Cedar is not actually a cedar, but belongs in the Cupressaceous family, along with cypresses. It is known by many names, Pacific red cedar, British Columbia cedar, canoe cedar, giant cedar, or just red cedar. Licata, the species name, derives from a Greek word meaning "folded in plaits", a references to the pattern of its small leaves. It is one of two arborvitaes native to North America. Arborvitae comes from the Latin for "tree of life". Coincidentally, Native Americans of the West coast also address the cedar as "long life maker". Cedar trees have been very important to humans for hundreds of years. Cedar trees were used by natives to make canoes and other boats. The wood of cedar trees was also used to make weapons, boxes, bowls and baskets. The bark of cedar trees was used to make blankets, capes and costumes.
The western red cedar is a large evergreen tree, ranging between 40 to 150 feet (12 to 45 meters) tall and up to 22 feet (7 meters) in trunk diameter. Trees growing in the open may have a crown that reaches the ground, whereas trees densely spaced together will exhibit a crown only at the top, where light can reach the leaves. It is long-lived; some individuals can live well over a thousand years, with the oldest verified being 1460 years. Cedar trees grow in the Pacific Northwest of North America where weather is damp, and where fungus, microorganisms, and insects subject trees to destructive conditions. The cedar tree have developed self-protective qualities that allow the tree to fend off insects, rot and temperature related stresses. That makes cedar wood very useful as home building material where humidity, temperature, and cracking are a common problem.
Cedar is a light, porous type of wood. This gives it a good insulating value perfect for use as a great building product. Cedar has remarkable dimensional stability. This means the wood doesn't change its size or dimension despite weather, humidity or temperature conditions. Many types of wood will warp when subjected to moisture, but cedar stays straight and flat which makes it perfect for manufacturing Cedar Brackets, Cedar Braces, Cedar Corbels, Cedar Rafter Tails, Cedar Gable Brackets, Cedar Screen Doors, Windows Shutters, Pergolas, Gazebos, Cedar Decks and more. Cedar stands up to moisture, resisting rot and resisting insect damage better than other woods. Cedar products can be left without a finish or paint applied, however it will need periodic maintenance. In some cases, homeowners want their cedar building products to be stained or painted in order to match their home's decor.