Your Guide to Western Red Cedar Cladding Grades

Western Red Cedar

Is there anything sharper and more contemporary than Western red cedar cladding? For a look that combines the warmth of natural material with clean, simple and contemporary lines you can’t get better.

Even if you know that you want cedar, timber industry terms are mystifying for both professionals and new comers alike. One thing that can be particularly confusing are the different grades on offer. At Thorogoods we have two available, vertical grain superior select and pure number 2 clear and better. Both have their merits, and knowing what each grade gives you in terms of colour, dimensions and knot-content helps cut through the jargon and make the right decision.

Or are you already a cedar expert? Maybe you already know your fast-grown from slow-grown? Perhaps you know already why coastal stock is better than interior material? Possibly you can identify a proper, slow grain, coastal board like ours from 150 yards… if you can then well done you, you need read no further.

If all of that sounded like gobbledygook then read on.


On the whole western red cedar exhibits a beautiful spectrum of colours, from a deep blood-red through to purplish brown… but who wants a stripy house? Both our superior select and number 2 clear are consistently coloured grades, with less variation than from other suppliers. This is because they are both drawn from coastal stock, the crème-de-la-crème of cedar cladding. That’s not to say there won’t be some colour difference, it’s a natural material after all, but you’ll see a lot less then you might expect – particularly after it’s had a chance to weather!


As standard, machined cedar cladding is produced from 1” x 6” sawn timber. The same is true for both of our cedar grades, though in the number 2 we can offer planks cut from 1” x 4” where narrower planks are desired. In order to produce a consistent grade, the superior select comes in a mixture of plank lengths. This assortment is perfect for working around windows and doors as well as offering a good number of longer lengths. The number 2 is offered in more consistent lengths. In either case, speak to one of our salespeople to find out what sizes are available to suit your specification at the point of order.

Knot-content and grain orientation

All trees have branches, so no timber can be offered free of knots, but the number 2 cedar comes bloody close. Occasional pin-size knots will be visible, but the overall grade will be close to clear. In the superior select VG a few more knots will turn up, some of which you may even wish to trim out, though not many. On the whole boards will be supplied clear and, best of all, vertical grain only. This specific grain orientation will make for a better quality, more stable product with a subtle, unobtrusive figure.

So which grade is best for you?

If you still aren’t sure, then why not pick up the phone and have a chat with one of the sales team? We’re here for you, and can help guide you through the choices on offer to make sure you get exactly what you want. Or read on for more information about our wonderful cedar here.

Guides | 4 years AGO