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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Paul Rouse wrote:
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
Check out these links:
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.
~ 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.
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, email@example.com (Paul Rouse) wrote:
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