Many woodworkers prefer Cedar to other woods because it is naturally healthy and beautiful. It is resistant to insects and requires fewer maintenance. However, constant exposure to moisture, U.V. rays, and mildew may threaten its lifespan. These elements weaken it, cause discoloration and rotting. With the Best Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding, you are steps ahead in the protection of your sidings especially if they are a product of cedarwood.
The staining formula adds longevity to the wood by soaking it into the wood fiber and offers superior protection from sunlight, rains, and falling or rising temperatures.
This article presents a complete review of the very best staining formulas that you can use on your cedar structures among the sidings. Additionally, I’ve included a comprehensive buyer’s guide with the necessary information you need to know regarding the products before shopping.
List of the Best Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding
1. Ready Seal Natural Cedar Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood
The Ready Seal is my first product to review as it has impressive features that will start us off on an excellent footing. This Natural Cedar Exterior Stain penetrates deeply into the wood and does not build a barrier making it the Best Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding. Dragging stuff across the board will not peel it as long as you prepare the wood well. The product thus offers superior durability. Also, it requires no priming or back brushing and does not leave streaks or laps.
This product blends itself, and you can apply it in any temperature range. There are no restrictions on the application procedure as the formula allows you to use a brush, sprayer, or roller. It also does not require thinning or dilution for spraying applications; thus, you get started immediately.
The formula is easy to maintain as you do not need to sand or strip before re-application.
However, ensure that the wood is completely dry before staining. It must be clean of mildew, oil, dust, grease, and dust. The manufacturer also advises one not to use the product over newly stained or painted surfaces because they inhibit penetration.
The Summary of Top Features
- Ready Seal penetrates deep into the wood and preserves it from damaging elements such as U.V. rays, mold, and mildew.
- It is a stain and sealer in one, thus suitable for all your exterior wood projects.
- After application, the product is dark but reaches its rich, actual color in 14 days.
- It makes the wood texture and grain visible, thus enhancing the beauty of the wood.
- The maintenance process is easy as no priming or stripping is necessary during re-application.
- The formula has low VOCs, thus safe to use.
- It is oil-based and semi-transparent.
- You can use the product for both staining and sealing applications.
- Ready Seal preserves the wood from fading and discoloration.
- A previously painted or stained surface requires sanding.
- Also, you need to determine your wood requirements and project goals as new and old Cedar will give different results.
2. DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain, Cedar Tone
Defy Extreme has spectacular features that resonate with woodworkers especiallly those looking for the Best Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding. This water-based stain is environmentally friendly and safe for use. It is semi-transparent, allowing the wood grain to show through with a lovely matte finish. You can comfortably use it for outdoor applications such as staining wood decks, outdoor patio furniture, and fences.
The stain’s high-quality resins give the wood excellent resistance from fading and discoloration to look beautiful for a longer time. Also, Defy makes use of the zinc nano-particle technology that acts as a sunscreen for your wood. These tiny zinc particles reflect damaging U.V. rays and keep your surface from more damage.
Many woodworkers who dread a stain with a complicated maintenance process will enjoy working with Defy. It does not give you a hard time during maintenance as sanding, and stipping is unnecessary.
Also, you can get a brighter finish by simply spraying a brightener.
The Summary of Top Features
- The stain is semi-transparent, allowing you to clearly see the beautiful wood grain.
- It is fortified with zinc nano-particle technology that keeps the wood safe from damaging U.V. rays.
- Defy is a water-based stain, thus environmentally friendly.
- It is also suitable for multiple outdoor applications, such as staining fences and wood decks.
- The high-quality resins in the formula keep your surface looking fresh and lovely for a long time.
- The product is safe to handle.
- It offers superior durability to the surface and lasts longer.
- Defy preserves the wood’s rich color from graying or fading.
- It is VOC compliant.
- When it’s time for a maintenance coat, there’s no need to strip or sand the surface again.
- One needs to toll or brush the stain on the surface for the final finish.
- The stain repels polyurethane; thus, one cannot have a poly coat.
- You need to reapply the stain every 1-2 years.
3. Wood Defender Transparent Fence Stain CEDAR TONE
Most woodworkers struggle to get a product that can work well for outdoor applications such as fences.
Yes, we have so many stains to pick from, but unless you get one that preserves your fence explicitly, you will not like the results. This situation comes about when there is so much rain or sun, which we very well know are not favorable for most finishes.
Since we cannot control the elements, we can get the Wood defender transparent fence stain. It is the most suitable for your fence needs, and adverse weather conditions do not affect it; thus, your wood looks beautiful for a more extended period. The stain contains ultra-fine trans oxide pigments that highlight or accentuate the wood fibers, thus glorifying its beauty.
