fnmroberts - Need your help please
Hi fnmroberts - I am wondering if you can help me. :) I have followed your post about your pergola and recommendations. The following photo is a preview of our pergola project which is finally becoming a reality after a few years of dreaming and planning. I am not ready to reveal the entire project, but will be very excited to do so since I have received help from this board. So, like with most dreams, the plan is not coming together as smoothly as I had hoped. We have had ups and downs on every aspect of this project, but it does seem to finally be coming together.
Here's what we have:
Smooth special cut red cedar (boy, does it smell good!)for the pergola structure, and lumber yard smooth cut (mostly clear)whiter cedar for the screened porch. Some pieces are smoother than the others, with the most rough cedar being on the outside of the screen porch post. Still a smoother finish, but with a few knots. Not sure why the carpenter used them, but what's done is done. The interior of the porch post are super smooth.
OK, I went to Sherwin Williams to buy the semi-solid oil stain that you recommended because I had a gift card there. They could not match the color that I wanted in the semi transparent, and tried to talk me into the Latex stain(we want to use a light tan/gray.) I refused saying that I had read against it (thinking about you.) They were able to match my color to the Solid Oil Based Stain. I bought one gallon and came home to do more research. I have to say at this time that I told my contractor that he should line his painter up ahead of time to give the wood a once over before hanging. Both the painter and the carpenter said it was not necessary and the carpenter had the structure half way up before I got home from SW!
Now, I am reading conflicting recommendations on how to protect our cedar. Some say that smooth cut cedar needs to rest a year before putting anything on it. The reason being is because when it is milled smooth, it leaves a glossy finish that water actually beads up on. No stain, oil or Latex, can penetrate. That's true with some of ours, especially the boards on the inside of the porch. It is said that although an oil based solid or semi solid stain will look great when applied, it is really not soaking into the wood on these smooth cut surfaces. Come spring, water will start leeching out and push the solid stain off.
Others say to treat ASAP, but if the wood will not hold the stain, we do not want to create a problem. Also, I read that a Latex could be better because it prevents the mildew that an oil stain attracts.
Of all the post I have read from you, you did not mention what type of cedar that you had, or whether it was weathered before you stained. Also, although you mention transparent oil based stain, yours sure does look like a solid stain. I am not seeing any woodgrain showing through. How has your pergola held up? Any advice for me? Anyone else?
PS - I would really like to paint the porch post a satin paint finish instead of using the pergola stain. We will be painting the outside columns. I know you said that painting cedar is not advisable on horizontal surfaces. Would the same run true for mostly protected horizontal surfaces?