Cedar products can be left “natural” to weather to a soft silver grey color, or they
can be stained. Penetrating wood stains actually penetrate the wood fibers, then
over a period of time fade rather than blister and peel. Penetrating stains come
in three types: transparent, semi transparent, and opaque. Transparent stains contain
no pigment, but they do contain water repellant features that protect the wood without
hiding the natural coloration. This also slows down the natural color changing process.
Semi Transparent stains have added pigment that modifies the original wood color,
but allows the grain and knots to be visible. These stains are more durable than
the transparent stains.
Cedar has long been the standard for all outdoor products that seek visual harmony
and durability; wherever an attractive appearance and resistance to weather is important.
No man-made materials can duplicate the beauty and depth of cedar's natural luster.
Cedar can be left “natural” or it can be easily stained because it is free of resin
and pitch. Cedar is also very durable. The U.S. Forest Service has listed cedar among
the species most resistant to decay.
Many people take comfort from the knowledge that cedar is safe to use - it is all
natural - there are no hazardous chemicals or preservatives added to the wood. For
many years cedar was used to construct water tanks, water buckets, and even water
pipes. Today when the use of chemicals raises serious environmental questions, cedar
is unquestionably the best choice for outdoor projects. Additionally, no other wood
offers greater versatility and freedom of aesthetic fulfillment. That is why it is
the first choice of discriminating craftsmen.
“Checking” occurs in all round and square wooden products that contain the pith or
the center of the tree. As the wood releases moisture, the outside will dry faster
than the inside causing a check to occur. This is a natural drying process that has
occurred since time immemorial. Checking does not affect the strength or durability
of the products, so do not be concerned to find it occurring in your furniture, fence
posts, and other cedar products.
For more detailed information on finishes, check with your local paint store.
STAIN OR NATURAL - In a residential or urban setting, outdoor furniture generally
looks better if it is maintained with a stained finish. In parks and natural settings,
the natural silver gray color may be the best choice, and is certainly the easiest
to maintain. Storage - The longevity of outdoor furniture may be increased by storing
in undercover during the off season, or by proper outdoor storage.
Benefits of Cedar
Opaque stains are high in pigment content and thoroughly hide the grain and color
of the wood; however the surface texture is retained. They are the most durable of
Generally, avoid film forming finishes such as varnish and polyurethane for exterior
They do not penetrate the wood, and they prevent the release of moisture which could
result in cracks and blisters.