How to protect cedar wood for outdoors
The commonly used Western Red Cedar is a durable wood that can last for many years without treatment.
This North American softwood species is characterized by its lightweight and durability and is therefore very suitable as wall cladding.
All this does not mean that treatment cannot be useful. What are suitable ways to treat this cedar wood? Then read on!
Western red cedar wood properties
Western Red Cedar is a light pink softwood (not hardwood) from the North American west coast. The best quality Red Cedar comes from the province of British Columbia, Canada.
This wood is loved because of the durability it naturally possesses, which means that the wood is not easily damaged. Insects, as a rule, do not like Red Cedar.
The large growth rings can recognize Western Red Cedar, and these growth rings show the annual growth of the wood.
Red Cedar differs from other softwoods because Western Red Cedar contains no resin.
One of the most important features is that the wood does not shrink or swell quickly with temperature changes. And this makes the wood resistant to moisture absorption and suitable for facade cladding.
Western Red Cedar has durability class 2, meaning it has about 20 to 25 years; this is a big difference compared to Spruce. These softwoods only last 5 to 7 years and fall into durability class 5.
Western Red Cedar uses for outdoor
Red Cedar is used, among other things, for outdoor applications.
Because the wood is light, resistant to moisture, and very durable, Western Red Cedar is very suitable for facade cladding.
It can even be used untreated. In addition, Western Red Cedar has an exceptionally long life.
Western Red Cedar workability
Of all softwoods, Western Red Cedar has the very best properties for processing. Treating Western Red Cedar is, therefore, very easy.
Western Red Cedar can easily be sanded or planed smooth. The wood has a straight thread and an even structure.
Paint or stain will adhere well to the sanded wood. You will also hardly encounter any problems when gluing Cedarwood.
Best exterior finish for western red cedar
Despite the durability of Western Red Cedar, it may be wise to treat Red Cedar with paint, oil, or stain.
A semi-transparent stain can further preserve Red Cedar without affecting the beautiful appearance of the natural wood.
A disadvantage of an opaque stain is that it hides the original wood color, but the structure of the wood remains visible. So choose, for example, an opaque, transparent stain.
This stain needs to be updated more often. Starting to treat Red Cedar wood in time extends its durability.
Are you a fan of a weathered look? Then you can apply a stain that whitens. This can be especially nice on fine sawn cedar wood.
By using bleaching stain regularly, you contribute to the even graying of Red Cedarwood.
Paint Western Red Cedar in any desired color.
Important to apply at least two layers during treatment and sand the wood before and after the first layer. The moisture can adapt to the environment, so you should wait at least six weeks.
Does Western Red Cedar need lacquer?
This choice is up to you, but in principle, this will not be necessary because Cedar wood is sustainable by nature.
This makes the wood last longer and discolors, and becomes silvery gray if you do not treat it. However, we can advise you to treat Western Red Cedar, further increasing durability and preventing aging.
Do you like the original drawing and color? Then a transparent stain is recommended.
Aging Western Red Cedar
Unfortunately, Western Red Cedar rarely ages evenly. This is due to weather conditions and the wood that is not well protected.
The unevenly grayed wood looks variegated and blotchy. If you choose a paint that mimics aging, the wood will gray evenly. You can choose a transparent/grey white stain for this.
Removing Stains in Western Red Cedar Wood
Stains in the red cedar wood often do not look nice. These stains are usually just dirty and can be cleaned with a mild detergent. In addition, ‘scribing’ can occur.
A kind of fine powder appears on the surface, which means that the paint has had its day. Repainting is the solution for this.
Some fungi can also cause stains in the wood, although the chance of this is small with this sustainable type of wood. If you do suffer from mold, you can use a fungicide.
How should I maintain Western Red Cedar?
Although Western Red Cedar itself has high durability, the lifespan can be extended even further by keeping the wood in top shape.
Maintenance also ensures that the Western Red Cedar wood continues to look beautiful. Cedarwood that is less exposed to weather influences needs less care than wood that does catch wind or weather.
Red Cedar is best maintained by checking it often for the condition of the wood.
Then the choice can be made if something needs to be repaired or if it needs to be finished with paint or stain. The life of fine sawn cedar can be extended with opaque paint. An alternative to this is an opaque stain.
Use pigmented stain for this because this stain inhibits the harmful effects of UV radiation. Do not wait too long with new layers of paint or stain.
The maintenance of Western Red Cedar thus extends its life.
By taking care of the wood in the right way, you save on high repair costs, and the special appearance of the wood is preserved.
When treating Red Cedar, we always recommend using a good oil or stain with an open system. The best options are Teak and linseed oil, best for Bankirai or walnut or, for example, the color larch. When choosing a stain, it is best to go for a transparent variant.
How to remove stains in cedar wood
Stains in red cedar wood will not make your home more beautiful. They can have various causes. Often it’s just dirt. If you clean periodically and use a mild detergent, the wood will look good again in no time.
In addition, extraction residues in the wood can cause a secretion that stains the stain. Cleaning can also be the solution, but sometimes a normal product is not enough and needs something stronger.
Be careful with the potentially harmful oxalic acid.
Another cause of iron stains is red cedar. “Cutting” also occurs: a kind of fine powder then appears on the surface. This is a sign that the stain has seen better days.
Then consider re-staining. Mold can also cause stains, although we don’t see that much with the naturally mold-resistant red cedar. If there is mold, use a fungicide.
Is processing red cedar easy, or does it take a lot of effort?
If you want to plan or sand it smooth, you can hardly wish for a better type of wood. Cedar wood is straight-grained and has an even structure.
The density is low. Because of all these factors, processing the wood requires little energy.
Even if you want to glue the wood, you will hardly encounter any major problems. Sanding is usually easy, and after that, the stain adheres well.
Is painting red cedar necessary?
Red cedar is naturally sustainable. So it lasts a long time and will turn to silver-gray on its own if you don’t treat it.
However, we often recommend treating red cedar, which further increases durability and controls the discoloration process.
To keep the original color and wood grain, we recommend a transparent stain.
Three coats are recommended for best results. It is best to sand by hand before and after the first two coats.
Staining should be repeated every two to five years.
You can also choose to varnish red cedar. Any color is possible. Always apply at least two layers and sanding in between.
Opaque stain lasts longer than stain, so it requires less maintenance. Please note that painting is not the same as opaque staining. Opaque stains hide the grain entirely and provide the most UV protection.
Can I stain red cedar with outdoor stain?
There is a clear difference between garden stain and outdoor stain. Garden stain usually refers to a highly moisture-regulating stain.
This is applied to wooden sheds, fences, garden furniture, and other specific garden wood.
The outdoor stain has less moisture-regulating properties, but other qualities protect the wood well against extreme weather influences.
You use exterior stain for window frames, exterior doors, and wooden cladding. For red cedar maintenance, it is best to use outdoor stains.
But if your garden shed is red cedar, we recommend garden stain.
The difference between garden stain and outdoor stain can mainly make a difference in durability. Something to think about ahead of time!
Why staining red cedar?
Staining red cedar can also be used with an opaque stain. This prevents the formation of a variegated whole during the aging process, with spots in various shades of gray. Opaque stain is available in various colors.
This means that you can give an even color to your red cedar facade and determine how the wood looks.
You can obtain an even color by applying two or three layers of stain. Opaque stain provides exactly the protection that red cedar needs.
If you are going to stain red cedar, you will, of course, follow all the usual steps. To remove bad parts and repair where necessary.
Lightly sand the wood, clean, and then apply the first coat. This will be recorded quickly. That is why a second coat is necessary for an even covering layer on your red cedar facade.