What Buyers Should Know Before Buying Cedar Timber

Before reaching out to a cedar timber supplier for a project, it's a good idea to learn a bit about the various ways sellers' market the product. This will help you pick the solution that's right for your situation. Buyers need to know these four things before they contact a timber supplier to discuss cedar products.

Two Grades

A cedar timber will have one of two possible grades. The first is a structural grade, which means the quality of the appearance is unlikely to be ideal for outward-facing, highly aesthetic projects. You might be able to use this grade of cedar for a project that aims for a rough or rustic look, but you may also still have to perform some finish work on the product.

The second option is appearance grade. As the name suggests, this grade is meant for outward-facing purposes. If you want the product to look smooth and appealing with little to no work on your part, this is probably the solution. These usually have fewer swirls and less disruption in the way of grain patterns.

Aim for Thickness

Especially with the rougher cuts of cedar, you're going to have some waste from sanding and possibly even planing. It's prudent to think about how much waste you'll likely have on each side before picking a piece of timber. You should always determine the length and then give yourself at least a quarter- to a half-inch more to be safe. This will give you a reasonable margin of error in case a timber needs a little more work than expected.


While people think of cedar as generally a very red-colored wood, there's a bit more variety than that. In particular, some varieties are browner and less red, which may work depending on your tastes. However, you should be aware of it when ordering from a cedar timber supplier. Always ask to look at samples and make sure you'll be buying the color and tone that's right for your project.


Cedar has a distinctive smell. If you haven't encountered it before, it might seem a little strong compared to almost any other kind of wood you might have smelled before. However, that smell makes it popular for many projects. The phenols that produce the smell also contribute to its pest resistance. Many folks enjoy the smell of cedar, but you'll want to check it out before committing to using it. Contact a company, such as Liese  Lumber Co Inc, for more information.