What Are the Problems With Cedar Siding?

Jennifer Blair

When it comes to materials for your home's exterior, few options offer as warm and natural a look as cedar siding. It is an ideal option if you are trying to create a rustic, log cabin-like feel for your home, and it stands out in a neighborhood full of homes with vinyl and aluminum siding.

Cedar siding provides an attractive exterior for your home, but it can be costly.

However, while you may be drawn to cedar's attractive appearace, there are several issues with this type of siding that may not make it a good fit for your home.


One of the main problems associated with installing cedar siding on your home is the cost. Cedar siding costs more than other siding materials such as vinyl, aluminum and other types of wood siding. In addition to the added expense of the materials, cedar siding is more difficult to install than vinyl or aluminum siding, so labor costs are usually higher as well. Like other types of wood siding, cedar siding also has higher maintenance costs than other siding materials.

High Maintenance

Because it is porous and vulnerable to the elements, cedar siding typically requires more maintenance than other siding materials. To keep the siding in good shape, you must seal or repaint it every year. While cedar weathers to an attractive gray color if left untreated, it can begin to deteriorate quickly if it does not have some type of protective coating. In particular, you may notice black mold and mildew growing on your untreated siding, which leads to unsightly stains and discolorations.

Vulnerable to Weather

Cedar siding may not be a good option if you live where it is very damp, cold or hot. In particular, you may want to avoid cedar if you live in the Northeast or the Midwest, where there are freezing winters and hot, humid summers. This type of weather can wreck havoc on cedar siding, which damages easily when exposed to moisture. Depending on the season, your siding may contract or swell, and eventually it can crack and split. Then you need to replace sections of the siding more often, which can raise maintenance costs.

Woodpecker Damage

Another issue with cedar siding is woodpecker damage. Woodpeckers pound on the exteriors of homes in order to attract a mate, warn intruders off their territory and hunt for wood-boring insects. They often target cedar siding because it makes a loud noise when they hammer. Deep holes, scratches and pockmarks may result from the constant pounding. The problem can become even more serious if insects such as carpenter ants or bees begin to inhabit the woodpecker holes and damage the siding.