Exterior sealer/finish for Rough Sawn Cedar?

andi_kMay 8, 2012

We are putting rough sawn cedar planks on part of our new build. Anyone know if I need to put a sealer on it? I considered the Waterlox marine finish, but I think this gives a high gloss look and I really just want a matte finish.

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Ah - a subject near and dear to my heart. I can't tell you what to do, but I can tell you one thing not to do...

Our house is rough-sawn cedar and the previous owners/builders decided that a clear wood finish would preserve the beauty of the cedar in perpetuity rather than staining it or letting it weather naturally gray. The problem is that you cannot apply this finish over itself. The manufacturer (Flood) recommends completely stripping the old finish before re-applying. Yeah right.

So - whatever you decide to use - make sure that it can be re-applied over itself. Stains with some pigment in them tend to have better UV protection than the clear coats and last longer - paint will last the longest.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 3:49PM
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We stained our rough cedar, but I don't remember them using anything afterwards. We've been in almost 7 years and DH restained recently, and I know he didn't go back with anything else.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 10:24AM
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DH said the painters used sanding sealer on the interior beams when we built. It is not glossy, but does give it a little sheen when the light hit the right way. I remember the builder said it would help keep dust from settling. The "shine" isn't as noticeable now - you have to look to see it.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 9:11AM
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If paint, my understanding is that Alkyd, oil base primer is best practice to prevent tannin bleed common with cedar. You can then use a high quality latex primer, personally I love the Ben Moore Aura.

For stain, Semi-Transparent seems to be the best choice and Ive been having great success with Sikkens Cetol. The darker the pigment, the better the protection and fewer times you will need re-coating. You could use a lighter shade on Northern walls but for South and West, the dark color can extend needed maintenance by years.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 4:34PM
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Thanks for all the feedback!

The cedar is rough sawn 10" planks that will be used as exterior siding. We will probably want to stain it a dark brown color as we are going for an old log cabin look.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 1:28PM
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