Articles: Differences Between British and Canadian Cedar

The two different types of Cedar we offer are a great example of how the environment can have a huge impact on your timber. You see both the British and Canadian Cedar are actually the same species (Thuja Plicata) but are both very different.


Canadian Cedar is distributed across the Rocky Mountains and goes South from Alaska all the way down to California. British Cedar is distributed across the UK in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.



There is a major colour difference between the two timbers for starters the British Cedar is a light-Reddish colour with some slight variation but not a lot. Whereas, the Canadian Cedar can be a whole range of colours from an orange through to a purply brown and everything in between.

Knot content

The British Cedar has considerably more knots that the Canadian Cedar and it is rare to get pieces with minimal knots in them. However, the Canadian does have minimal knots and is a very clean timber. You will still get small, infrequent knots though.



Canadian Cedar is more durable and stable than British Western Red Cedar which makes it highly suitable to external use and it doesn’t require treatment. The British Timber on the hand is more susceptible to warping.


Both the Canadian and British Cedar are both good to work with and can be machined well. This makes the pair of them good for external joinery products like cladding. Although, neither of them, are suitable for things like decking as they are too soft.

The Tree

Thuja Plicata is the largest of the Cedar trees and grows from 45m up to 75m tall, the trunk is around 1-2.5m in diameter. The tree tends to grow near stream banks and forested swamp areas and can survive in densely shaded areas.