Cedar vs Redwood Fence: Which Wood Should You Choose?

Welcome to my article all about Cedar vs Redwood fences!

Two of the most popular wood options for fencing are cedar and redwood.

Though the producers both claim that theirs is the superior material, some differences may have you choosing one over the other, depending on the features that you find most important.

With that in mind, let’s compare cedar vs redwood fence material to see how they stack up.

Cedar Vs Redwood Fence: Comparison Table

Here is a comparison table of cedar vs redwood for fencing so you can quickly compare the two woods.

Depends on the type (red, yellow, white)
Reddish brown
Straight grain and few knots
Straight grain, fine and even texture with few knots
Medium, requires yearly painting or staining to maintain color
High, can go a few years without maintenance
Tie, eco friendly
Tie, eco friendly
Slightly less sustainable at today's harvesting rates
Slightly more sustainable at today's harvesting rates
Abundant in certain regions
More expensive

Cedar vs Redwood Fence: Detailed Comparison

Features and Color

Winner: Depends on personal preference


Cedar is most commonly found in the northeastern areas of the United States and Canada, though it is also located around the world.

This wood has been used for centuries in all types of construction, so it’s no wonder it’s still a popular choice for fencing.

There are several species, though red cedar is a favorite, partially due to its reddish hue.

Yellow cedar has more of a golden shade, while white cedar is pale.

You can pick whichever color suits your taste.


Redwood is mainly harvested along the west coast and comes in different grades, depending on which part of the trunk you’re using.

Deck heart is the most popular, due to its high strength, while construction heart is cheaper and has fewer blemishes.

Clear and select heart materials are closer to the trunk core, with few knots, so it is the best choice for finishing projects.

All grades have a reddish-brown hue, though the color deepens the further into the core you go.


Winner: Redwood, but not by much

Cedar and redwood are similar in that they both contain natural oils and tannins that they retain long after they are cut down and used for fencing and other projects.

These oils allow both woods to repel moisture, even on the most humid days, preventing warping, twisting, or rotting for a long-lasting fence.

The tannins prevent bug and termite infestations, so you won’t need to worry about anything eating through the wood.

Where these two materials differ in durability has to do with their hardness, which is measured during the Janka hardness test.

While cedar has a rating of 350 pounds, redwood surpasses this with a rating of 450 pounds.

The redwood is much sturdier, though this also increases its weight, requiring more labor to install the fence and deeper stakes to ensure it stays in place during heavy winds.


Winner: Redwood

redwood fence

Fading is normal for wood, though some materials require more maintenance to prevent this and retain their natural aesthetic. Cedar is one of these.

Though it has a lovely initial color, Cedar will fade to a silvery hue over time if not properly maintained.

To prevent this, yearly applications of paint or stain are required.

Redwood has a higher oil concentration and is much denser, so it doesn’t degrade as quickly, retaining its color for longer.

Of course, it still needs to be treated to prevent the wood from fading into an unsightly gray color but you can get away with stain applications every three to five years.

When it comes to cleaning, you can use the same method for both materials.

Wiping the fence boards with a soap and water solution removes dirt, debris, stains, and mildew.


Winner: Tie, both are eco friendly

Another area where cedar and redwood are evenly matched is their eco-friendliness.

Both materials are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

As well as being completely natural, they are also a better option environmentally than composite products.

Despite being grown in different countries, the requirements to meet FSC standards are almost identical for these materials.


Winner: Both are quite sustainable, but Redwood is being planted more than it is being harvested while Cedar is about equal rates

To maintain a steady supply of materials, companies need to harvest responsibly, planting replacement trees for the ones they are removing.

How long those trees take to grow enough to be harvested also factors in.

Cedar and redwood trees take a minimum of 50 years to reach the maturity required for harvesting, so companies need to remove old growth slowly to maintain their supply until the new growth is ready to be cut down.

At the time of writing, second-growth cedar is just reaching the age required for harvesting while still producing a quality product.

Redwood harvesters are taking a bit more time on this, removing less than the annual growth rate.

This means that they are growing more trees than they are taking down while cedar is harvested at a higher rate.


Winner: Depends on the region, but Cedar overall

There are a couple of factors that affect availability.

First, supply and demand affect how much of each of these materials are available.

If one option is more popular than another at any given time, it can reduce how much there is to buy, so you may not have access to the wood you want for your fence.

How much of it there is and where it is grown also affects availability.

With a few types of cedar grown all over North America, more can be harvested.

In fact, western red cedar produces almost 1 billion feet of boards each year.

Redwood is quite popular, though it is only grown on the west coast of the United States, so it is less accessible.


Winner: Cedar

Due to the higher availability of cedar, it tends to be somewhat cheaper than redwood by about 15-18%%.

Of course, there are varying costs, depending on which type of cedar you buy.

Red cedar has the lowest cost while white cedar has the highest.

Then again, is stronger and requires less maintenance, so you’ll spend more on stain or paint with cedar.

This doesn’t guarantee that redwood is a better choice, though.

The overall cost will still likely be higher with the rarer material.

Cedar vs Redwood Fence: Pros and Cons

cedar fence

When it comes to deciding between cedar vs redwood fencing, there are benefits to choosing either material.

Of course, there are also reasons why many people choose one option over the other.

Let’s take a quick look at the differences between these two options.


  • Higher availability
  • Lower cost
  • Three color options
  • Lightweight
  • More maintenance required
  • Reduced durability


  • Stronger wood
  • Less fading for reduced maintenance
  • Several grade options available
  • Higher cost
  • Less availability
  • Heavier

Cedar vs Redwood Fence: Conclusion

Cedar and Redwood are both excellent woods for fencing, so you can’t really go wrong with either.

The right one for your project will come down to your preferences and budget.

I hope this article has helped you pinpoint which wood you will need!

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