How Do You Know If Cedar Is Treated?

How Do You Know If Cedar Is Treated
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Imagine the delightful scent of cedar filling your space, the natural beauty of the wood enhancing your surroundings. Cedar is a popular choice for various applications, thanks to its durability and aesthetic appeal. However, in some cases, cedar wood is treated to enhance its longevity and protect it from pests and decay. So, how can you determine if the cedar you have is treated? In this article, we’ll explore the methods and signs that can help you identify treated cedar wood.

Cedar wood is known for its remarkable qualities, such as resistance to rot, insects, and even fungi. However, there are instances when cedar undergoes treatment processes to further enhance its properties. Understanding whether your cedar is treated or not can be crucial, especially if you have specific requirements or preferences for your project.

How do you know if cedar is treated?

Take a whiff! The chemicals utilized in lumber treatment work wonders in safeguarding the wood. Nonetheless, these very chemicals emit an overwhelmingly potent aroma that’s hard to miss. If you catch a scent reminiscent of oil or gasoline from your lumber, rest assured it has been treated.

Understanding Cedar Wood

Before diving into the methods of identifying treated cedar, let’s gain a better understanding of cedar wood itself. Cedar is a type of softwood known for its rich reddish-brown color and pleasant aroma. It is often used in outdoor furniture, decking, fences, and siding due to its natural resistance to weathering and pests.

Understanding Cedar Wood

Why Treat Cedar Wood

While cedar is naturally resistant to many elements, treating it can provide additional protection and prolong its lifespan. Cedar treatment involves the application of chemicals that seep into the wood, forming a barrier against decay and insects. Treated cedar is often used in areas with high moisture, termites, or other wood-damaging pests.

Methods of Treating Cedar Wood

There are several methods of treating cedar wood, each with its own advantages and applications. Common treatment methods include pressure treatment, surface coating, and the use of preservatives. Pressure treatment involves placing the wood in a sealed container and applying pressure to force the treatment chemicals into the wood fibers. Surface coating methods apply a protective layer on the surface of the wood, while preservatives are directly applied to the wood to prevent decay and insect damage.

Methods of Treating Cedar Wood

Signs and Smells of Treated Cedar Wood

When it comes to identifying treated cedar wood, visual inspection and scent testing can be helpful. Treated cedar wood often exhibits certain signs that differentiate it from untreated cedar. Additionally, the chemicals used in treatment tend to emit distinctive smells.

Visual Inspection for Treated Cedar Wood

One way to determine if cedar is treated is through a visual inspection. Treated cedar wood may appear slightly different from untreated cedar. It may have a greenish or brownish tint, indicating the presence of treatment chemicals. The wood may also have a glossy or oily sheen due to the application of surface coatings.

Visual Inspection for Treated Cedar Wood

Scent Test for Treated Cedar Wood

The scent of cedar is unmistakable, but when cedar is treated, it may emit additional odors that can be detected easily. Treated cedar wood may have a distinct smell, often described as similar to oil, gasoline, or chemical solvents. If you notice an intense, artificial scent when smelling the wood, it is likely treated.


Identifying treated cedar wood can be essential for making informed decisions about its use and maintenance. Through visual inspection and scent testing, you can determine if cedar has undergone treatment to enhance its durability and protection against decay and pests. Whether you’re working on a DIY project or considering purchasing cedar products, knowing the signs of

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