Should we paint cedar closet and pantry?

zelariJune 1, 2009


We are moving into a new house...hopefully....soon. (closing has been pushed back 3 times.) The home is older (built in the 40s) has a large master closet which is all cedar and also a cedar pantry. The cedar looks to have been added more recently. The walls are cedar, the shelves, etc. It's all cedar. The property is a 5 acre country property so maybe there are more bugs around than the average home.

I don't like the cedar and I want to paint both the closet and the pantry. They just feel too dark and rustic. I want something that has a fresher, cleaner feeling but I worry they made them cedar for a reason and I may have regrets. What are the benefits to keeping the closet or pantry completely bare cedar?

Thank you!

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Here's an article you might find helpful:
How Valuable Are Cedar Closets For Protecting Your Clothes?

If you do opt to paint it, you'd probably need an oil-based primer/sealer due to the tannin in the cedar wood. It would probably bleed through latex (water based) primer and ultimately goober up a paint job. Paint Forum here could give you some good tips on that.

Not a lot of info, but hope it helps ;)

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 12:06PM
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Why would you want to paint a cedar closet? A light sanding, and it's useful again. While cedar alone won't repel moths, it's a nice grace note in a house. Once you paint it, you've destroyed whatever benefits it ever had.

The pantry-- I dunno. I don't think I'd care for a cedar pantry, but if it suits the rustic charm of the house, I'd probably leave it for a while, to see if I could live with it.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 12:12PM
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The cedar closet and pantry may have been added not to repel bugs, but because they were trendy at the time. Like a Jacuzzi in the 1990's, LOL.

If you intend to live in the house forever, go ahead and paint it. You only have yourself to please. It will be a lot of work, though, because raw cedar bleeds like crazy when you paint it.

But if you intend to sell the house at any point, think hard. A cedar closet and pantry are a definite plus when selling a house.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 12:19PM
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Oh, no, don't paint it!
If you clean and sand it lightly, you will bring back the cedar smell. I spent a little bundle to have one added to our basement remodel, and I think it was part of the reason we sold fast and at full price.
And cedar doesn't like to be painted, and resists, even with the best primers and paints.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 4:06PM
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Thank you for all of the input. I will hold off on the plans until we're there and I see if I can live with it. It just feels too dark and rustic. I prefer the clean, fresh feeling and really would rather them both to be painted white. This will be our forever house and we plan to be in the property for a long time so I'm not as concerned about resale at this time. Considering how hard it is to paint over, it may not be worth the hassle.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 8:07PM
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I am going to go buy some kind of cedar oil. I saw a moth flying near my wool suits the other day. This is why you should NOT paint the cedar walls. It's the same reason they used to store clothes in a cedar chest, the cedar preserves the clothes and keeps the moths away. Moths will eat some nice holes in your wool sweaters.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 9:12PM
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Why don't you line the pantry shelves with white shelf paper (removeable of course) or the rubber mat type of liner. That will at least brighten up the shelves.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 9:19PM
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I love the idea of lining the shelves. Thank you for the idea! Sometimes the path of least resistance is best!

I've never ever had an issue with moths in my clothes but I've also never lived in the country. I don't know if that will make a difference or not. We're definitely in for a new adventure. :)

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 9:30PM
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I know this is an older post, but Wow, I'm amazed that someone thought that making cedar closets and pantries were done so just because they were "trendy." No, they were necessary! And still are depending where you live! Moths/flying pests get into your pantries and lay eggs in flours. Mealworms are from those. Cedar keeps them away. Moths will destroy your clothing, especially in an older house, in the country! She was lucky to have had those in the house, and I hope she didn't paint over them, it would ruin the cedar. A little cedar oil would freshen them right up.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 1:56AM
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