A tree is a tree -
what's the difference (6 Reasons)?
In short, the species of tree you choose for your log home can make a
huge difference. Northern White Cedar provides many advantages over
pine, a commonly used wood in log homes.
1. Rot Resistance &
Northern White Cedar naturally produces preservatives that make it one
of the most decay and rot resistant of woods, as well as insect
tolerant. In a 1995 study, cedar flake board panels in Hawaii showed no
symptoms of termite attack, despite two years of extensive termite
exposure. Cedar displays minimal cracking or checking because of
its lower moisture content, and any checks will not penetrate through
the heartwood of the log.
Pine is not naturally resistant to
rot or insects. Pine requires kiln drying to kill insects in the wood,
and preservative treatments to prevent future rot and insect damage.
Surface treatments for pine lose their protective abilities once logs
begin to crack and open up untreated areas. Large cracks in pine are
common because of the higher moisture content.
2. Water Content
Northern White Cedar has less water content when green weighing about
3500 lbs. per cord. We naturally air dry to a desirable 14-16
percent moisture level in a fairly short time, as little as three
months. Air-drying allows the wood to acclimate to a new moisture level
without harming the wood fiber's molecular structure. Depending on the
weather, a brief finishing may be necessary. Our "green" kiln is heated
using their biomass boiler to create steam heat.
Green pine weighs an average of 4700 lbs per cord, with more than twice
the water content that cedar does. Pine characteristically retains
its water and usually is dried in a kiln to season the wood. Because the
water is forced out quickly, cell rupture becomes a possible risk, which
can weaken fibers and lead to cracking.
Untreated Northern White Cedar possesses high natural durability. A
study conducted by University of Maine found that surveyors' cedar
corner posts and rail fences were still serviceable after 50 to 60 years
Untreated pine has a life expectancy of 3 to 7 years when in contact
with the ground.
4. Thermal rating
The R-value is used to measure how well a material resists the flow of
heat through it.
Northern White Cedar has an R-value of 1.41 per inch of thickness, the
highest R-value of any of the species used in log homes.
Pine species used in log home construction have an average R-value of
1.25 per inch of thickness.
5. Thermal Mass Factor
Another measure is Thermal Mass, which reflects a material's density (in
pounds per cubic foot) and its specific mass. The higher the
R-Value/Thermal Mass Factor, the easier your home is to heat.
Northern White Cedar has an R-Value/Thermal Mass Factor of 3.78
Pine has an R-Value/Thermal Mass Factor of 2.76
Northern White Cedar is a renewable resource that is actively managed
to ensure biodiversity, wildlife habitat and high-quality forest
Pine plantations are able to produce usable timber in relatively short
periods of time, but they require a tremendous amount of resources to
stump, seed, and prepare seedlings. Unlike cedar, which has natural
resistance to insects and other pests, pine plantations need to use
phosphate fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides to maintain healthy