While cedar stands up to the elements fairly well on its own, putting a seal or a coat of paint on it can enhance the color and protect the wood from inclement weather. Left unstained, cedar’s red hue will fade to gray within about a year. The wood’s structural integrity will remain unless the wood is exposed to excessive moisture, which can cause curling, cracking, and wood rot.
When to Seal Cedar Siding
For best results, seal before applying the siding to the wall. This way you can completely seal the cedar front to back, top to bottom, and around all edges. A full seal is important because any space that is missing sealant is more susceptible to water damage and chemical bleeding. That being said, if you have a smooth cedar plank construction like in the picture above, you should still be able to seal safely.
Cedar has a natural tendency to dry quickly and resist moisture (with proper ventilation) so other pre-installed siding can also still be sealed or painted. If you’re not sure what’s right for your siding, ask a professional.
How to Seal Cedar Siding
If you’re applying sealant to siding that is already installed, it is essential to throughly clean the wood surface being sealed. Pressure washing can damage cedar, so if possible, wash by hand. Wash part of a wall and allow it to dry thoroughly before applying the sealant.
When using paint or solid-colored stain as a sealant, apply a primer so that the coat of seal will completely fix to the wood. Regular stains don’t require primer. Choosing a suitable paint or stain to use on your cedar is one of the most important steps in this process. Spend time researching different products, and ask for a professional opinion if you can. Your best option is probably a resin-based sealer fortified with epoxy or a high-quality paint.
Cover as much of the wood as you can with sealant, using a small brush to get into the spaces between panels if the siding is already installed.
Sealing For Natural Weathering
If you prefer weathered cedar’s grey color but want a more uniform color than what comes naturally, you can seal the cedar using bleaching oils. Leaving your cedar exposed to the elements for weathering can damage the cedar, especially in excessively wet climates.
Possible Side Effects of Sealing Cedar Siding
The main side effect of a botched cedar sealing job is chemical bleeding. Cedar naturally releases chemical extracts when it gets wet. These chemicals darken as the wood dries, leaving streaks that can show up through a layer of stain or paint. The best way to prevent bleeding is with a water tight seal. Use multiple coats of seal if you live in a wet climate.
Consider sealing your new cedar siding to keep it looking like new for longer. With plenty of colors of stain and paint to choose from, you have a ton of new options for decorating the exterior of your home.
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