Is Eastern Red Cedar Good for Outdoor Furniture?

Cedar chairs on deck

If you want to have stylish, elegant, and expensive-looking outdoor furniture, Eastern red cedar is the perfect wood that you are looking for. Quality is always the top priority when it comes to home furniture, and Eastern red cedar is distinguished for making world-class quality home furniture.

Using Eastern red cedar as a raw material is a perfect choice to achieve your desired home furnishings. To attain that, you should know the plant profile, applications of the material used, and the advantages this wood offers, such as its durability, stability, natural properties, and sustainability.

In this article, we will talk about Eastern red cedar as a raw material for your outdoor furniture.

The advantages of Eastern red cedar make a good impression for building quality outdoor home furniture. These factors will assist you to appreciate the significance of Eastern red cedar being your chosen one.


What is Eastern red cedar?

Eastern red cedar belongs to a juniper species and is native to southeastern Canada, Mexico, and eastern North America. The oldest tree reported is from West Virginia and is around 940 years old. Eastern red cedar can grow from 16 to 66 feet tall, with a short trunk around 12 or 39 inches in diameter. The fibrous bark is reddish-brown or ash gray and peels off in narrow strips.

It features two types of leaves. Scale-like adult leaves are 2-4 mm long, while sharp, spreading needle-like juvenile leaves are 5-10 mm long. The leaves are laid out in opposite crisscross pairs, or sometimes, whorls of three. Eastern red cedars are dioecious, which determines that female and male trees are separate plants.

Both trees bloom in late winter. The male Eastern red cedar tree produces yellow flowers while the female produces green flowers. Female trees bear small berry-like cones around 3-7 mm long that are dark purple-blue and covered with white wax. However, some tree species are monoecious, meaning they have the components of both genders on the same plant.

The seed cones mature in 6 to 8 months from pollination and contain one to four seeds. The maple tree has brown, pollen-bearing cones at the tip of its branch. The pollen is disseminated by the wind. An Eastern red cedar seedling has a penetrating taproot, but it develops a fibrous and shallow root system as the plant ages, allowing it to last on shallow soils.

The Eastern red cedar showcases an extraordinary look and aromatic scent that naturally repels insects that may damage your furniture. Upon making furniture for your beautiful patio or garden, we first have to consider the materials to use to achieve long-lasting outdoor furniture.


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Uses of Eastern Red Cedars

Eastern red cedar offers various uses to animals and humans. Below are some applications of Eastern wood cedar that we can value and appreciate.

1. Wildlife habitat and human relevance

Eastern red cedar provides a natural habitat for wildlife. The trees and their leaves impart a nesting place for wild animals, and their berries are a source of food for birds. The Eastern red cedar also aids humans as its berries, leaves, and wood have medicinal properties.

People use them as a remedy for bronchitis, cough, water retention, flatulence, and joint pain. They also take them to boost their appetite and aid with indigestion. It is also used to treat hair loss, skin rashes, acne, eczema, warts, hemorrhoids, worms, and fungal infections.

2. Aromatic properties

Eastern red cedar is well known for its fragrant oil, produced by its wood, leaves, bark, and roots. It is used to repel cockroaches, termites, mosquitoes, moths, ants, and flour beetles.

Cedarwood oil is used as an aroma for perfumes, cosmetics, and soaps. It has been used since ancient times for medicine, industry, and art. The smoke of burning Eastern red cedar is believed to expel evil spirits preceding in conducting a ceremony among many Native American cultures.

3. Furniture and outdoor applications

Eastern red cedar shows impressive temperature resistance. It has very small air pockets inside the wood that protects it from sudden weather changes. Even if it is hot outside, cedarwood furniture is not hot to handle. So, it is a good material for outdoor projects, such as roofing and siding, decks, birdhouses, bows, and pencils.

It also works great for boatbuilding, shingles, blinds, shutters, and gazebos — especially outdoor furniture — because it can handle humid environments without decaying or rotting. Regarding resistance to both insect attack and decay, it is often used for fence posts directly to the ground with no pre-treatment. Cedarwood is well known for its scent with naturally antibacterial and antifungal properties, hence its popular use for clothing storage, such as closets and wardrobes.

