Cedar Home– Red Cedar Decks Makes Sense!
We’ve been deck builders in Caledon for a couple of deckades now–long enough to be red cedar deck masters! Red cedar decks can be low maintenance if you design them right!
Often, it isnt just budget that makes the decision on decking type. This architecturally designed home in Caledon came with red cedar siding. To stay true to form, red cedar siding makes perfect sense.
A bit of uncommon knowledge here. The quality of decking is greatly dependent on the size of tree it came out of. When the trees are larger, the cut of the decking is accidently far better. Thats why pressure treated is often prone to extreme cracking, checking and warping. The straighter grain of red cedar from far larger trees gives you a far better product. Thats why Architects often still specify it to this day.
As a designer we still specify cedar if it fits. When the lifetime of a deck can be 20-30 years it is an easy decision to use red cedar. There are other things we can do in deck design to make the frame last longer as well. Pairing a frame rated for 50 years means that you could re-deck 3x on the same frame if you like.
Making a Red Cedar Decks Low Maintenance
This deck in Caledon is attached to an architecturally designed cedar clad home. It only made sense to add a cedar clad deck to it. You don’t have to settle for a 10 year lifetime and heavy maintenance however.
The trouble with cedar decks is stain. Back 10 years ago, before the EPA banned a few chemicals that made stain last longer we were able to apply stain that would look good for 5-7 years. Nowadays the best stains last about 2 years. Low VOC stains just don’t last.
Knowing this fact, there is a way. Stain companies will eventually figure out a new way to create their stain, so lets give it a few years. Leave the cedar raw for now. The deck will look good for a few years. The rails are the hardest part of the deck to stain, so lets use powdercoated aluminum railings.
Now you have 5 years with no maintenance. A few years from now, when stains have improved you can refinish the deck and make it look new again. Meanwhile, we can design the frame to last many decades by using flashings and overbuilding beyond code. This will allow you to re-clad the deck 2 or 3 times on the same frame and footings.