Is Cedar Good For Outdoor Furniture? Here’s What I Think

There are countless materials to choose from when it comes to outdoor furniture. Your choices include glass, metal, plastic, and wood, to name a few. Within the wooden furniture category, there are also several options available. Still, some types of wood are a better choice than others.

Cedar is an excellent choice of timber for outdoor furniture. This timber is aesthetically pleasing and contains natural resins that allow it to be extremely weather resistant. Cedar is generally resistant to rot, termites, and powder beetles. With or without treatment, it can last for ages.

There are several aspects to cedar wood that make it an excellent choice for use in outdoor furniture. Like all materials, cedar has its advantages and disadvantages over other types of timber. Still, it has proven itself to be a reliable material to use in outdoor furniture that can potentially last well over three decades with minimal maintenance.

Is Cedar Good For Outdoor Furniture?

While there are almost countless species of timber available today, only a handful can actually be successfully employed in the making of outdoor furniture. This is due most often to the rate at which wood rots.

Some timbers naturally rot at a faster pace than others. This is generally due to the intrinsic characteristics of the trees that make them less susceptible to rot. For example, the Black Locust and the Bois D’Arc create physical barriers within their timber.

This barrier, referred to as Tyloses, prevents moisture from penetrating into the wood and simultaneously prevents insects and other potentially harmful organisms from entering into the timber.

When it comes to outdoor projects, it’s always best to make use of the heartwood. The heartwood consists of the innermost parts of the tree, which tend to be stronger. On the other hand, the sapwood is generally lighter in color and consists of the outermost parts of the stem and branch.

Cedar has several characteristics that make it a great choice for outdoor furniture. There are some characteristics of this timber; however, that makes it slightly less desirable. Most of these, however, can be mitigated against.

Cedar is exceptionally hardy and useful as a material for outdoor furniture. This is due to the natural resins that it produces, negating the need for the timber to be treated, stained, or painted.

While the above interventions are not necessarily essential, they will naturally lengthen the lifespan of the timber. If you hope to have cedar furniture that lasts for three decades, it will be well worth considering having the timber treated accordingly. 

Again, this is not essential, making this an extremely attractive timber option. Untreated or unfinished cedar will start to become greyer with age while its internal resins prevent it from rotting. This grey aesthetic can be extremely pleasing to the eye if it falls within your taste.

Advantages Of Cedar For Outdoor Furniture

There are several advantages to using cedar for your outdoor furniture projects. Firstly, cedar is relatively soft and light, making it easy to work with. This is extremely useful when making furniture, as it makes the entire process of working with the wood a whole lot more enjoyable.

Is Cedar Good For Outdoor Furniture? Here's What I Think

Due to its natural resins, cedar is highly resistant to rot, termites, and powder beetles. This allows the wood to last for many years without any maintenance or treatment. This means that the staining, treating, and painting of cedar are essentially all unnecessary.

While applying a treatment or surface coating will improve the longevity of the wood, its natural oils will protect it for several years, and it will start to weather and lighten in color and eventually becoming grey as time passes.

Thanks to the internal characteristics of the wood, it is extremely unlikely to warp or sag, and it is highly resistant to humidity. This makes it an excellent choice in most outdoor environments where other types of timber would generally not last. This wood has the potential to last over fifty years.

When looking at its price point, cedar is significantly cheaper than teak. It is also lighter than oak while remaining sturdy and highly durable. Essentially, cedar is an affordable, low-maintenance alternative to the other more costly options on the market.

An interesting – and highly advantageous – feature of cedar is the fact that it effectively has ingrained insulation. This is due to air pockets contained within the grain of the wood. This ultimately protects the timber from significant temperature changes and helps prevent expansion and warping.

Because cedar is generally protected from significant temperature changes, it can remain cool to the touch even when placed in extremely sunny conditions. 

Cedar is also heavy-duty when made into furniture, possessing enough weight to be able to withstand relatively strong wind conditions.

There is one specific characteristic of cedar that sets it apart from other timbers – its scent. This scent comes from the wood’s natural oils that simultaneously protect the wood and repels bugs.

Disadvantages Of Cedar For Outdoor Furniture

While cedar is an excellent choice for outdoor furniture, it still possesses several disadvantages that one should be aware of when deciding to use this timber.

Because the wood is relatively soft, its inherent softness can potentially interfere with the timber’s ability to hold screws. Cedar is also lighter and faster-growing than many other types of timber, meaning that it cannot last as long as some other hardwood species.

Due to its relative softness, cedar can also become dented relatively easily despite being a strong timber. Compared to something like pine, for example, cedar is more expensive. Treated pine also has the ability to outlast untreated cedar while selling for a far lower price.


When it comes to the available timbers on the market today, cedar is an excellent choice for outdoor furniture. While it is considered a strong softwood and is not necessarily as durable as some other hardwoods, this timber remains extremely sturdy and durable. 

Whether you allow cedar furniture to remain in its natural state and age gracefully (eventually gaining a beautiful silver-grey patina) or you decide to stain it, this timber will provide you with some beautiful outdoor furniture that will last for years to come.


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