Understanding “Checking” in Northern White Cedar

Checked CedarIf you have a wooden fence it’s important to understand the wood that was used in the construction of the fence. This will help you do a better job of caring for your fence, and it will give you an idea of what to expect from it.

We, of course, use northern white cedar for all of our wooden fences. We’ve already taken a moment to discuss how cedar weathers to a silvery grey color if you don’t take the time to weatherproof it with an oil based stain (preferably every two years).

Today we want to talk about another issue which gives our customers concern from time to time – cracks that can appear in the cedar over time.

There’s actually a technical term for these cracks. The process is called “checking.” It happens naturally as the wood starts drying out, which can happen if you don’t weather proof it because the sun and wind will leech all of the natural oils out of the wood.

Checking doesn’t really impact the integrity of your fence all that much. Some people even enjoy it, as they feel it gives their fence a rustic flavor – just like some people enjoy the look and feel of naturally weathered cedar.

If you don’t want to see checking make sure you get out there and apply an oil based stain as soon as you can, and keep up with the staining every two years. That will seal the moisture into the wood, which should prevent checking from happening.

Brr, it’s cold out there. But remember, we install fences in Mequon, Fox Point, and the rest of the Milwaukee metro area throughout the winter, so long as the ground isn’t frozen. Call us today for a free estimate on your new wooden fence.

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