Life Expectancy of Cedar Siding?

I am building a new house (Mid-West - Near Chicago) and I am trying to decide between natural cedar clapboard (primed and painted) or a synthetic such as primed and painted cement fiber board (i.e., Hardi Board). My builder is strongly discouraging me from deciding on natural cedar. I have also asked all of the building suppliers in the area about natural cedar - they all look at me like i am crazy to want to use natural cedar. The collective opinion is that natural cedar will only look good for 5 to 10 years (regardless of paint job). After 5 to 10 years, they claim that the cedar will show serious signs of decay.
Is this an accurate description considering the cold winter climate? I am concerned that they are pushing me towards a solution that may have a higher profit margin (or some other motive).
What kind of life expectancy should one expect from natural cedar?
Thanks in advance for your input.
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I had cedar on my previous home. It comes in various thicknesses. Mine was very thin and cheap. Nothing would stop it from cracking. But even the thick stuff needs an opaque stain to protect it from cracking from the sun in my climate. I would go with the cement board. Unless you prefer maintaining a house over living in it and enjoying life, get the cement board.

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My 20 year old house is in the same climate. There is a little decay where the roof meets another level's wall, but it is otherwise fine. If I wasn't afraid of heights and was willing to get up and restain there more frequently, I think that would be okay also. As it is, I will probably have some trim added to hide it next time I have it stained.
Personally I would go with plastic because I think cedar is too expensive, but my wife obviously didn't agree with me.
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I live in a cedar sided house built in 1975 - Pacific Northwest. We have stained it twice in that time using a semi-transparent stain. Will have to stain again next Summer while my wife is in Europe. Don't know why, but I am happier doing big jobs when my wife is not around. No nagging, I guess. I have no complaints about the cedar. Other than a couple of knot holes popping out, it is in good shape. Couldn't afford the cedar siding if I was building today. Des

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I've had cedar on my home for the past 12 years with no decay and I'm in a harsh northern sea coast environment. Like anything, cedar will deteriorate if not maintained. I have a standing contract with a good painter to apply stain to mine every two years. He came to me last year and said that it didn't even need staining on all sides that year, just those sides that see the worst weather. The exterior looks great; much nicer than plastic of Hardi Board.
Make sure that all surfaces (back side too) are finished, stain or paint, before applying the siding. Cedar is expensive enough today that I wouldn't use it if all I was going to do was paint it.
RB
Paul Rouse wrote:

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Remembering that there are different grades of Cedar, and that you would be happier (although poorer) with Red Cedar as opposed to White. I live with direct ocean exposure (salt spray, nasty storms, etc.) south of Boston. The house is Cedar sided, but painted, many times before I got here. If I were to side the house now I would look into the new Vinyl Siding. I comes in many styles and appearances, more than what you're probably aware of. Other than washing the house every year there is little maintenance. And if you like to change the appearance you can always paint the trim a different color. Check out these links: http://www.gp.com/siding/pdf/154202.pdf http://www.owenscorning.com/around/exteriors_new/changelook.asp
Dave
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I have a cedar shake home. It's 13 years old and has never been finished. It looks great.
Bonnie in NJ

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snipped-for-privacy@prouse.com wrote:

We built our house 20 years ago and have cedar clapboard on the front and barn shakes on the sides and back. We have the house painted every five years and the siding is in fairly good shape. We've had to replace some of the clapboard and have replaced it with Hardiplank. We've put an addition on the back and used Hardiplank for that as well. Painted, the Hardiplank looks exactly like the cedar and if I were building a house now, I'd go with Hardiplank.
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My house in seattle was was built in 1926 and the cedar is in fine shape.
Bob
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Paul Rouse wrote:

I have natural cedar clapboard siding on the house I am living in now. It has been well maintained, and the siding has been here since 1956. No signs of decay here. looks like it was just put on.
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snipped-for-privacy@prouse.com says... ~ I am building a new house (Mid-West - Near Chicago) and I am trying to ~ decide between natural cedar clapboard (primed and painted) or a ~ synthetic such as primed and painted cement fiber board (i.e., Hardi ~ Board). My builder is strongly discouraging me from deciding on ~ natural cedar. I have also asked all of the building suppliers in the ~ area about natural cedar - they all look at me like i am crazy to want ~ to use natural cedar. The collective opinion is that natural cedar ~ will only look good for 5 to 10 years (regardless of paint job). ~ After 5 to 10 years, they claim that the cedar will show serious signs ~ of decay. ~ ~ Is this an accurate description considering the cold winter climate? ~ I am concerned that they are pushing me towards a solution that may ~ have a higher profit margin (or some other motive). ~ ~ What kind of life expectancy should one expect from natural cedar? ~ Our old house (near Vancouver BC), built in 1949 and demolished this summer to make way for a new one, still had the original cedar siding in many areas. I scraped, primed and repainted it in 1992, and the paint lasted until 2003. There wasn't a trace of rot in it when the house was demolished. My neighbour came by and salvaged some of it, and it's now on his house.
I chose Hardiplank for the new house.
Rick
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Java Man (Espressopithecus) wrote:

Yep.. cedar is pretty resistant to rot naturally, and if you keep it painted, will last a very long time.
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I live in the Chicago area, and we have a cedar-sided house. This is not clapboard, but channel style rough cedar boards. The house was initially stained with a semitransparent grey stain. We had to redo the stain about every five to seven years. The reason was that the boards would become very dry and soft. Basically they began to weather. Athough the weathering process is slow with cedar, it is enevitable. We would begin seeing color differences as the stain disappeared or weathered away, and even the board texture increased as the softer more weatherable areas preferentially disappeared. Finally on the fourth staining, I used a solid stain. Because the solids level is so much higher, the weathering process is even slower. Of course, we lost the natural color of the wood, but I believe I will get quite a few more years out of the siding. The house is now 23 years old.
On 7 Jan 2004 17:20:46 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@prouse.com (Paul Rouse) wrote:

Gary Dyrkacz snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net Radio Control Aircraft/Paintball Physics/Paintball for 40+ http://home.attbi.com/~dyrgcmn /
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