Nature’s Best…Northern White Cedar Logs
Mountain Creations Log Homes has chosen only Northern White Cedar (NWC) as the primary wood of our log home packages because of its many aesthetic and molecular advantages. The USDA Forestry Division ranks it as one of the three best woods to use in exterior building. NWC has the lowest shrinkage factor, lowest moisture content, and requires very little maintenance. NWC is one of the most versatile woods available. Its molecular structure gives it high thermal efficiency, and in fact, it has the highest R-Factor of all domestic woods which means the best insulating qualities for your new log home. Cedar is one of the only three woods allowed by National BOCA Code to be used to build a deck or porch without pressure treating for rot, decay, fungi, and wood infesting insects.
Northern White Cedar, NWC, ranks very high among the twenty-six species of woods used to build log homes. The softwood, known scientifically as Thuja Occidentalis, also goes by arbovitae, or simply Cedar. It is produced in the greatest quantities in Canada, Maine, and the Great Lake States. All though it is a difficult tree to harvest, its many aesthetic and structural advantages make up for this.
According to the USDA, “the wood’s light weight and resistance to decay makes it useful for a number of applications [including cabin homes]. The heartwood is resistance to decay and subterranean termites, is easy to work with…and has little dimensional change. Drying of Northern White Cedar is easy. It has little tendency to shrink or warp.”
NWC grows in damp swampland and can be harvested only when the winter's chill freezes the ground sufficiently to support the weight of the loggers and their heavy equipment. Even with the most determined effort and the longest winter, loggers manage to fell barely half the NWC trees that are ready to harvest each year.
NWC is an extremely slow growing tree. It is only available in small diameters. The wood is one of the most versatile. Its molecular structure gives it a high thermal efficiency. It is nearly impervious to insects, rot, and fungi. It requires little maintenance, it is easy to handle, dimensionally stable, and as durable as it is beautiful. The heartwood is light brown, and the sapwood is thin and white. The wood is lightweight, rather soft, and low in strength and shock resistance. It shrinks very little in drying.
Our logs are composed of heartwood rather than sapwood. The heartwood lies inside the sapwood. It was once sapwood, but now consists of inactive wood cells that have been changed both chemically and physically, so that they no longer conduct sap.
Although the transition from sapwood to heartwood has no effect on the cellular makeup of strength of the wood, the process does produce extractives that usually render the heartwood slightly darker in color and more decay resistant than sapwood.
Besides log home construction, NWC is used to make tanks, poles, ties, posts, lumber, and decorative fencing. Cedar is one of only a few woods that can be used outdoors for decks and furniture instead of pressure treated lumber because of its long life, durability, stability, and resistance to rot, insects, and fungi. Why would you build your dream log home with any other species?
Northern White Cedar Links & References