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Cedar vs. Pine – Which Is Best for Outdoor Furniture?

Are you considering purchasing a new outdoor dining set to enjoy Southern California’s great weather? Or are you planning to build a garden bench to relax on while enjoying your morning coffee? You might prefer the natural look of wood furniture, but it can be tricky to find durable outdoor options. What might look great inside your home may not last very long outside exposed to the elements.

Whether you’re building new furniture or planning to buy wood pieces, you may find yourself torn between cedar and pine, both popular wood options for furniture. Cedar and pine have great qualities, but which is best for outdoor furniture? Read below as our team at Teak Master shares a few things you need to know before you make your choice.

What You Should Know About Cedar Wood

Outdoor swinging chair on a front porch

Image by James Garcia is licensed with Unsplash License

No matter the type of cedar you choose, you’ll notice some benefits of using this wood for furniture. For one, many people like the color of the wood, typically a lighter brown with red streaks. Cedar has a great appearance but may have some weaknesses when you place it outside.

Great Workability

One benefit of cedar is its ability to hold nails, screws, and glues. If you’re building your own furniture, you’ll appreciate how the wood holds up to tools. Cedar also bends well with steam, which makes it quite versatile. Cedar is a strong option, even if you’re new to building furniture.

Strong Durability

Cedar doesn’t break as easily as other types of wood, making it a durable furniture option. It’s great for pieces such as outdoor tables, chairs, shelves, and more. You’ll find that the wood can bend more than other options but is less prone to warping.

Low Maintenance

This wood doesn’t require much maintenance, so it’s a great outdoor choice. You may want to wash it occasionally with mild soap and a rag, and you can also clean stains or mildew from outdoor use with a mixture of mild bleach and water. While cedar is durable, it won’t stand up to power washing.

Solid Outdoor Performance

With outdoor furniture, it’s important to pay attention to how quickly a type of wood rots. Cedar doesn’t rot or decay as easily as other types of wood. It also contains natural oils that prevent bacteria and fungus growth. So you can put it outside with little worry that the outdoors will damage it.

What You Should Know About Pine Wood

Pine is also durable and easy to build with. Plus, there are over 120 varieties of pine you can play with to create different types of outdoor furniture. This wood is often yellowish or reddish, making it a versatile option in terms of appearance. You might choose this kind of wood for a variety of projects, from tables to chairs. Pine is super smooth with an even texture, so you can end up with some beautiful pieces.

Medium Workability

Pine is a soft wood, so it’s easy to work with. It holds glue well but can be difficult to sand, so you might struggle to get your furniture smooth enough to sit on without getting splinters. Of course, you can largely ignore this issue if you’re buying pine furniture elsewhere, as it’s likely to come already sanded. Just keep in mind that if you must sand down these pieces in the future, it may be more challenging than cedar.

Reduced Durability

Pine isn’t the most durable or strongest material. It may not hold up as well as cedar, especially if you set something heavy on a chair or table. You may need to add more support to ensure your outdoor pieces are as strong as you want them to be. Staining your furniture will also help it last longer.


Regular cleaning can help reduce some of the challenges pinewood poses. You can clean pine furniture with water and wood soap for most dirt and grime. You’ll need to avoid some materials, including silicone and all-purpose cleaning solutions.

Lower Outdoor Performance

Pine is often the perfect choice for indoor furniture, but that doesn’t always translate to outdoor furniture pieces. Pine is more susceptible to rot and decay. To make your pine more durable, you may need to opt for pressure-treated pinewood.

Cedar vs. Pine

When it comes to choosing a suitable wood for your outdoor furniture, cedar and pine both have advantages and disadvantages. Both options will look gorgeous outside, but the real questions emerge when you try to determine how you’ll take care of the wood and how long it’ll last. Ultimately, cedar is the better option, whether you’re building or buying outdoor furniture.

You can put cedar furniture outside, but the sun can cause it to lose its color. The good news is that furniture pieces will stay cool even in the heat. Cedar is comfortable throughout the year and won’t rot as quickly in humid weather as other types of wood. It’s easy to maintain, so it’s a popular option. The biggest downside to using cedar for outdoor projects is that it can be more expensive than other woods, including pine.

Pine rots more easily than cedar, and it’s also trickier to work with if you’re building furniture. If you use pine wood, you may need to spend more time maintaining and checking it. So you may want to forgo pine or use it only in areas that tend to stay dry, such as a covered porch. You might also invest in outdoor furniture that you can bring inside when you aren’t using it.

Wood Can Be Tricky

If you aren’t sure what kind of wood to use for your next project, you may want to ask for help. At Teak Master, we understand the impact of wood restoration, and we know that taking care of your outdoor furniture is crucial to having a comfortable and peaceful yard or patio. If you have questions about wood, our trained wood artisans may be able to help.

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