How to Restore Weathered Cedar Siding [Step-by-Step]

Repaint Over Stained Cedar Siding

Cedar sidings are extremely popular – thanks to their unique and attractive appearance.

However, like any material, it will need to be adequately restored, maintained, and repainted. This is especially true if it shows signs of weathering or decay.

When the elements have taken their toll on the cedar siding, you must protect the surface by painting it over again.

What follows are the steps to repaint and restore the weathered cedar siding in your home without wasting your precious time and creating any mess.

What Do You Need for Painting Cedar Siding?

First of all, you will need to decide what you want to do with the old stained siding.

If you genuinely want to repaint them – to make them look good – the most common items needed include the following;

  • High-pressure water nozzle
  • Paintbrushes and rollers
  • Wood cleaner
  • Nylon brush
  • Ladder
  • Primer
  • Paint

This usually means repainting, which starts with a sander and scraper to remove the old paint or stain.

Then you will need the right paint to protect the surface, which also means brushes and the proper clothing that you don’t care if they become covered in paint.

6 Easy Steps to Repaint Over Stained Cedar Siding

Cedar shake siding isn’t hard to maintain if you are well-planned.

No matter whether you are staining or painting weathered cedar siding, if you do the following steps in the proper order, you will maximize your results.

Remember to start on a day when no precipitation is predicted over the next several days, if possible.

1- Rinse

Pressure washing your cedar siding is perfectly OK as long as the sprayer washer is set at low pressure.

You can, however, use a high-pressure nozzle to wash the surface of the old weathered-out cedar siding.

This will help to prevent any damage made to the softwood surface.

While washing, you don’t have to get it spotless, but you do want to rid the siding of any loose dirt and debris along with cobwebs and other objects.

If you find dirt, black mold, mildew, or dead insects accumulated on your siding, consider cleaning them using a soap-water solution.

You can make a solution with a quart of liquid household bleach (containing 5% sodium hypochlorite), one-third cup of liquid household detergent (make sure it’s ammonia-free), and three quarts of warm water.

Cleaning your cedar siding once a month with this solution can also help keep your cedar siding looking new for longer.

2- Use Wood Cleaner

Wood cleaners like Howard can work very well for cedar siding.

Mix the cleaner according to the instruction and apply it to the blackened cedar siding with a brush or roller.

For high areas, use an extension on the roller or climb a ladder and use your paintbrush.

You’ll want to leave the cleaner on for at least 15 minutes up to 30 minutes to ensure it removes the old coating – do not let it dry.

3- Scrub with Nylon Brush

While the cleaner is still wet and the coatings are coming off, use a nylon brush to scrape them away.

The brush should be strong enough to break up any remaining coating in place.

Once all the coatings (along with any dirt or debris) have been removed, rinse them away. Your goal is to leave behind a smooth surface free of peeling paint and ridges of the coating.

When it’s done, let the siding dry for 24 hours.

4- Scrape & Sand the Siding

Once the siding is dry, use a paint scraper and sandpaper to remove any remaining paint that might still be stuck.

While doing so, smooth out any rough edges or splintered surfaces that have developed because of the weathered siding.

5- Prime the Weathered Siding

Cedar usually contains extractives that can discolor the paint sooner.

So, applying the primer to your weathered siding is good before you paint them.

In case you have the underlying paint that is dark in color, it’s essential to choose the primer that matches your paint color for better coverage.

6- Start Painting Your Cedar Siding

Once the surface is clean and primed, you can start applying the paint using a regular paintbrush.

You will probably need at least two coats of high-quality paint to do the job. After you are through painting the second coat, take the time to inspect the cedar shake siding to ensure there are no thin spots.

How Often Should You Stain Cedar Siding?

The best way to keep your cedar siding looking new is to repaint it every 2 to 3 years.

Depending on the quality of stain or paint you use for your cedar siding, it should easily last for up to 5-7 years. If the weather conditions in your area are not too harsh, it may go as long as up to 10 years.

