Is Cedar a Hardwood?

Posted by Ellyn Kou on

freshly stained home deck made of cedar wood

Known for its red color, rot resistance, and fragrance; is this signature wood species a hardwood?

Is Cedar a Hardwood?

No, cedar is not a hardwood. This beautiful, fragrant wood is classified as a softwood. Softwoods come from gymnosperm trees, like conifers. Unlike hardwoods, softwoods grow quickly, have simple grain patterns and are relatively inexpensive. Cedar is widely available, but tends to be more expensive than similar softwoods, like pine.

Cedar Wood Characteristics

When someone says “cedar”, chances are the first thing that springs to mind is the characteristic spicy smell of the wood. I love it, and I’m not alone. Some consumers put shavings or small pieces of cedar in their closet to mimic the classic scent of a cedar chest or closet.

Aesthetically, cedar is a beautiful reddish wood that can have pink or purple tones. As it ages, it loses its red color and turns silver or gray.

The grain pattern of cedar is usually straight. This can be desirable when you’re looking for more subtle patterns. Cedar wood is often knotty. Cedar registers a 900 on the Janka Hardness Scale, putting it close to pine which comes in at 870.

Advantages of Cedar Wood

Cedar is naturally weather resistant, which makes it excellent for use in outdoor applications. Your cedar furniture, siding, or buildings are resistant to warping, shrinking, and cracking. It is also resistant to mildew.

Cedar has been used as a bug repellant for centuries. The oil in the cedar is believed to help deter termites, ants, mosquitoes and cockroaches! It can also repel moths, which is why many people keep fine fabrics in cedar chests.

Cedar is sound-resistant! That makes it awesome for use inside or on the exterior of buildings and houses.


Lifespan of Cedar Wood


Cedar will eventually rot, like all woods. Outdoor cedar furniture can last 20 years without warping, splitting or rotting. You can extend the life of your cedar by applying a clear sealant every couple years.


Cedar Wood Uses


In addition to outdoor furniture, decking, siding, wall paneling and gorgeous chests, cedar can be used in woodworking! It’s a very soft wood, which makes it easy to turn, but it can be brittle.

Cedar is also very light, which is perhaps why it has been used in boat-making as far back as the time of the ancient Egyptians. 

At North Castle Hardwoods, we don’t carry cedar wood, but we have curated a collection of the finest North American hardwoods for your woodworking projects. You’ll be sure to find something you love in our selection of cherry, maple, or walnut wood.



Cedar is a softwood with a lot of great uses. It is a beautiful wood that is slightly harder than pine. It is often used to create quality, weather-resistant outdoor furniture, but also looks beautiful in your home. 

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