Cypress wood furniture takes to the outdoors with durability and a resistance to decay. It doesn’t mind exposure to wet weather or water. Why? Because cypress wood grows beautifully in swampy wet areas. Cypress is a light-colored wood with relatively few knots. Soft, yet strong and highly durable, cypress is easy to work with -- sanding well and readily accepting finishes. Cypress has a preservative oil in its heartwood that makes it naturally resistant to insects, rot, decay and the elements. This makes it a great candidate for outdoor wooden furniture.

Cypress Porch Rockers finished with white paint.

Cypress Outdoor Porch Rocker with White Paint

Amish Handcrafted 6 Piece Cypress Patio Mission Sofa Set

6 Piece Cypress Patio Mission Sofa Set with Spectrum Cilantro Cushions

A water loving wood that grows in swamps along the coast,
It’s light colored and strong and performs outdoors as host,
At resisting decay and standing strong it’s quite good,
Durable, efficient and attractive cypress wood.

The Look of Cypress Furniture

Cypress wood is light colored and has a pale yellow-white sapwood and a reddish brown heartwood. The sapwood of cypress makes up very little of the tree. Some say the darker the color of the heartwood, the stronger the lumber is in resisting decay. In some cypress wood, scattered pockets of darker wood are found. They are darker in color because they have been attacked by fungi. This is called pecky cypress, and it’s quite unique and more expensive than regular cypress furniture.

Cypress wood has a straight wood grain with a medium to coarse texture. This wood grain accepts stains and paints readily. Cypress wood does not have many knots.

Characteristics and Qualities of Cypress Wood

Cypress trees grow slowly and have growth rings that are close together. This makes cypress wood more energy efficient, durable and stable with less shrinkage.

While it’s considered a softwood, cypress wood is strong and durable, and it’s easy to work with when crafting wood furniture. It’s easy to work with hand tools and by machine, and it sands and planes easily. It glues well.

The natural oil in its heartwood reinforces its resistance to rot, decay and the elements. These natural oils make cypress more resistant to splitting and warping.

There’s a distinct odor to cypress wood when it’s cut. This odor goes away when the wood is finished. Cypress is naturally oily and has an almost greasy feeling to it. 

Is Cypress wood a good wood for outdoor furniture?

Cypress wood is a durable, stable wood that is moderately hard and strong and rot resistant. This combination makes it a good choice for outdoor furniture. The golden hues of cypress wood make it an attractive choice as well. Applying a sealer will help maintain cypress’ colors.  It can also be used indoors.

Since cypress trees grow well in water and swampy areas, cypress wood offers great resistance to water. It won’t crack, split or warp when wet.

Cypress has a Janka hardness rating of 510. It is stable and strong wood. It is classified as a softwood, but it is durable and strong.

*The Janka Rating is used to test relative hardness of wood. The Janka test measures the amount of force needed to embed a 0.444” steel ball into the wood to half of the ball’s diameter.

Should You Stain or Paint Cypress Wood?

Cypress wood takes both stain and paint well. The distinct odor of cypress fades after finishing. It finishes nicely, or it can be left unfinished and it will weather to a nice, light gray shade.

What Else is Cypress Wood Used for?

In addition to cypress wood furniture for outdoors, cypress wood is used for:

  • Piers
  • Bridges
  • Boats
  • Siding
  • Doors
  • Cabinets
  • Posts
  • Paneling
  • Caskets
  • Flooring
  • Shingles
  • Docks

The Low Down on Cypress Trees

The cypress tree (taxodium distichum) is also called bald cypress, red cypress, yellow cypress, southern cypress, swamp cypress and various other names. There are nearly two dozen types of cypress trees.

The common name for cypress trees is bald cypress. The bald cypress is the state tree of Louisiana. It has needles instead of leaves that it drops every fall hence, a “bald cypress.”

Bald cypress trees grow slowly. They can grow in a variety of conditions. The average height of a cypress tree can range from 75 to 120 feet with a trunk diameter that ranges from 3 to 5 feet. Old growth trees offer great durability. Some of these first growth trees are over 500 years old and grow up to 150 feet. They are rare, but some are still located sunken in swamps and they are lifted out. Because of this, they are more expensive. Younger cypress trees are more readily available and they offer a good degree of durability.

Cypress trees can grow in standing water. Their roots rise up above the surface of the water. Cypress loves water and absorbs it so much that cypress trees are often planted in flood zones to help control water levels. They are native to the southern United States and they grow well along the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic coast and the edges of rivers. Cypress trees are also popular ornamental trees with large soaring branches and can be found in gardens, parks and yards.

Cypress trees are home to lots of wildlife, housing lots of birds since the branches and needles are sturdy and good for building nests.

The Cost of Cypress Wood

Prices are mid range for cypress outdoor wood furniture. Cypress is readily available which helps keep the cost down.

How to Care for Cypress Wood Furniture

Using a sealer can help maintain the colors of your outdoor cypress wood furniture, but cypress wood also looks good and performs well unfinished, weathering to a light gray color.

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