However, to keep them beautiful and long-lasting, it’s recommended that you reapply a high-quality clear-coat stain every two years.

Types of Stain for Cedar Siding

If you are not all that familiar with staining cedar siding, please understand that choosing the right type of stain can be a bit of a chore.

That’s because there are many different types of stains available, and the color of the cedar will change depending on what type you use.

However, there are ways to determine which one is right for your cedar siding.

Following are a few tips on how to choose from the four most common types of stains designed for cedar.

The Four Types of Stain You Can Use for Your Cedar Siding

1- Clear

The clear or transparent wood stain does darken the cedar somewhat but otherwise lets the beauty of the wood shine through.

Be aware that it’s best suited for indoor use as a clear stain does not provide any protection from ultraviolet (UV) rays that will damage the wood over time.

So, if you are interested in keeping the natural appearance of cedar wood indoors, then the clear stain is for you.

This also means you can use it on siding if it’s not directly exposed to sunlight. But if it does, please consider other options.

2- Solid

For restoring cedar siding, the solid stain form is considered the best, especially for outdoor use.

This is because it offers protection from UV rays as well as erosive elements such as wind and precipitation.

You can choose from a wide variety of solid colors that transforms the beauty of cedar. But it is the boldness that may turn many people off from using a solid stain.

3- Semi-Solid

As the name implies, this type of stain leans more towards solid than clear but is a cross between the two.

Semi-solid stains offer bright colors but do not allow the grain of the wood to come through as clear or semi-transparent.

4- Semi-Transparent

A cross between clear and solid, semi-transparent stain also offers bold, intense colors that can add some real character to the cedar siding.

It does offer some UV protection while letting the intricate grain patterns of the cedar come through.

The choice of colors for siding is arguably the biggest selling point of the semi-transparent stain, which leans more towards clear than solid.

This may be an excellent option for those who want stronger protection from UV rays while still being somewhat clear.

A water-based semi-transparent stain will keep it from turning gray, but weathering and UV rays will take their toll.

Of course, you could also forego the stain and keep the cedar siding natural by applying a natural water sealer that lets the cedar turn a natural gray over time as it ages.

best stain for cedar siding

What is the Best Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding?

When picking the best stain for cedar siding treatment and care, you must choose a brand that’s reliable enough.

Also, take some time to select the color that matches perfectly well with your exteriors. For example, consider painting the siding white or a natural wood if you have a white house with cedar posts.

With that in mind, some of the best stains for cedar siding restoration that are available on the market are:

1- Ready Seal Natural Cedar Exterior Wood Stain and Sealer

Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon Pail Natural Cedar Exterior...
  • Requires no primer. Ready Seal is darkest when first applied. It...
  • May be applied using sprayer, roller or brush onto the woods surface.
  • Requires no back brushing and will nerver leave runs, laps, or...

*Last update on 2024-03-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This means Ready Seal wood stain and sealer is an excellent value-for-money product as you do not need to buy different products for sealing and staining your shingle sidings – it’s an oil-based transparent stain + sealer in one.

The good thing about buying this stain is that it’s available in different hue options – you can choose the color you desire to refinish your weathered cedar sidings.

A few other things that I like the most about the Ready Seal stain are:

  • 2-in-1 (stain and sealer) formula
  • It does not need priming
  • It can be used in any temperature/condition
  • Easy to apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer

Depending on the environmental conditions in your area, the stain dries fast, within 48-72 hours after the application.

But remember, since it’s a more transparent stain, you will not be able to hide the texture of the exterior wood siding entirely, even after it is dried.

Overall, the 2-in-1 Ready Seal formula is one of the best transparent stains for cedar siding, adding beauty to the wood and protection from ultraviolet rays, moisture, and mildew.

2- DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain

DEFY Extreme 1 Gallon Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood...
  • Water-Based Semi-Transparent Wood Stain – This water-based deck...
  • Fortified With Zinc Nano-Particle Technology – It’s like sunscreen...
  • Durable Quality That Lasts – DEFY Extreme wood stains are made with...

