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What is Cedar Cladding?

By B. Turner
Updated May 17, 2024
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Cedar cladding is a finish material used to cover the exterior walls of a building. In North America, this product is better known as "siding," though it is referred to as "cladding" throughout much of Europe and Australia. This material is made using wood from the cedar tree, and is known for its rich texture and heavy grain patterns. Cedar cladding is available in a variety of warm natural colors, ranging from amber to deep reddish-brown. It is also known for its unique, appealing smell that can last for many years after installation.

When installing cedar cladding or siding, homeowners can choose from shingles or planks. Cedar shingles are installed in overlapping rows to create a look similar to a tiled or shingled roof. They may be smooth or roughly textured, with rougher cuts and textures of shingles known as "shakes" throughout much of the world. Shingles and shakes are available in many different sizes to meet the needs of any homeowner.

Boards or planks of cedar cladding are overlapped to create a look often known as "clapboard" siding. These boards may be beveled to provide an even finish, or rectangular, which adds a bit more texture and depth to the wall. Some cedar siding products are installed vertically to create a more traditional "board-and-batten" style. Thinner, horizontal beams of cedar known as battens connect the vertical members and add a decorative element. A tongue-and-groove installation can be used to create smooth cladding where planks do not overlap, similar to a hardwood floor.

Cedar cladding offers many advantages over other siding materials. It contains natural oils that help to increase its resistance to moisture and humidity. Unlike traditional wood siding cedar is unlikely to warp, twist, or rot, yet it still offers the rich beauty of wood. Cedar also contains air pockets, which give it a high level of insulation and help to minimize sound transfer through the walls of the home. This material is also very stable and durable, and will last for many years if properly installed.

Like all cladding materials, cedar requires regular care in order to maintain its appearance and maximize its lifespan. Paint or stains must be reapplied every few years, and even unfinished cedar cladding should be sealed to minimize moisture and wear. High wind or extreme weather may damage cedar, especially shingles or shakes. Fortunately, cedar is fairly lightweight and easy to handle, making repair or replacement a fairly simple task.

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Discussion Comments
By orangey03 — On Nov 11, 2011

My house is covered in cedar cladding, and it is super well insulated. This has helped me reduce my electric and gas bills significantly.

I love waking up on cold mornings to a warm house and falling asleep on hot summer nights in a cool room. The best part is that I don't have to crank up the heat or air conditioning much at all!

Before I got the cedar cladding, the air seemed to pass right through my walls. I was having trouble paying the massive electric bills, and I decided to invest in something that would reduce costs over the long term.

By Oceana — On Nov 11, 2011

@OeKc05 - My parents' house is covered in cedar shingles, and they give it a wonderfully rustic look. The shingles look like chunks of wood that have been hacked out with an ax, and no two are exactly alike.

Their house always makes me think of a cozy cabin in the woods. It looks like it took a long time to build, but it really didn't. Installing the cedar shingles was the easiest part, though it looks like it would have been the hardest.

I wouldn't want to own a house that looked like everyone else's on the block, either. Cedar shingles will give you what you desire.

By OeKc05 — On Nov 10, 2011

Cedar shingles sound like an interesting concept. My house was damaged in a tornado last summer, and I am currently considering how I want to remodel it. I know I don't want vinyl siding, because that's what was on it before, and I thought it was ugly.

Does anyone here have cedar shingles? Are they attractive, or do they look too much like those ugly dark roof shingles you see on houses everywhere?

I would like my house to look unique, and I don't know of anyone around who has cedar shingles. So far, it sounds like a good idea.

By lighth0se33 — On Nov 09, 2011

Cedar cladding is a wonderful thing. I have always loved the smell of cedar, and it is awesome to have it covering my house.

Also, I like the fact that it doesn't allow too much sound to pass through it. I sing and play piano, and I don't want to bother my neighbors when I do it late at night or early in the morning. Also, my road gets a lot of traffic. It's nice not to hear the loud vehicles passing by very much.

I have cedar planks that overlap each other. The wood is stained a grayish-brown to match the trees in my front yard. The house blends right into its surroundings.

By Mykol — On Nov 09, 2011

I always admire houses that have wood cladding and have often wondered if there is more maintenance to them than a house with traditional siding?

I know that no matter what you do, there is always going to be some kind of maintenance, but wondered how much work is involved in keeping up something like this?

How often do you need to stain it or paint it and how expensive does that become?

By sunshined — On Nov 08, 2011

When we were getting ready to build a new home, we had a hard time deciding on what type of home to build.

We both always wanted to live in a log home, and even though we loved the log of them, knew they required a lot of maintenance and upkeep.

We decided on red cedar cladding because it still gave the home a rustic look without as much maintenance as a log home would have been.

We still have to make sure and do cedar cladding treatment such as keeping it stained, but we really enjoy the look of the cedar.

We kept with this rustic look on the inside and have used a lot of knotty pine for a cozy cabin interior that we really enjoy.

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