Canada Wood Today | The Canada Wood Group

Western Red Cedar Fitting in the UK

Patrick Cooper

By Patrick Cooper

Market Development Coordinator, Canada Wood UK

September 19, 2011

The Western Red Cedar Export Association and Canada Wood UK have worked together to develop Canadian exports of western red cedar. A design-led marketing initiative successfully translated into mainstream demand in the UK. The principal use for cedar has been as exterior cladding, and opportunities remain to extend its scope of application, such as for interior fitting. 

A crucial element of marketing has been to advise specifiers about the potential for colour change, and of ways to prepare for and manage that change. It is vital that customers are made properly aware of the fact that cedar will turn silver grey, chocolate brown or even black on exposure to rain, sun and air-borne particulates, and informed about the role that coatings and maintenance regimes can play in managing transition. Most of all, it is important that buyers have realistic expectations so as to avoid any disappointment with their product. Too many brochures show freshly installed wood, and not the attractive colours that will prevail subsequently in most circumstances. 

We have been informed of occasions where planning permission has been denied to builders intending to install western red cedar exterior cladding left uncoated. The application of some coating on freshly cut cedar maybe advisable and desirable in many instances, but the fact that planners are resorting to a degree of enforcement implies some level of disenchantment. 

Experience shows that effective marketing must be supported by complementary education and technical support.