How? When? and Why? Should I protect my cedar project are great questions that are repeatedly brought up when cedar is the choice made for your project. Cedar wood only needs to sit before staining if it is still holding sap moisture, if it is then one season is fine to sit. The how? Every paint and stain manufacturer has their own set of rules when it comes to using their products. Each of them starts with opening the pores of the wood before you start in order for the product to penetrate properly and more evenly. You can use sandpaper with a grit between 80 and 100, which is medium grit, to lightly sand the cedar and open the pores. Just to sum it up. Prep work, prep work, prep work! On to the when? Spring or Fall are ideal times to stain your cedar because the heat of Summer can cause most products to flash dry, not letting the product do its job. Moisture levels can be a bit of a nuisance in the Spring so be prepared to be a little bit of a meteorologist. It is suggested to stain or protect your cedar every 2 years….but you will be able to tell when it is needed (more often in high traffic areas). The Why? A better question would be “what do I want the cedar project to look like in a years time?” The answers to that are: A beautiful grey patina or like the day you built it. Keep in mind that any time you stain or seal a cedar project you will block the natural cedar smell but not 100%. The colour and type of products are completely up to your personal preferences.
When starting an outdoor project choosing cedar is your first step in the right direction. Choosing the right cedar for the job should be your second. You should be asking yourself questions like; what look do I want for my home? Is my décor rustic or more contemporary? Do I want clear or STK (select tight knot)? The obvious differences being looks and price. When thinking of looks you have two choices. Clean and contemporary which you would use the clear cedar for or a rustic charm that STK is more suited for. When deciding between these be aware that the price between clear and knotty cedar is double. In some cases more, depending on the size of the dimension needed. Clear is the more sought after wood of the tree and there is less of it, coming from the center of the trunk. The price will reflect this. Both choices are a fragrant and durable choice for any outdoor project.