The formula is both a stain and sealant. This attribute gives you the freedom to use it for various fence staining projects. It also makes the pigment convenient for use as you do not have to purchase different products for staining and sealing projects.
The Summary of Top Features
- Wood defender is a stain and sealant in one, thus appropriate for multiple applications.
- It utilizes ultra-fine trans oxide pigments to highlight and reveal the beautiful wood grain.
- The stain preserves the wood from discoloring by resisting U.V. rays.
- The product gives superb results in wood fences.
- It gives the surface long-lasting beauty.
- You can use the formula on treated lumber.
- Wood defender is easy to handle.
- The wood has to be completely dry; otherwise, the stain will not penetrate sufficiently.
4. Cabot Wood Toned Deck & Siding Low VOC Exterior Stain, Cedar
Are you looking for the Best Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding? Cabot Wood Toned Exterior stain is an excellent pick for your outdoor wood applications. It gives fantastic results on fences and decks and is available in more than one wood tone color so that you can venture into a variety of applications.
During application, it penetrates deep into the lumber to make it resistant to adverse weather conditions. The formula’s translucent finish allows you to see the wood grain, thus makes the wood look more lovely.
The product has low VOCs and is safe to use.
The Summary of Top Features
- Cabot is a translucent oil finish that improves the wood’s natural appearance.
- It soaks into the wood fibers and offers superior protection from adverse weather elements.
- You can use the formula for outdoor projects such as siding, fencing, and decks.
- It is available in 5 wood-toned colors to accommodate a variety of wood applications.
- Cabot has low VOC content.
- It gives the wood a rich cedar color.
- The formula is simple to handle.
- Users say that it looks great even after pressure washing in the spring.
- The product is not appropriate for interior surfaces.
- Users complain that the stain is more expensive than the others in the market.
5. #1 Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain for Decks, Fences, Siding – (Cedar)
Everyone is looking for a stain that keeps their deck and fence looking new. If that is you, then the #1 Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain is the pick. It is a unique formula that protects your wood from color fade and prevents it from graying. #1 Deck Premium cures into a strong finish that resists damage from elements. It also works well on pressure-treated redwood, pine, and other softwoods; thus, it is suitable for various wood projects.
The stain functions both as a stain and sealant to give excellent results. This attribute makes it convenient as it does both staining and sealing jobs. Woodworkers enjoy working with it as it adds color to the wood and then fills it to prevent water damage.
After curing, the solution enhances the wood’s beauty by giving it a natural-looking finish. It is available in 5 different colors to accommodate multiple preferences. On top of that, it has fewer VOCs and easily cleans up with soap and water.
For those wondering if the product works on damp wood, the formula meets your expectations. It does a great job on wet wood and thus minimizes wait time between cleaning and staining. However, if you are using the stain for hardwoods, you need to do more maintenance coats.
The Summary of Top Features
- The formula is available in 5 different colors to meet the woodworker’s preference.
- It is both a stain and a sealer, thus adds color to your wood and seals it.
- During application, the solution penetrates deep into the lumber and makes it water-resistant.
- #1 Deck Premium works on damp wood, thus minimizes the wait time between cleaning and staining.
- It is semi-transparent, which allows the wood grain to show, making the wood more lovely.
- The stain is easy to apply and looks great on the wood.
- It has fewer VOCs thus safe to handle.
- You can quickly clean it up with soap and water.
- #1 Deck Premium enhances the durability of your wood as it keeps it from fading or graying.
- It works on pressure-treated wood.
- The product only gives desirable results when you use a brush.
- It is very watery; therefore, you must tape off anything you don’t want to stain.
6. General Finishes Exterior 450 Water Based Wood Stain, Cedar
As a beginner, you are looking for easy to use water-based stains to begin your woodworking hobby or career. Water-based formulas allow you lesser waiting times between one coat and another; thus, you can horn your application as you work.
An excellent choice for you is the General Finishes exterior. It is a premium quality wood stain convenient for outdoor projects with vertical surfaces such as entrance doors and furniture. You will have fun working outside without the fear of the hot sun or persistent rains.
As much as they do not work well for large horizontal surfaces such as decks, you will enjoy staining your fence, patio, and outdoor kitchen. The formula also keeps the wood from U.V. rays damage and makes it mold and mildew resistant, which gives it longevity.
The Summary of Top Features
- The formula contains U.V. rays absorbers that protect the finish from sunlight damage.
- It is also mildew, and mold resistant, thus adds more days to your wood.
- Exterior 450 is a premium quality product that is appropriate for outdoor projects with vertical surfaces.
- You can use it for multiple projects ranging from garage and entrance doors to interior windows.
- The product is water-based, thus safe for use and easy to maintain.
- It enhances the lumber’s durability.
- You can roll, brush spray or roll it, depending on your application preferences.
