Cedar vs. Redwood Fences: Which is Better?

cedar fence vs redwood fence

Both cedar and redwood are excellent choices for wooden fences. Both options are durable and sustainable, but the similarities end here. But which type of wood is better for your fence: cedar or redwood? We answer that question in this article.

All About Cedar and Redwood

Cedar Fence
Photo Credit: ghornephoto / Canva Pro / License

Both cedar and redwood are popular choices due to their natural beauty. 

Cedar’s color palette ranges from a pale honey to a warm, reddish-brown color, and it has a smooth, straight grain. There are many types of cedar, with Western red cedar and Eastern white cedar being the most common. Apart from fences, cedar is used in construction and woodworking.

Redwood has a beautiful grain pattern and a deep, natural reddish hue that varies from light to dark depending on the levels of heartwood used. It comes from redwood trees (also known as California redwood), which are some of the largest trees in the world.

You’ll enhance your home’s curb appeal no matter what fence material you pick.


The price of both cedar and redwood can vary depending on several factors:

  • The type of wood
  • The quality
  • The size
  • The supplier

Redwood fencing is usually more expensive (15 to 20 percent more) than cedar fencing because redwood trees are more scarce. For example, a redwood fence costs between $20 and $40 per linear foot, while a cedar fence costs between $15 and $30 per linear foot.


Both cedar and redwood are hardy and durable. However, redwood is denser, which makes it stronger. The Janka hardness test (which measures a wood’s resistance to denting and nicking) rated redwood at 450 lbs per square foot, while cedar clocked in at 350 lbs per square foot. As a result, redwood fences are 23% more durable than cedar fences.


redwood fence and bench
Redwood Fence
Photo Credit: CampPhoto / Canva Pro / License

Redwood and cedar are both certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (ensuring they are responsibly harvested) and are 100% natural and biodegradable. They’re sustainable because they need more than 50 years to harvest.

To make your fence more eco-friendly, add a natural stain or paint to it. Since they’re made from plant materials rather than chemicals, they’re safer for the environment. You can also avoid staining or painting your fence so it weathers naturally over time.


Cedar and redwood have longer lifespans than fences like spruce and pine. If both are untreated, they can last up to 15 years. A well-maintained cedar fence can last up to 20 or 30 years, while a redwood fence lasts between 25 and 40 years.

The following factors affect their lifespan:

  • The quality of the wood
  • Climate
  • Maintenance. Leaving them untreated will cause them to rot and decay.


All fences require maintenance to keep them going, and cedar and redwood are no exception.

Redwood is more low maintenance than cedar, as it has a lot of natural oils, including tannin, which protects it from pests, rot, and insect damage (and gives it its natural reddish hue). However, these natural oils also cause it to gray over time.

Cedar fencing requires annual painting or staining to maintain its natural color; otherwise, it’ll fade to a silvery patina. Fortunately, it’s easy to paint or stain due to its lighter color. To extend cedar’s lifespan, treat it with a wood preservative.


Cedar and redwood’s durability affords them a natural resistance to the elements and other various features, but with some differences:

  • Insects: Redwood is naturally insect-resistant, while cedarwood has aromatic compounds that deter certain insects.  
  • Moisture: Redwood is denser and has fewer pitch pockets (where moisture collects), making it more moisture-resistant than cedar, whose natural oils afford it its moisture resistance.
  • Pests: Cedar’s natural oils help it resist pests like termites, while redwood is naturally resistant to them. The age of the trees plays a role in how well they resist insects: older trees produce harder wood than younger trees, making the wood that comes from them more insect-resistant.
  • Rot: Both are naturally rot-resistant. Though redwood has more tannin to give it greater resistance to rot than cedar, the difference is minimal.

No fence is entirely immune to insects, pests, moisture, and rot. Use soap and water to clean most dirt, stains, and mildew that grow on the wood.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does cedar perform in rainy areas?

Because of its stability and insect resistance, cedar does well in rainy areas.

Can cedar block out sound?

Cedar can block out as much as 70% of sound.

Does redwood need a wood conditioner before staining?

No. You can stain just fine without it.

The Final Word

The choice between cedar and redwood fences ultimately depends on personal preference or budget. Both kinds of wood will bring some beauty and sustainability to your property. Once you decide which type of fence to get, contact one of FenceGnome’s pros to have them build it. 

Main Image Credit:
Cedar Fence: tainted / Canva Pro / License
Redwood Fence: PublicDomainPictures

Stuart Kushner

Stuart Kushner is a writer and aspiring product designer based in New York City. When he isn’t doing either, Stuart enjoys heavy metal music, exercise, and trying new food and drinks.