When it comes to selecting the right materials for your fencing project, cedar fence boards often stand out as a popular choice. Known for their durability, aesthetic appeal, and natural resistance to decay, cedar boards are widely used in various fencing applications. However, one common question that arises is whether cedar fence boards are treated or not. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the properties of cedar wood, the treatment process, and the pros and cons of using treated versus untreated cedar fence boards.

Understanding Cedar Wood

Natural Properties

Cedar wood is renowned for its natural properties that make it an excellent choice for outdoor use. The key attributes include:

  • Durability: Cedar is a durable wood that can withstand the elements, making it ideal for outdoor structures like fences, decks, and siding.
  • Resistance to Decay: One of the most significant advantages of cedar is its natural resistance to decay and insect damage, thanks to the natural oils and tannins present in the wood.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Cedar offers a beautiful, natural finish with its rich colour and attractive grain patterns. It also ages gracefully, developing a desirable silver-grey patina over time if left untreated.
  • Aromatic Qualities: Cedar wood has a pleasant aroma which is not only appealing but also acts as a natural insect repellent.

Common Uses

Due to these properties, cedar wood is commonly used in various applications, including:

  • Fencing
  • Decking
  • Siding
  • Outdoor furniture
  • Garden structures

Are Cedar Fence Boards Treated?

Treated vs. Untreated Cedar

The term "treated" typically refers to wood that has been infused with chemical preservatives to enhance its resistance to decay, insects, and weathering. Pressure-treated wood, for example, is commonly used for applications where the wood will be in direct contact with the ground or exposed to high levels of moisture.

However, cedar fence boards are often left untreated due to their inherent resistance to decay and insects. Here’s a closer look at the two options:

Untreated Cedar Fence Boards

  • Natural Resistance: Cedar's natural oils and tannins provide a level of protection against rot and pests, making untreated cedar a viable option for fencing.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Untreated cedar retains its natural beauty and develops a silver-grey patina over time, which many homeowners find desirable.
  • Less Chemical Exposure: Choosing untreated cedar means there are no added chemicals, making it a more environmentally friendly option.

Treated Cedar Fence Boards

  • Enhanced Durability: While cedar is naturally resistant to decay, treating it can enhance its lifespan further, especially in environments with high moisture or termite activity.
  • Consistent Appearance: Treated cedar can maintain its original colour longer and resist the greying effect caused by UV exposure.
  • Potential Chemical Exposure: Treated wood involves the use of chemical preservatives, which may raise environmental and health concerns for some homeowners.

Factors to Consider

Whether to choose treated or untreated cedar fence boards depends on several factors:

  1. Climate: In regions with high humidity, heavy rainfall, or termite presence, treated cedar may offer additional protection.
  2. Installation Location: If the fence boards will have ground contact or be exposed to constant moisture, treating the wood can help enhance its durability.
  3. Maintenance Preferences: Untreated cedar requires less maintenance in terms of chemical treatment, but you may need to apply sealants or stains to maintain its appearance.
  4. Environmental Concerns: If environmental impact is a major concern, untreated cedar's lack of chemical preservatives may be preferable.

Pros and Cons

Pros of Untreated Cedar Fence Boards

  • Natural Beauty: Maintains the wood's natural colour and grain.
  • Eco-Friendly: No added chemicals.
  • Aromatic Properties: Natural scent that repels insects.
  • Low Maintenance: Requires minimal upkeep in certain climates.

Cons of Untreated Cedar Fence Boards

  • Weathering: May grey over time without treatment.
  • Variable Durability: Less durable in extreme climates.
  • Potential for Rot: Although resistant, still susceptible to decay if not well-maintained.

Pros of Treated Cedar Fence Boards

  • Extended Lifespan: Increased resistance to decay and pests.
  • Colour Retention: Maintains its original appearance longer.
  • Enhanced Protection: Suitable for harsh climates and ground contact.

Cons of Treated Cedar Fence Boards

  • Chemical Use: Potential environmental and health concerns.
  • Cost: Treated wood can be more expensive.
  • Appearance: Some treatments may alter the wood's natural look.


Cedar fence boards offer a beautiful and durable solution for fencing projects. Whether you choose treated or untreated cedar depends on your specific requirements, including climate, installation environment, and personal preferences. Untreated cedar boasts natural resistance to decay and insects, along with a unique aesthetic appeal, while treated cedar provides enhanced durability and extended lifespan.

Ultimately, understanding the properties and benefits of both options will help you make an informed decision that ensures your fence stands the test of time. If you're looking to explore high-quality cedar fence boards and receive expert advice tailored to your needs, feel free to reach out to your trusted local supplier or contractor.

By taking these considerations into account, you can enjoy a beautiful and long-lasting cedar fence that complements your outdoor space and meets your practical needs.