flooring has low bending qualities and high resistance to shock loads. Additionally, it is immune to rot and insect attract and does not warp or break due to shock loads.
There’s so much to learn about Cedar wood and its suitability for flooring. Moreover, it is prudent to know what the wood is and attributes that make woodworkers consider it for the project. Thus, read this write-up till the end for more insight.
What Is Cedar Wood?
Cedar wood is a conifer tree product used in construction. It is widely available and thus used by people in multiple fields including interior designers, architects, builders, and contractors.
The lumber at first glance reminds you of Cedar trees and gives you a natural feel. It also repels bugs and features anti-fungal properties, guaranteeing a lovely look for both interior and exterior projects.
You can install Cedar wood with other material or against stone for contrast. But no matter your choice, the wood lasts longer and offers unbeatable quality. It is the perfect choice for homes with high foot traffic.
The wood also has a natural resistance to deterioration. It features natural preservatives to remain immune from the elements. As a result, Cedar projects are durable even in harsh climatic conditions.
Cedar wood’s cell open structure makes it less dense than other softwoods. Thus, it is less dense and easier to move from place to place. Better still, the lumber features an even grain and consistent density, so it’s less likely to cup, warp, swell, or twist.
Nevertheless, the Cedar wood varieties have significant differences. You’ll notice different traits and suitability for varying applications.
Interestingly, Cedar wood is not one specific lumber species. It is a group of woods from multiple trees, with similar properties and uses. They also have a similar scent, making Cedar chests so appealing.
Popular Cedar wood types include Eastern Red Cedar, Western Red Cedar, Eastern White Cedar, Spanish Cedar, and Alaskan Yellow Cedar.
Uses of Cedar Wood
This lumber is famed for its lovely scent. Besides, it has more attributes that are as useful as this aromatic quality. For instance, Cedar wood has natural preservatives and an even wood grain, making it excellent for crafting everything from guitars, to roof shingles, to wood floors.
Usually, a given Cedar type is better in specific applications than others. You’ll also find one wood variety useful in multiple applications. Below are the primary purposes of most Cedar woods.
- Closets and Clothing Storage
One famous use for Cedar is in clothing storage furnishings like chests, wardrobes, and trunks. The wood is naturally aromatic and has thujaplicin, a natural antifungal and antibacterial compound.
Some Cedar wood types, such as Spanish Cedar and True Cedar have insect-repellent properties to protect clothes. Further, although the lumber appears as interior panels and serves as a liner, some Cedar varieties like the Eastern Red Cedar are sturdy enough for furniture building.
- Musical Instruments and Paneling
The Western Red Cedar has resonant attributes that marry with its stability and low-density, making it useful in carving musical instruments. Additionally, the wood is resistant to cracking and warping and guarantees longevity to your wood stringed instruments.
These properties also make the wood perfect for interior paneling in corridors and rooms. As such, you don’t need additional decoration to these spaces, thanks to Cedar’s beautiful appearance.
Cedar is popular for making shingles for roofs and walls. It is soft and easy to split, an essential feature for fixing wood shingles. Moreover, the lumber’s antifungal characteristics make it resistant to rot.
Cedar wood is also light, meaning that the wood shingles will not increase the load of a wall or roof. Better still, its insulating properties guarantee moisture resistance. But keep the project from extreme moisture exposure lest it gives in.
- General Uses
Most Cedar wood types share three primary attributes. They are softwood and similar to pine in times of Janka hardness. Also, the wood is stable and not susceptible to expansion or shrinking due to fluctuating moisture and temperature levels or cracking.
The above combination makes Cedar easy to work with and reliable in numerous woodworking applications, such as furniture, decking, siding, fencing, and boat building. Better still, the lumber is noted for its aromatic properties.
Advantages of Cedar Wood
Cedar is an impressive wood with numerous properties that make it suitable for your woodworking needs. But remember, each Cedar wood type’s characteristics are impacted by where and how it has grown. So, we have significant variation between Cedar wood from different countries and altitudes.
Below are the primary advantages of using the wood.
