In our last blog post, we covered why Western Red Cedar wood is the ideal wood for Texas Fences. But before you get your Western Red Cedar fence installed, you should know about the construction and maintenance procedures that will keep your Western Red Cedar fence alive and well for years to come.
Select the Wood Grade that Fits Your Needs and Budget
All wood is graded for clearness and defects after it’s manufactured. Wood with a grade of 1 typically comes from the heart (or center) of a tree and has little to no defects; this grade of wood is often used for furniture and cabinets- objects that are handled up-close and used on a daily basis- and is the most expensive. For fences, which stay outdoors and are typically observed from a distance, the best wood grade in terms of quality and value is graded number 2. A number 2 graded picket may have minor imperfections, but unlike a number 3 grade wood, a number 2 grade picket won’t have any holes. A number 2 grade picket is the ideal balance of rugged and pure, and because it’s made from long-lasting Western Red Cedar, it gets the most bang for your buck.
Western Red Cedar is Only Used for the Pickets of a Fence
A common misconception is that Western Red Cedar fences are made 100% of Western Red Cedar wood. The reality is that only the pickets- the slats of wood on the outside of the fence- are Western Red Cedar wood; the posts, rails, and rot-board of a Western Red Cedar fence are typically made of treated pine. The reason for this is two-fold:
A) The price of a fence built exclusively with Western Red Cedar wood would cost three times more than a fence with only Western Red Cedar Pickets
B) If your fence was built from 100% Western Red Cedar wood, it would fall over within a year
As mentioned before, Western Red Cedar is great at absorbing and expelling moisture in the air. But when Western Red Cedar is used as a post and buried into the ground, it is constantly absorbing moisture without a chance to expel it. While Western Red Cedar makes for a long-lasting picket, it’s not well suited as a post. Instead, dry woods like Treated Pine make for great posts and rot boards because they do not decay in the ground as quickly as Western Red Cedar.
Western Red Cedar Fences Require a Rotboard
A rot-board is a 2X6 or 2X12 piece of pressure-treated pine that lines the bottom of Western Red Cedar fences. The purpose of a rot-board is to absorb ground water that would otherwise be absorbed by the pickets that sit on top of the rot-board. Rot-boards have a beveled edge so that excess water runs off into your yard and not back into your fence pickets.
Dimensional Lumber Sizes Are Nominal
Western Red Cedar pickets come in various widths: four inches, five inches, five-and-a-half inches, and six inches. A five-and-a-half-inch picket width is the standard with a six inch picket being the most expensive, a five inch picket being the value option, and a four-inch picket being the cheapest.
But the important thing to remember is Wood Sizes Are Nominal. This means that a 2X4 is not actually two inches by four inches. Instead, what is referred to as a “two-by-four” is actually around 1½ X 3½ inches. (Also, it would be a pain in the neck to refer to all wood dimensions as “blank-and-a-half inches”; it’s a lot easier to round up.)
Texas Fence takes pride in providing our customers with quality service, which includes any and all things you should know before purchasing a fence.
If you have any questions, please call us at (281) 807-7900
Or See Our Selection of Western Red Cedar Fences
If you missed the first part of our Western Red Cedar Fences Buyer’s Guide, you can read it here.