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The Ultimate Guide to Cedar Secrets: Unveiling the Grades of Western Red Cedar – From Clear to Knotty – Find Your Perfect Match with Norcross Supply

The company goal for Norcross Supply is that our passion for quality lumber always meets your project’s needs. Western Red Cedar (WRC) is celebrated for its beauty, durability, and versatility. But, have you already discovered that navigating through its various grades and types can feel like a journey through a dense forest?

Fear not! This guide is your compass to understanding the different types and grades of WRC, ensuring you select the perfect material for your next endeavor. (See our Blog Case Study: https://www.realcedar.com/blog/a-case-for-sustainable-multi-family-projects-the-laguna-row-story)

Why Western Red Cedar?

Western Red Cedar is more than just wood; it’s a choice for sustainability, longevity, and natural beauty. Its inherent resistance to decay, moisture, and insect damage makes it ideal for almost any application, from exterior siding and decking to cozy interior paneling. With WRC, you’re not just building; you’re crafting environments that stand the test of time.

Understanding the Grades of Western Red Cedar

#1 Grade Cedar (Clear Grade)

This is the pièce de résistance of cedar grades, offering a uniform appearance with minimal knots and imperfections. Ideal for projects where aesthetics are paramount, #1 Grade Cedar provides a smooth, refined finish that enhances the natural beauty of your work. Whether for high-end exterior cladding or elegant interior accents, this grade speaks the language of luxury.

#2 Grade Cedar

#2 Grade Cedar introduces character with its slight imperfections, including more knots and color variations. This grade offers a beautiful balance between quality and natural aesthetics, making it suitable for a wide range of projects. Think of it as the perfect canvas for fences, outdoor furniture, and structures that aim for a harmonious blend with nature.

#3 Grade Cedar

For the budget-conscious without a compromise on authenticity, #3 Grade Cedar brings rugged charm with its pronounced knots and variations. This grade is your ally for utility projects where functionality trumps form but still maintains that “cedar appeal”. It’s the go-to for areas less seen or where a rustic vibe is desired.

Cedar Siding: Clear vs. Knotty

The choice between clear and knotty cedar siding is one of aesthetics and application. Clear Cedar, free of knots, offers a pristine, uninterrupted look for projects that demand a sleek, contemporary feel. Knotty Cedar, on the other hand, brings a warm, rustic charm perfect for creating cozy, inviting spaces. Both choices celebrate the natural beauty of Western Red Cedar, each telling its own story.

Choosing the Right Grade for Your Project

Selecting the right grade of WRC depends on your project’s requirements, aesthetic preferences, and budget. Consider the visibility of the application, the desired longevity, and the overall design theme. For personalized advice, our experts at Norcross Supply are more than happy to guide you through your selection process, ensuring that your project not only meets but exceeds expectations.

Free of Heart Center (FOHC)

When the timber is cut completely outside of the pith (outside of the “bullseye” of the growth rings, this cedar provides the most stable, strong and beautiful lumber from the tree. It is sawn to exclude the heart center of the tree.


Understanding the grades of Western Red Cedar is crucial in choosing the right lumber for your project. At Norcross Supply, we’re dedicated to providing you with the knowledge and materials to bring your vision to life. With this guide, we hope to have illuminated the path to selecting the ideal WRC grade for your needs. Structurally, it’s the best.

What to do next: Ready to explore the possibilities with Western Red Cedar? Contact Norcross Supply today, and let’s embark on your next project together.

Additional Resources

Visit our product catalog, reach out for expert advice, or come see the beauty of Western Red Cedar in person at our showroom. Your journey to exceptional craftsmanship starts with Norcross Supply.

Council of Forest Industries, http://www.cofi.org/
Canadian Wood Council, http://www.cwc.ca/

About the Author: Grant Carmichael

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