- Acoustic Properties
Cedar is often used in acoustic guitars and violins. It has excellent acoustic characteristics which absorb sounds and reduce vibrations. Further, this property is beneficial in spaces where sounds can be dampened.
Cladding an area with cedar provides a soundproofing layer and guarantees a quiet and private space. Thus, the wood is ideal for auditoriums and music rooms.
With proper engineering, Western Red Cedar meets various accounting ratings and requirements for internal architectural designs. Better still, its open cellular structure absorbs and dissipates sounds.
- Aesthetic Qualities
The natural coloring of most Cedar wood types is highly aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The lumber is rich with crisp colors and tonal attributes, which liven up traditional home doctors, inspire creative architectural designs, and remodel outdoor spaces.
Cedar wood has a beautiful, rich, woody smell, with a light citrus note. In addition, you’ll recognize the smell immediately as it often reminds people of cigar boxes, saunas, or sharpening a pencil.
- Oil Content
Cedar is so oily that people harvest the oil and use it for essential oils and perfumes. Woodworkers apply this oil retroactively to wooden surfaces to protect them from the elements.
Although the lumber can bow, twist, or warp, protecting it with oil minimizes its movement through fluctuating environmental pressures. Also, oiled wood delivers a higher gloss than non-oiled ones.
- Natural Pest Deterrent
Cedar wood is naturally resistant to mold and pests than lumber types with less scent and oil. Pests make timber visually unappealing and structurally unsafe. Worse still, they are a health hazard.
Therefore, Cedar gives its users an advantage since it won’t suffer from pests, mold, and fungi.
- Light Weight
Cedar wood boasts of a low density. Therefore, it is among the lightest lumber options that are readily available. But still, the wood is strong and durable enough for various woodworking projects.
Cedar offers unrivaled dimensional stability. For example, Western Red Cedar has an Australian Durability Rating of 2 and is resistant to warping, shrinking, and cupping. Moreover, it lasts long without any coating, thanks to its naturally occurring preservatives.
The oil content in the wood also makes it more water resistant than other drier types of lumber. However, Cedar is still prone to water damage with consistent and extended exposure.
Cedar is a sustainable building material as it can be regrown and captures carbon from the atmosphere. Please note, woods should be certified as being sustainably grown. This means that they are harvested responsibly from managed forests to minimize depletion chances.
Cedar wood provides natural building products that are superior to synthetic ones. It is both user and environmentally friendly.
- Easy to Work With
The ease of working with any wood type depends on its natural attributes. For instance, lumber with multiple dead knots has an unappealing aesthetic look and changes in the grain direction. Hence, it easily tears out and is difficult to plane.
Thankfully, Cedar wood has a regular texture and a straight grain. In addition, a decent cedar board section is perfect for woodworking.
- Fire Protection
Western Red Cedar wood is perfect for various projects due to its limited flame spread and fire-hazard prevention properties. As a result, the lumber is highly suitable for residential and commercial interiors as it exceeds minimum fire safety requirements.
Disadvantages of Cedar Wood
Although Cedar wood has multiple positive attributes, it has some disadvantages. They are as follows
- Prone to Bruising
Cedar wood dents, scratches, and bruises easily due to its lower density grain. So, the lumber is not ideal for surfaces exposed to high traffic. However, you can reverse or protect against some of these issues by steaming the defects briefly or applying a hard wearing finish.
All lumber projects need consistent care and maintenance. Further, some species need more attention than others to remain in good shape. Otherwise, you’ll have to conduct more significant repairs.
The maintenance type depends on the purpose of the Cedar and its surrounding environment. For example, indoor projects need less care and maintenance than outdoor ones.
Wood exposed to direct sunlight, water, and significant temperature fluctuations needs more rigorous maintenance schedules. The techniques range from re-applying paints, finishes, or oils to replacing damaged boards.
Cedar is hard to identify, especially for newbies in the woodworking industry. Hence, it is easy to be manipulated into buying another wood type. Moreover, despite the botanical definitions of Cedar wood, you may confuse it for another species from the Cypress family.
What Is Wood Flooring?
