At Heartwood Mills, our number one choice for logs is Northern White Cedar, grown right here in Michigan where our mill is located. Take a look at how Northern White Cedar stacks up against Red, White and Yellow Pine.

Decay & rot resistance

White Cedar
Blessed with natural preservatives, make Cedar one of the most decay/ rot resistant and insect tolerant woods available. Minimal cracking and checking. Cracks will not penetrate the heartwood.

White Pine / Red Pine / Southern Yellow Pine
Not naturally resistant to rot or insects. Kiln-drying typically used to kill existing insects in wood. Requires preservative treatments to prevent future rot and insect damage. However, these treatments lose their abilities once the logs crack, opening up unprotected areas. Large cracks are common, often penetrating the heartwood.


White Cedar
According to a University of Maine study initiated to determine the natural durability of various species of commonly used woods, untreated White Cedar possesses a high natural durability, even underground contact conditions. This finding is proven by the good condition of surveyor’s corner posts and rail fences still serviceable after 50-60 years or more.

White Pine / Red Pine / Southern Yellow Pine
The life expectancy of untreated wood species, (other than Cedar) commonly used in log home construction, with ground contact, range from 3-7 years.

Moisture content

White Cedar
Has less moisture when green (3500 lbs. per cord) which makes it easier to reach desired moisture content levels. Cedar can be naturally air-dried to a 14-16% moisture level in a fairly short time. Air drying allows the wood to acclimate itself to the new moisture level without harming its’ molecular structure.

White Pine / Red Pine / Southern Yellow Pine
Pine averages 4700 lbs. per cord immediately after harvest. The natural character of the wood is to retain moisture and in turn, release it very slowly if it is “forced out” unnaturally, risking possible cell rupture.

Thermal resistance

White Cedar
White Cedar has the highest “R” value of any of the wood species used in log home production. A rating of 1.41 “R” / inch of thickness.

According to the ASHRAE Handbook, the “R” Factor / Thermal Mass Factor of White Cedar is 3.78. (The higher the number, the better.)

White Pine / Red Pine / Southern Yellow Pine
The “R” value of various Pine species used in log production averages 1.12 “R” / inch of thickness.

According to the ASHRAE Handbook, the “R” Factor / Thermal Mass Factor of Pine is 2.76.

Knot bleeding

red-pineKnot bleeding can occur when a knot contains an excessive amount of extractives. In these cases, the extractives consist mainly of rosin, fats and turpentine and these extraneous materials can make up as much as 50% of the knot by weight. The extractive percentage is higher or lower in different wood species. The extractive rich woods are primarily all Pine (especially Red Pine), Western Red Cedar and Incense Cedar.

Kiln drying wood can help reduce knot bleeding in Pine, but it won’t eliminate it. Droplets of pitch will occur in Pine log siding when exposed to direct sun light or rain. The tendency for the knots to bleed will occur for many years, and they have been known to discharge resin for up to 50 years.

Pine log siding will need to be sanded and re-stained to remove the discharged sap. This is an expensive procedure that will need to be performed repeatedly. The average cost to re-stain a house is $2/sq. ft. of wall surface. The cost to strip a house it is at least $2/sq. ft. but often more. When figuring the cost differential between White Cedar vs. Pine you need to consider the additional maintenance Pine requires. This is especially true if the Pine siding knots leak sap. This is a common problem with sun exposed Pine siding, and their knots could leak sap annually for many years.

white-cedarTo date, the best method of preventing extractive bleeding is a combination of good field practice and the use of quality products. Northern White Cedar is often chosen because it contains a very low amount of extractives. When this is combined with our kiln drying process you will not experience any knot bleeding.


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