*Last update on 2024-03-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The DEFY water-based acrylic stain for exterior wood works well to restore your cedar sidings by providing the wood with a natural, rustic, and organic feel.

This semi-transparent stain comes with zinc-nano particle technology that helps in reflecting UV rays better to prevent the wood from getting dull and premature graying.

The particles also make the stain tough enough to protect the sidings from all the harsh weather conditions, including algae and mildew buildup.

A few good things that make the product appealing in my eyes are:

  • It’s highly durable and long-lasting
  • It’s convenient to apply with a brush or spray
  • It can be used without any dilution or thinning

If you want to get the best results with this DEFY cedar siding stain, it’s recommended to use their cleaning and brightening agents prior to wood staining.

3- KILZ Semi-Transparent Exterior Waterproofing Wood Stain

KILZ Waterproofing Wood Stain, Exterior,...
  • A good exterior wood stain offers long-lasting protection,...
  • Our 100% Acrylic formula protects wood from rain, snow and sun damage....
  • Use on properly prepared new to moderately weathered and unsealed...

*Last update on 2024-03-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

KILZ Semi-Transparent waterproof stain is my third favorite exterior stain that can protect the wood siding against all the elements like sun damage, moisture, molds, etc.

Since it’s a 100% Acrylic formula, it better protects the wood from rain and snow, which means you can use this not only for staining the cedar sidings but also exterior wooden decks and fences.

A few things that I like in this staining formula are:

  • Durable and long-lasting
  • No need to prime and it dries fast
  • Easy to apply with a brush, pad applicator, or spray

Before applying the KILZ stain, make sure that the surface is free from dust or debris.

This will help the stain to adhere better and last longer – providing the best natural beauty to your wood for years.

Solid Stain vs. Paint: What’s Better for Cedar Siding?

Both of them are fine, and the decision to paint or stain on cedar siding should be yours, depending on the condition of the wood in your home.

That said, if you decide to paint over cedar, be prepared for the sap to seep through the paint, which can cause ugly stains.

The tannins that bleed through in cedar are known to be notorious for this, so be aware of it before beginning your project.

IMHO, if you are looking for fine, long-lasting results, consider staining your cedar siding rather than painting.

Stains are also more durable on a cedar because they are solid enough to hold up foot traffic, much better than regular paint. This means if you have cedar deck boards in place (in addition to siding), this can be beneficial.

Plus, as stains are highly durable, they can protect the cedar (from abrasion, wearing, and weathering) better than paint.

Factors to Consider when Finding the Best Stain for Cedar Siding

Since there are plenty of options (the above ones and many more) to choose from for staining the exterior sidings of your home, you need to consider certain factors to pick the right one.

Some of these factors to look at are:

1- Water-Based or Oil-Based:

The water-based staining formula is comparatively easy to clean up after staining. Plus, it comes with extremely low VOCs.

So, if you are doing all the staining yourself in a DIY way, it’s better to choose the water-based stain as it makes the application and cleaning easier.

2- Transparent or Semi-Transparent Finish:

A transparent stain will highlight all the wood grain finish giving the wood a more organic look.

If you, however, need to get a medium to light hue for a bit of facelift, it’s good to choose a semi-transparent finish.

3- The Wood Pattern You Desire to Have on The Cedar:

Lastly, choosing the stain that will either hide or enhance the grain of your cedar is essential.

Make a choice carefully according to your personal preference and the look you desire to achieve.

The Bottom Line

Maintaining your cedar siding is not hard, but it should be a regular task for you to inspect and maintain them at least once a year.

While the material used is beautiful, sturdy, and long-lasting, being on the exterior of your house, the wood should be cared for, cleaned, and stained regularly to avoid possible damage.

If you take the required time and focus on each step mentioned above during the staining process, the results should be a re-coated cedar shake siding that will last a considerable amount of time.

Do not miss any of them; hopefully, you will get that perfect finished look for your weathered-out cedar siding without a problem.

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