How can I age cedar fencing to grey?

Written by anna graizbord | 13/05/2017
How can I age cedar fencing to grey?
Cedar is a common type of wood used for outdoor, home fencing. (Monkey Business Images Ltd/Valueline/Getty Images)

Cedar, one of the more sturdy types of wood, is a common material used for home fences. Though cedar wood's colour is light to medium brown, when aged naturally, its colour turns to a silvery grey. Whether you want to match your fence's colour to other outdoor furniture, or you prefer an aged look, there are methods to achieve that look in a relatively short period of time.

Vinegar and steel wool

How can I age cedar fencing to grey?
Steel wool is a part of one method in ageing cedar. (soap pad image by robert lerich from

Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a mason jar and submerge steel wool. Close lid and let sit for two days.

Boil water, and steep teabags in another mason jar. Paint tea over wood panels to prep for the vinegar mixture application, and allow to dry.

Scrub steel wool over wood fence panels, and afterward, clean panels with rags. Cedar will change colour within 30 minutes after scrubbing.

Shoe polish or grey finish

Procure a grey wood finish or shoe polish to paint over wooden fence panels.

Apply polish or finish with a paint brush or shoe polish brush.

Rub polish or finish thoroughly into wood. The more you rub the polish or finish in, the more it will seep in and look more natural. This method is the least difficult and fastest.

Lye-based oven cleaner

How can I age cedar fencing to grey?
Spraying lye-based oven cleaner is another method in making cedar turn grey. (green spray bottle image by Jim Mills from

Spray lye-based oven cleaner over wood panels.

Spray wood panels again with a layer of vinegar.

Allow panels to dry. Lye, a corrosive substance, will do most of the work in stripping the wood to turn it grey. This is faster than the first method with vinegar, as there is no waiting two days.

Things you need

  • Steel wool
  • 2 mason jars
  • Vinegar
  • Tea bags
  • Rags
  • Water
  • Lye-based oven cleaner
  • Grey finish or shoe polish
  • Paint brush
  • Spray bottle

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