Eastern red cedar is generally not difficult to work with. It is lightweight, has a low density, and is soft, so you shouldn’t worry when shaping or cutting it using manual or power tools. Using safety equipment is the best option you might consider due to its properties.

The cedarwood sawdust might trigger allergy breakout and certain health issues. Cedarwood has good finishing qualities. With its dark reddish tones and stained, it offers a great and attractive look when treated.

As time passes, the natural color of cedarwood changes and reveals cracks, but it can last for more than 20 years without rotting or warping. Though, in a lot of applications and uses, the cedarwood is left unfinished to maintain its aromatic properties.

Outdoor cedarwood furniture requires less maintenance to retain its original shapes and forms. Wash it occasionally with a soft rag and mild detergent and rinse it with water. Apply a mild bleach-and-water solution to remove mildew or stain, rinse thoroughly, and let it dry before applying sealant. Besides, Eastern red cedar is cheap, economical, and consistently outlasts similar wood species.


Rain and snow are not the only elements that can damage your wooden outdoor furniture. In the summer, you have to keep an eye out on your outdoor tables and chairs because they can be damaged by too much exposure to the sun. To prevent this from happening, you can follow our guide to protecting outdoor wood furniture from sun damage


Advantages of Eastern Red Cedar for Outdoor Furniture

One of the many advantages of Eastern red cedar is that it is an ideal choice for your outdoor furniture. It is classified as softwood, but hardwood grading standards apply since it is primarily used as fence posts due to its resistance to decay. The Aromatic cedar wood is avoided by moths, so it is in demand as lining for clothes chests and closets.

It is also a great option due to its weather resistance, which can hold up strong against high temperatures and standoff moisture. With a proper coat of sealant, it can preserve its natural beauty. Cedarwood can be used for all types of furniture.

There are many advantages to using Eastern red cedar as a material to make furniture in your patio or garden. We’ve listed a few of them below.

1. Durability

Eastern red cedar provides exceptional durability and a rustic look to your outdoor furniture. This type of wood is distinct as being durable, porous, and sound-resistant. Eastern red cedar is also heat-resistant, even to high temperatures, so your outdoor furniture remains cool.

It is also crack-resistant, and neither shrinks nor bends, as opposed to treated lumber.

2. Stability

The Eastern red cedar can stand firm against adverse growing conditions that other tree species cannot tolerate. It is considered a solid and sturdy type of wood, susceptible to wilting or warping. Furniture made of Eastern red cedar can last 20 to 30 years longer than several outdoor furniture raw materials.

3. Natural Properties

Eastern red cedar offers lasting wood material because of its natural chemical properties.

Its natural oil protects the wood from rotting and resists fungal and bacterial growth despite the weather conditions. Meanwhile, its pungent odor repels insects upon invasion.

It further helps prevent bugs and termites, making them highly durable outdoors, and resists moisture or decay that damage the wood, causing the breakdown of the furniture. Eastern red cedar can meet the minimum fire safety requirements, making it a fire-resistant material that is safe for both exterior and interior use.

4. Sustainable Furniture

Eastern red cedar is an excellent choice and a highly recommendable wood for sustainable house fitting. Its soft texture, light weight, and dark color make it elegant and famous around the world. The Eastern red cedar’s natural oil also serves as an insect repellent, which is a great quality for heavy-duty outdoor furniture.

Thanks to its natural resistance to rot and insect infestation, it is frequently used for fence posts, boatbuilding, musical instruments, decking, trim, siding, and much more. It can withstand mold, decay, and mildew in the long run.



Eastern red cedar has been used for centuries for many artworks and applications. With proper care and maintenance, Eastern red cedar is a one-of-a-kind material and could last for decades. Therefore, this aromatic, affordable, stylish, and beautiful yet strong and durable wood is the best raw material for your outdoor furniture.

Whether you are planning for a chaise lounge for your garden, a bench for your porch, or chairs and tables for your patio, the Eastern red cedar adds natural beauty, warmth, and versatility to your lawn with great satisfaction about the finished project.

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