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Port Orford Cedar: The Strongest Cedar in the World

People are often surprised to learn Rick’s doesn’t build decks out of the ever-popular Western Red Cedar. Instead, we use something even better: Port Orford cedar.

Why? Because strength tests have proven it’s the strongest material available for wood deck construction.

Don’t take our word for it
To measure the specific properties of Port Orford cedar, Portland timber company C&D Lumber Co. pitted Port Orford against the other leading woods in a series of strength and hardness tests. The verdict was clear: Port Orford cedar came out on top in all categories, handily beating out other tough woods like Alaskan Yellow Cedar and Incense Cedar.

Where it comes from
Port Orford cedar is native to a narrow, 220-mile strip of land from the northern edge of California into the western coast of Oregon. It’s also known as Port Orford White Cedar, Oregon Cedar, and Lawson Cypress. Once Port Orford cedar was discovered, it quickly became a preferred building material due to its superior strength and ease of use in construction.

Port Orford around the world
Despite its natural scarcity, Port Orford cedar has typically been in high demand for boats and yachts, clothing chests, aircraft components, musical instruments, and high-grade arrow shafts. In Japan and other parts of Asia, Port Orford has traditionally been imported as a material for building temples and homes due to its superior properties.

Why we love it
Port Orford’s natural resilience to decay and ability to handle the toughest of external conditions makes it a standout amongst other types of cedars, especially for the Pacific Northwest. Where other woods will warp, rot or twist when exposed to external conditions for extended periods of time, Port Orford cedar can handle the elements like no other wood material can.

Port Orford’s ability to bend under impact means your deck won’t warp over time due to extended pressure, and its superior crushing strength guarantees outstanding resilience in the face of heavy crashes or drops. Combine this with cedar’s high resilience to warping and weathering, natural insect-repelling oils, and high tolerance for accepting stains, and you can clearly see why Rick’s is proud to say all of our custom wood decks are built using Port Orford cedar—the strongest cedar in the world.

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4 Responses to “Port Orford Cedar: The Strongest Cedar in the World”

  1. Jeff Oberdorfer says:

    What is the best stain for penetrating a Port Orford Cedar 2×6 deck.

  2. admin says:


    A penetrating semi-transparent stain which contains ultraviolet blockers provides the greatest level of protection from the elements. We have developed one of the best stains on the market with UV protectant and mildew resistance. After you lay down Port Orford Cedar decking you need to allow time for the pores of the wood to open up. This process takes about two to three weeks. It is much like the acclimation process with hardwoods. One great way to tell if the decking is ready to accept a stain and the stain will penetrate is to do a water test. Take a small amount of water and apply it on the decking. If you notice the water is staying on the surface in a puddle, the pours have not fully opened. If the water on the Port Orford cedar penetrates into the wood then it is time to stain. We recommend using our own brand of deck stain that we have perfected over 23 years. It is a product that is made in the Northwest for the Northwest.

    You also want to be sure you clean the deck thoroughly prior to staining and apply when the surface is between 40 and 80 degrees.

    I hope this is helpful for you.

    Tyler Overby
    Sales Operations Manager
    Rick’s Custom Fencing & Decking

  3. Dede Wilson says:

    Hi we have a Port Orford cedar deck that was built about 4 years ago….dont think it was ever treated properly. At this point, I want to do whatever I need to do to preserve and maintain it…..what would be the best way to approach this? I live in New England by the way….

  4. Nick Marshall says:

    Hi Dede – The deck needs to be sanded. If it’s only 4 or 5 years old there is fresh, like new wood just 1/8 of an inch or less below the current surface. Then put a thin thin coat of a semi transparent oil based stain on….try to find one with UV inhibitor included. Mesmer’s is a good brand and there are others… might check with a reputable local paint store. Thanks for checking out our website.

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