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Is My Fence Cedar or Pine? [Your Quick ID Guide]

July 26, 2023

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Are you a homeowner asking, is my fence cedar or pine? This is an excellent question as the materials are very similar. However, pine requires more maintenance than cedar. In turn, it’s vital that you understand your property’s fencing material and how to take care of it properly.

To tell the difference between cedar and pine fencing, note that cedar often has a straight grain and deeper color. Also, you can often tell cedar from its distinctive smell! Pine also tends to be heavier than cedar.

These are just a few quick differences that can answer the question, is my fence cedar or pine? To find out more, keep reading! Going into detail about these features is helpful for homeowners. Also, you can call a fencing contractor near you for more information and needed services.

is my fence cedar or pine

For Homeowners Asking, Is My Fence Cedar or Pine?

It might be difficult to note the wood species of a heavily painted or stained fence. However, consider some characteristics that can help you identify the difference between cedar and pine wooden fences:

whats the difference between cedar and pine

Cedar Wood Fences

  • Cedar typically boasts a reddish-brown color with distinct variations in tone. It might also have a pinkish or yellowish hue.
  • Cedar often has a straight grain pattern with occasional knots, giving it a more uniform appearance. Pine often has more pronounced knots and a more prominent grain pattern. Also, that pattern is typically very irregular or wavy.
  • Most cedar fencing has few surface knots. Additionally, any knots on cedar are generally smaller and less conspicuous than those you might see on pine.
  • Check your fence’s texture. Cedar has a smoother texture compared to pine.
  • Many people can identify cedarwood from its smell alone! Cedar aroma is often described as sweet and woody. Pine also has a strong scent, but you might notice that it’s less sweet and “sharper” than cedar.

Pressure Treated Pine Fence

  • Note if you can feel the weight of a fence board in your hands. Cedar tends to be lighter than pine. You might check these two materials in a lumberyard and then compare how each one feels to your fence.
  • Most pine fencing feels somewhat rough due to its pronounced, irregular grain and knots.
  • Pine tends to have a lighter, pale yellow to light brown color. Also, pine might have less color variation compared to cedar.
  • Have you had to treat your fence for insect damage or decay? Pine often requires consistent treatment or sealant as it offers less resistance to decay and pests than cedar.

What Color Does a Cedar Wood Fence Turn?

Many homeowners prize cedar for its natural reddish tone. In fact, some leave the wood its natural color and just seal it as needed. However, an untreated cedar fence will naturally weather and turn a silver-gray color. Exposure to the elements, particularly sunlight and moisture, speeds up this aging. Contractors often refer to this process as “cedar weathering.”

The Silver Grey Patina of a Cedar Fence

Many people appreciate the silver-gray patina that develops over time. However, if you prefer to maintain the original color of your cedar fence, apply a protective finish as needed. Choose sealants or stains that include UV inhibitors. These slow down the weathering process and preserve the wood's color.


pressure treated pine

How Do I Know Which Wood My Fence Is?

If you’re still not sure what wood your fence is, you can apply a few more tests to find out. First, familiarize yourself with the most common wood species used for fencing in your area. Second, examine the fence closely and look for distinctive color, grain pattern, knots, and texture. Different wood species have unique appearances that can help you narrow down the possibilities.

Ask a Contractor at the Lumberyard

Also, you can compare your fence materials to samples from a lumberyard. Take some high-quality photos of the fence, especially its knots and grain, and bring that with you. An experienced lumber contractor can help you match your fence materials to certain wood species.

Smell the Wood by Scratching

Remember that many woods have a distinctive aroma when scratched. Try scratching a small, inconspicuous area of the fence and smelling the exposed area. You might instantly recognize cedar, pine, evergreen, maple, and the like.

Check for Stickers and Barcodes

Lastly, check your fence for labels or stickers. Even if you find a small sticker with a barcode, this can help identify the material! A nearby lumberyard might recognize various symbols or be able to scan a photo of the code. That information might include the wood species used for your fence installation.

A Word From Our Team About Fencing Materials

Fence Company of Rhode Island is happy to help answer the question, is my fence cedar or pine? Hopefully we’ve helped clear up this issue for you! Also, if you’re in the Providence area, call our Rhode Island fence installation contractors. We offer expert fence installation and repairs, with guaranteed quality and affordable prices. To find out more, reach out to our crew today!


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