How to Treat Cedar Cladding

Updated November 21, 2016

Cedar cladding or siding is known for its ability to weather the elements and hold a finish. However, it must be treated in an appropriate manner whether it's cleaning, staining, painting or sealing its surface. To make the most of the natural beauty of the wood, preventive measures should be taken, and, when necessary, certain restoration techniques. In particular, surface condition is key before any finishing techniques. Knowing the way to prepare cedar siding is crucial and will make as much a difference in the finish's longevity as the finish selected itself, says the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association.

Prepare cedar cladding for finishing if it's been exposed to the elements for two weeks or longer. This typically means sanding with 50- to 60-grit sandpaper, brushing with a stiff non-ferrous bristle brush and washing with a mild detergent. Textured cedar will not require sanding.

Apply 100 per cent acrylic paint to cedar after first applying a water-repellent preservative and primer. Allow the preservative to dry sufficiently before painting. If two coats of paint are required, allow extra time in cold or humid weather for drying.

Apply water-based preservative as a finish only on bare wood unless it was previously treated with the same product. If it's the only finish, preservatives generally last one to two years.

Apply oil-based penetrating stains or solid-colour stains with a brush, roller or pad. Use primer first, then apply the paint. Two coats give better performance than one, especially if applied after a primer.

Clean discoloured cedar cladding with a mild detergent. Mildew requires more aggressive cleaning with a mildew cleansing agent. Bleach is harmful to the wood surface. Commercial products are available for cedar siding to brighten, clean and restore the wood's surface.

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About the Author

Katlyn Joy has been a freelance writer since 1982. She graduated from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville with a master's degree in writing. While in school she served as graduate assistant editor of "Drumvoices Revue" magazine.