Western Red Cedar and California Redwood are from the same genus and have many similarities. The main difference is that Western Red Cedar has much greater structural integrity for two basic reasons.
First, Western Red Cedar has far greater flexural toughness (able to flex without shattering) than California Redwood. For example, hydro electricity poles are made of Western Red Cedar not California Redwood because vibrations may cause California Redwood to crack.
Second, California Redwood has a higher density than Western Red Cedar and contains more oils. The effect of this is that California Redwood is more difficult to glue, does not retain stain very well, and is easier to split when screws are used to fasten pieces together.
Below is a summary of the benefits of Western Red Cedar:
Western Red Cedar's low density enhances its insulation value and makes it an easy wood to transport and handle.
Western Red Cedar is hygroscopic and will absorb or discharge moisture to attain equilibrium with the surrounding atmosphere. It has a very low shrinkage factor and is superior to all other coniferous woods in its resistance to warping, twisting, and checking. Western Red Cedar's dimensional stability makes it perfectly suited to a variety of uses in high moisture areas.
Western Red Cedar is the best thermal insulator among the commonly available softwood species.
An important acoustical property of wood is its ability to damp vibrations. Western Red Cedar is particularly effective in this regard and can be used to reduce noise or to confine it to certain areas.
Western Red Cedar contains natural oils that act as preservatives to help the wood resist insect attack and decay. Properly finished and maintained, Western Red Cedar will deliver decades of trouble-free service.
Western Red Cedar is light-weight, easy to work, easy to finish, possessing outstanding dimensional stability, Western Red Cedar is a preferred wood for nearly all purposes where attractive appearance or resistance to weather is important.