Generally, wood flooring is any permanent floor type with a wood appearance, whether made from synthetic or natural lumber. Further, wood is a versatile flooring material with numerous colors, styles, and species.
However, we have two primary types of wood flooring: Solid and engineered wood. Solid wood flooring comes from solid lumber planks, whereas engineered wood flooring features lumber veneers over a synthetic underlayment made of another material.
- Solid Hardwood Flooring. This flooring type comprises solid, wide hardwood planks fitted together using the tongue and groove joint. It is the longest-lasting flooring type but also the most pricey.
The floor is susceptible to warping from high humidity and does not do well in high moisture of a home or the ground floor. Further, you need to sand down the surface every few years to keep it looking good.
- Engineered Hardwood Flooring. This flooring version involves laying a top wood layer over a subfloor, mostly made of multiple wood veneers or synthetic materials like concrete. It is cheaper than its solid counterpart and holds up better against high humidity and moisture content.
However, the floor is not completely water resistant and fails with extreme moisture exposure. Worse still, it cannot be sanded or refinished to retain a lovely look.
There are a few considerations to make when installing wood flooring in your home. They include:
- Hardness. Wood flooring durability and success is determined using the Janka hardness metric. Hardwoods like Hickory and Brazilian cherry have a higher rating than softer woods like Douglas Fir and Cherry and are better suited for areas with heavy foot traffic and furniture.
Harder lumber is also less prone to denting and scuffing. Further, synthetic wood flooring like vinyl and laminate flooring is less durable and easily damaged than natural wood.
- Humidity and Moisture Resistance. Any solid wood flooring option is significantly more susceptible to humidity, heat, and moisture damage than engineered surfaces. You need to account for wood expansion and temperature fluctuations to keep it from warping.
- Photosensitivity. The wood’s color changes when exposed to direct sunlight, including filtered light coming in through your windows. Therefore, choose a lumber type with low photosensitivity if the floor gets a lot of direct sunlight.
Cherry wood is the most photosensitive wood type for wood flooring. So, avoid it for rooms getting a lot of direct sunlight.
Is Cedar Too Soft for Flooring?
Cedar is not too soft for flooring and guarantees a satisfactory floor project. Moreover, although the wood is softwood, it is not actually soft. It is only called a softwood because it does not flower.
Wood strength is measured with various metrics. But generally, the two primary methods include the lumber’s hardness and comprehensive strength.
Hardness tells how hard the lumber is, meaning how well it resists dents, scratches, and impact. Comprehensive strength, on the other hand, shows how much weight the wood can withstand before cracking or breaking.
Cedar is generally strong with Aromatic Red Cedar featuring a hardness of 900 and comprehensive strength of 6, 020. This is in comparison to Chestnut, a hardwood, which has a hardness of 540 and comprehensive strength of 5, 300.
Due to these ratings, resistance to shock loads and low bending, Cedar wood is preferred for flooring. It is also immune to rot and insect damage, and won’t warp or break under high pressure.
Does Water Damage Cedar Wood Floor?
Water damages Cedar floors since they are considered softwood. Moreover, they are not as dense as hardwoods thus more vulnerable to water damage. Below are several ways how water damages Cedar wood floors.
Cupping refers to when moisture soaks into the floor’s edges, causing the edges to expand and lift up. As such, you are left with a dip along the middle.
This condition is caused by fluctuating moisture levels, whether increases in moisture below or decreases in the air RH. Other reasons include basement plumbing leaks that allow water to move up into the wood flooring or heat from a wood stove that dries the air.
Whatever the cause, this moisture imbalance develops from the floor’s bottom to the top. As a result, each plank adopts a concave shape with pronounced raised edges.
However, minor cupping is a natural reaction to low moisture levels and should not be a concern.
Crowning is typically the opposite of cupping. Moisture settles in the middle of the floor, causing it to bulge upward along the center. Like cupping, the situation occurs because the floor is exposed to moisture imbalances over extended durations.
Crowning also happens due to previous floor cupping. A cupped floor needs time to dry. So, if the surface is sanded when the boards are still cupped, you’ll only sand off the raised board edges.
