Western Red Cedar: How to Create the Perfect Finish

Western Red Cedar: How to Create the Perfect Finish

Published on Monday, January 13, 2014

Western Red Cedar Cladding

Our Western Red Cedar is a popular choice for people who are looking for a wood finish for their homes and outhouses. It retains its size, it is durable, resistant to fungal and insect damage naturally, has a long life span and a warm, reddish colour which often complements its surroundings.

When left untreated, Western Red Cedar fades to a beautiful silver grey finish in sunlight, and this change can happen quite quickly, meaning that your new wood can look weathered quite fast. The moist UK climate can mean that the weathering effect can look patchy as this process happens unevenly, with dark grey areas appearing on the wood.

For many, this older look is exactly what they want when they choose cedar for their cladding. However, some people may want to retain the warmer tones that this wood shows when new.

If you leave Western Red Cedar to weather and then decide you want to paint or stain the wood, it can take considerable effort to prepare the wood to a state where this can be carried out.

Different Finishes for your Western Red Cedar

If you want to achieve a uniform grey finish, you can use a commercially prepared bleaching oil or grey stain which will need to be applied periodically.

A solid-colour stain provides an opaque finish which preserves some of the natural characteristics and texture of the cedar wood while obscuring the original colour. This can be used to create a whole new colour for your wood or can be used to mimic the original, non-weathered look. Use a stain-blocking primer first and finish with a 100% acrylic latex-based top coat to maintain the look. Acrylic allows for shrinking and flexing as the wood changes. 

There are ways to preserve Western Red Cedar and keep it looking like new. Using a natural or semi-transparent stain, or preserving oil will keep the wood in optimum condition. Cedar wood is pitch and resin-free, which means that finishes are held very well by the wood as long as they are applied before the weathering process has begun.

If you want to retain the original look of the wood, Duffield Timber offer treated cladding which will keep the wood looking like new for longer. However, this will need maintaining to keep the wood’s warm tones. If you are selecting cedar due to its low maintenance reputation, consider letting the wood weather naturally.