The top 5 reasons to get a cedar privacy screen for your deck, lawn, or patio come down to cost, aesthetics, speed, durability, and of course privacy!
We All Need A Little Privacy
Let’s look at the main reason, regardless of what material you choose to use, privacy is key. If you have a backyard just calling to you to come to hang out and enjoy the outdoors, one of your concerns may be that you would really prefer for your neighbours to not be able to have a front-row seat to your life and to avoid becoming their favourite local reality show!
All kidding aside, a simple structure can make all the difference to your own comfort level and really contribute to the feeling of being able to fully enjoy your home.
If you want to suntan in an itsy bitsy bikini or walk around shirtless, this one small addition to your outdoor living space can give you that. For a yard that is in a neighbourhood that doesn’t have any fencing or walls a screen or two can allow you to use your lawn with a degree of comfort knowing that the sightline is broken.
For your own sake as well, this can allow you to block out an unsightly plot of land next to your home, whether it is a neighbour’s yard or a concrete parking lot.
If you have a fenced yard but have an elevated deck or pool area, installing a privacy screen can also be a key factor for you to give yourself the gift of personal space.
Add a few potted plants or even build a planter directly into the screen structure and you can break a lot of sightlines.
If you need a new deck, check out the pros and cons of building a cedar deck for your home.
Durability Crafted by Nature
While wood structures will always need care and maintenance, cedar is a wood that nature itself built for durability. Many hardwoods are actually very difficult to work with whereas cedar is a durable material that is a little easier to work with.
Let’s get all ‘science-y’ for a moment. A great example is the Western Red Cedar whose fibres contain a natural compound called Thujaplicin that acts as a natural preservative against insects and pests, making the wood extremely long-lasting. Properly finished, Western Red Cedar will last for decades, even in harsh environments.
The chemical makeup of cedar in general contains several natural antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties that can prevent decay from occurring or progressing as easily in cedar as they do in other woods.
These same chemicals also make it impervious to normal wood pests, such as bores and termites. This gives cedar a natural preservative factor that acts to keep the wood intact.
There is a reason generational keepsakes are stored in Hope Chests lined with cedar, and closets may be lined with cedar or simply have chips popped inside in sachets for protection against insects!
Wood density is a measurement of how closely packed the grain is, and the low density of cedar allows it to maintain constant moisture content and repel water.
The moisture in wood is a major conductor of decay, and wood with a higher moisture content will absorb water more readily and hold it longer, breaking down the fibres and promoting rot.
Cedar does not easily absorb moisture and dries out faster than most other woods, so comparatively, even exposed to the harsh weather and the elements, a structure made of cedar will outlast other untreated softwoods by years.
These features also allow cedar to maintain its ‘dimensional stability’, this is talking about wood’s natural tendency towards swelling, splitting and warping due to exposure to weather.
In cedar, these reactions are minimized and it will not split or crack as quickly as other woods, and fasteners will stay tight longer, making cedar an ideal wood for outdoor construction in any climate.
If properly sealed and maintained, a cedar element can last for an extremely long time, maintaining its beauty as well.
The Beauty of Cedar
Remember, we mentioned that funny-sounding naturally occurring chemical compound? Well, this compound also gives the wood its distinct aroma. Those closets and Hope Chests always have a delicious smell and can trigger warm memories of home.
The look of the grain of the wood and its naturally occurring, warm colour only needs a clear varnish to provide a gleaming beautiful accent piece to enhance any space, however, cedar also takes stains beautifully and the polished wood gleams richly.
Aside from the natural beauty of the wood itself, creating a privacy screen from scratch can allow a lot of personalization of the space or the piece itself. For example, you may want to go with a simple slatted wall and stain it a beautiful colour.
On the other hand, you may have the idea that you would like the privacy screen to go beyond its simple, natural beauty and double as the back of a bar and have shelving, incorporate built-in seating for storage, or include planters to enhance the spot with beautiful greenery or flowers.
Working with wood can allow for a lot of beautiful, signature, and customized areas. The gorgeous finish of cedar only helps make that space look even more luxurious.
Style with Speed
Like any home improvement project, the specifics of the job will dictate how long the actual project lasts. For example, if you purchase the wood pre-cut, are purchasing raw materials which need to be measured and cut before installation, or even need to clear out vegetation before proceeding, your project to build a privacy screen can vary greatly. Add to that if you wish to add special features like built-in seating, or planters.
However, cedar is not a hardwood and therefore easier to work with, and if you get your elements done by a professional team like Mississagua Decks and Trim, you will be amazed at just how quickly your new feature in your home can be ready for you to enjoy.
Although a simple privacy screen made of cedar can be erected in a day or two, be aware that additional accents could make the job take a lot longer. However, odds are, even with accents, this is a feature that you will be able to enjoy fairly quickly after you’ve made the decision to build it.
While cedar can last a fairly long time without being sealed, and some even enjoy the weathered look, staining and sealing can maintain the rich look of the wood and increase the lifespan of the project by years.
Once erected a privacy screen or fence should be allowed approximately two months to dry and cure properly before applying the stain and sealant to ensure that the wood properly absorbs the treatment.
Cost of a Cedar Privacy Screen
Again, how elaborate your project is will determine costs, as well as what your aesthetic is and immediate out-of-pocket installation costs. Vinyl or composite materials can be more expensive as a purchase upfront compared to wood, but less costly over time.
Then again, vinyl and composite have a specific look and if it’s wood you want, cedar is a great middle-ground for those looking to save money now and in the long run.
Exotic hardwoods are extremely durable and can stand the test of time but are a more expensive material and more labour intensive therefore upfront costs will be higher than cedar.
Pressure-treated wood may come at a lower initial cost but the maintenance costs can be prohibitive and time-consuming.
Cedar tends to hit the sweet spot of being beautiful, durable, affordable and providing a fairly low-maintenance option for those who want to use wood for their outdoor structures.
Choosing to install a privacy screen versus an entire fence can also be a great way to save money, after all, when looking at a small structure like a cedar privacy screen, the comparative cost becomes fairly low overall between the materials and labour.
Have a look at Mississauga Decks and Trim’s various privacy screen styles – it’s a long list, and we can further tailor any design to your specifications.
If you don’t see a screen best suited to your needs in MDT’s list, go ahead and send us a picture of one you like and we will replicate it for you!
If you’re not sure where to start, simply reach out to us and we will work with you to design the perfect privacy screen or any other structure best suited to your needs.