Lastly, when the surface dries and returns to its normal moisture content, these sanded areas will be lower than the floor’s center.
Buckling of wood floors occurs when the lumber pulls away from its subfloor. Then, it gets raised up to several inches in multiple places. This occurrence is an extreme reaction to moisture and thankfully, does not happen frequently.
Buckling is usually due to flooding and occurs after the floor is submerged in water for a while. But it can also occur due to incorrect nails, improper concrete subfloors construction, insufficient nailing, and failing to use a vapor retarder or barrier.
Also, with glued flooring, buckling occurs because of incorrect mastics, subfloor separations, inadequate mastic transfer, and subfloor contamination.
Moisture imbalances cause problems with lumber flooring. Therefore, homeowners should integrate quality wood moisture meters into the preventive maintenance program.
How to Protect Cedar Wood Floor
Fortunately, there are multiple ways to protect Cedar wood floors. Remember, Cedar is more advantageous than other wood types thanks to its impressive aesthetic and durability characteristics.
Thus, it is prudent to protect the surface and improve its durability, especially for outdoor projects.
- By Using Polyurethane
Polyurethane is an impressive wood formula that delivers dust, water, and dirt-resistant qualities. It works perfectly on Cedar flooring to protect it against harsh environmental conditions.
Materials needed for the project include
- Foam brush
- Mineral spirits
- Stirring stick
- Drop cloth
First, clean the cedar floor properly as any debris or dirt can get trapped after the application. Then, smoothen it using a sanding box or sandpaper to facilitate an even, consistent finish.
Select your preferred polyurethane type and prepare it with the recommended thinner. Remember, oil-based polyurethane uses mineral spirits, whereas water-based types use water.
Avoid shaking the polyurethane can. Instead, use a stirring stick to mix it. Otherwise, you risk having bubbles in the solution, which compromises a quality finish.
Dip the foam brush into the formula and let it drip before applying it to the floor. In addition, use one steady wipe and continue until you cover the entire area. Then, allow the coat to dry.
Finally, sand each coat before adding another, depending on the desired number of coats. You can also use a spray form to apply the last layer, and then allow it to dry depending on the manufacturer’s directives.
- By Using Linseed Oil
This formula is a naturally occurring substance that leaves a clear oily finish after drying. They maintain Cedar’s lovely appearance while guaranteeing superior protection from moisture.
Although linseed oil is not the cheapest Cedar protection strategy it is perfect for surfaces with natural beautiful aesthetics.
The supplies needed for the job include
- Linseed oil
- Mineral spirits
- Clean rag
- Chemical resistant gloves
You need a smooth floor to deliver a satisfactory outcome. Hence, smoothen the surface with a sandpaper block. Start with the coarser grit, moving to the finer ones to cover every spot.
Next, clear off the excess debris and dust with a clean rag soaked in mineral spirits. Further, ensure it is damp, not dripping.
Confirm that your linseed oil does not have petroleum additives. You can prepare the solution yourself by boiling linseed. Next, pour some of it on the floor and rub with a clean cloth in steady circular motions. Continue until you cover the entire area.
Let the surface dry for one to two days before adding another layer. You can also have a third one, depending on your preferences. However, wait for 15 minutes after applying the second coat.
- By Using Coconut Oil
Protect your Cedar flooring by applying coconut oil. It is a deviation from chemical formulas that are unhealthy and dangerous when inhaled over a long time. The oil is also a wood conditioner, keeping it from warping regardless of unfavorable weather conditions.
Pure coconut oil is recommended as it’s free from additives that can harm your cedar flooring.
The materials required for this project include
- Coconut oil
- Clean rag
Start by cleaning the cedar flooring properly to remove any dirt or dust. Work unfinished wood with a sandpaper to smoothen rough areas. This way, you facilitate a more effective and easier application.
Soak the clean rag with the oil and gently rub it on the floor using circular motions. This will work the formula into the wood grain and guarantee a long term effect. Then, allow the finish to dry before stepping on the surface.
