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Do It Yourself

I wonder if you would be kind enough to give your opinion about this question? I live in Pennsylvania and have gotten quotes to replace a solid board and split rail fence.  I have received a difference of opinion between the two low bidders concerning the cedar fence material for the solid board fence.

One bidder recommends Western Red Cedar over white cedar, despite a slight additional cost, because he says the white cedar has been warping more than the Western Red Cedar this year. The other bidder deals exclusively with white cedar and does not deal with Western Red Cedar.  He says that he has not had problems with white cedar warping and that he would replace the rare white cedar board that may warp. 

I have seen a four year old fence installed by this contractor and there is little or no warping to speak of. I do not have a strong aesthetic preference for Western Red Cedar vs. white cedar. Overall, I would like to give the job to the supplier who only deals with white cedar, even though he is not the absolute lowest cost, for reasons other than cost.

My one reservation is that the white cedar may warp more than the Western Red Cedar. What has been your experience concerning the difference in warping between Western Red Cedar and white cedar?

Thanks for taking the time to reply.

There can be a difference within species of woods. Western red cedar from out west is said to be more rot resilient than eastern red cedar for example. I have not seen a difference in warping between red or white cedar. Anything is possible, but I have never seen excessive warping of cedar of any kind in over 25 years.

Given the variables you presented, I would favor the contractor whose work you have seen. The fact that he is willing to replace warped boards speaks well of his integrity, considering the fact that he didn't grow the tree nor mill the wood. Neverless, most reliable contractors will offer that service. Always check references of contractors to see if they back their work. Call the better business bureau for additional information.

Red and white cedar are both excellent choices for fence boards. Choose the type you prefer. As far as warranties, if a contractor is willing to give a warranty on wood, he is either a fool or a generous, honest, thoughtful business man. God doesn't even warrant the wood and he (she <-- for political correctness) makes it.

Author: Frank R. Hoover, Hoover Fence Co.
25 years+ in the fence business

Copyright 1999 Hoover Fence Co.
May be reprinted as long as the source is acknowledged


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