- By Using Paint
Painting Cedar flooring changes its color. But this should not be an issue if you want some shine. Furthermore, paint protects floors from harmful UV rays and enhances their lifespan.
However, paint only delivers a little protection against water. Thus, you may want to add a clear coat on the finish.
The supplies needed for a successful outcome are as follows.
- Tack cloth
- Drop cloth
- Rubber glove
First, cover any areas you do not want to paint with plastic sheeting and a drop cloth to protect it from splatters. Then, clean the wood with a cloth dipped in Trisodium Phosphate and water to remove dust, oil, and dirt. Also, smooth the surface using sandpaper and wipe away the dust.
Next, mix and primer the surface using a broiler or brush and ensure it does not look transparent. Allow the primer to dry and sand it lightly with a fine-grit paper.
Use a roller to paint wide and flat areas and a brush for thin or irregular ones. Further, dip more than half the brush into the formula and rub on the wood in straight and steady motions.
Keep a wet brush edge to prevent lap marks. In addition, sand the first paint coat to eliminate bumps and air spaces. But sand the surface gently to avoid chopping the finish off.
Lastly, apply a second paint coat for a cleaner and more durable finish. Then, leave the surface to dry for a few hours before using or exposing it to moisture and dust.
- By Using Olive Oil And Lemon
Although this mixture sounds like something you only make in the kitchen, it is perfect for protecting your Cedar flooring from outdoor damage. Moreover, it is a natural and safe alternative for people who want environmentally friendly products.
Olive oil and lemon polish the wood, hence increasing its shine and preserving it from scratches and mild dents. It is also suitable for both bare and finished Cedar surfaces.
The supplies needed for the application include
- Olive oil
- Small bowl
- Clean cloth
First, prepare the wood by ensuring that it is clean and free from grime, dust, and dirt. Additionally, smoothen unfinished wood to guarantee a smoother application and a perfect shine.
Next, mix the olive oil and lemon juice in a two to one ratio. Please note, the lemon juice should be from a lemon fruit not pre-made lemon juice. Otherwise, the latter has additives that damage Cedar.
Use the clean cloth to rub the mixture into the Cedar floor in circular motions. Also, pay more attention to drink marks and dirts and remove them to deliver an even shine.
Finally, dry the excess formula using a lean cloth and allow the flooring to dry completely before using it.
That said, despite Cedar wood being a durable woodworking material, it needs additional protection when installed outdoors. If not, harsh weather conditions compromise its lifespan.
Cedar floors are naturally resistant to outdoor elements such as insect and pest attacks. But protecting your wood is a good idea if you want to keep it safe and enjoy it for long.
How Long Does Cedar Floor Last?
A Cedar floor lasts 40 years or more, depending on where you install it and your maintenance schedule. However, Cedar wood is resistant to moisture penetration and lasts longer with less maintenance. It does not quickly break or warp as other wood types.
Cedar has natural oils to protect it from insects, water, and rot, which are the primary culprits in wood degradation. The wood has a higher likelihood of keeping its natural appealing appearance for decades.
Finally, you can stain, oil, and paint your Cedar floor to retain its natural aesthetics throughout the years.
Most homeowners still investigate the pros and cons of Cedar flooring in their homes. But some only want to have it in their closets. The top reason being the wood’s ability to repel insects. Hence, they conveniently store old clothing without fear of pesky moths and pests.
Nevertheless, Cedar wood is generally a high profile building material. It boasts of beautiful aesthetics, including a smooth texture and consistent grain. In addition, the lumber has natural oils that keep it insect, moisture, and even scratch resistant.
This article gives you more information on Cedar’s wood suitability in flooring projects. It highlights what to expect from the wood and how to keep it intact for a longer duration.
Why Cedar Wood for Flooring?
Even though Cedar wood is classified as softwood, it is perfect for flooring in areas without significant traffic volume, such as bedrooms. Moreover, the lumber adds a rustic charm to your home thanks to its soft fragrance and slightly tinted red hues.
However, please be careful with Cedar flooring as moving furniture and frequent traffic causes permanent dents on the surface. Also, constant moisture and high humidity exposure, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms can accelerate wood rot.