- The stain does not give desirable results for large horizontal surfaces such as decks.
- It does not prevent the wood from discoloring.
7. THOMPSONS WATERSEAL Transparent Waterproofing Stain, Woodland Cedar
Choose from a variety of waterproofing stain colors for your exterior stain projects. Yes! That’s right! The Thompsons Waterseal product offers your wood superior protection from water damage. It has been an all-time go-to product for those protecting their surfaces from water damage.
The product has advanced polymers that enhance the wood’s color’s durability, keeping the wood looking lovely for a long time. It also cures into a mildew resistant finish that preserves the wood too.
You can apply the product to freshly cleaned or damp wood. This attribute allows you to enjoy a lesser waiting time between cleaning and staining. Besides that, the Thompsons Waterseal formula keeps the wood resistant to U.V. rays damage.
The Summary of Top Features
- The product waterproofs the lumber; thus, exposure to moisture will not damage it.
- It has advanced polymers that keep the surface’s color intact.
- You can apply the stain to the wood immediately after cleaning it.
- It is suitable for outdoor projects.
- Thompson’s Waterseal preserves the wood from U.V. damage.
- It is easy to use.
- Once the stain cures, it makes the surface mildew resistant.
- You can use a pump sp[rayer or roller to apply it.
- You need to thoroughly clean the wood to get desirable results.
8. STORM SYSTEM Penetrating Sealer & Stain Protector – 291111, Cedartone
We cannot ignore the devastating effects of unfavorable weather conditions on wood. They make the wood weak and compromise its beauty. However, all hope is not lost as we have the Storm protector stain, which provides a solution to the adverse weather conditions issue. Whether you are dealing with baking sunlight, damaging ultraviolet rays, brutal winters, or seemingly endless rains, your wood is safe as the stain ‘stands up to the prevailing weather conditions. It gives this superior protection because of its deep penetration attributes.
The product is an oil-based semi-transparent stain and sealer highlighting and protecting the wood grain’s natural beauty. It is excellent for multiple applications such as fences, decks, and other wood substrates. Also, the formula is compatible with any other wood species that you are using for your projects.
When applying the stain, you will have an easy time as it spreads quickly with a roller, brush, or sprayer. It also offers a lap-free application, so you work faster.
The Summary of Top Features
- The product offers trans-oxide pigmentation, which makes it suitable for various wood colors.
- It is suitable for many wood substrates allowing you to work on different wood projects.
- After curing, it forms a U.V. resistant finish that gives the wood longevity.
- The storm system stain accentuates the wood grain, making the surface more beautiful.
- It offers a lap-free application thus easy to handle.
- The product keeps the exterior beautiful.
- It is compatible with pressure-treated wood.
- The Storm System formula is a perfect solution for decks and railings.
- It works both as a stain and sealer.
- You get desirable results on decks, fences, and rails.
- Users complain that the product’s lid can be quite challenging to take off.
- It has a limited application temperature range of 50-90F.
9. PPG ProLuxe 1 Primary R.E. Wood Finish, 077 Cedar
Woodworkers look at various product attributes before they get one. Most of them would rather spend so much time researching and comparing than end up with the wrong formula.
One key attribute of the right product is its ability to work well on various wood projects, and this is where the PPG ProLuxe formula comes in. It allows you to work on wood projects such as entrance doors, trim, siding, log homes, windows, and garage doors. It does not limit the woodworker on what to work on, thus suitable for both beginners and professionals.
The wood finish offers superior protection to the wood from unfavorable weather conditions and enhances its durability. It is also a translucent solution and highlights the wood grain by exposing it. Additionally, the stain makes use of the alkyd oil technology, which makes it dry faster and gives room for recoats.
The Summary of Top Features
- The stain offers a translucent finish that exposes the wood grain, which makes the wood more attractive.
- It offers excellent protection to logs and other vertical surfaces from adverse weather conditions.
- The manufacturer uses the alkyd oil technology that allows the stain to dry faster.
- PPG ProLuxe works well for outdoor furniture.
- It is easy to handle and suitable for both pros and DIYers,
- You can use it on many applications ranging from log homes to trimming.
- The stain’s color is more consistent if you brush it.
10. Krylon K03603000 Exterior Semi-Transparent Wood Stain, Rustic Brown
If you have old wooden structures that seem to have no use or value anymore, it’s time to get the Krylon K03603000 Exterior Semi-Transparent Wood Stain. Users testify that they have used the formula to revive the beauty of old wood.
The formula is easy to handle and use as it is the first and only wood stain to have a spray can package. It cures into a smooth, flawless finish that will hold up in any weather condition. On top of that, the wood enjoys water repellent attributes and U.V. fade protection.
The Summary of Top Features
- The formula is water repellent and preserves the wood from water damage.
- It keeps the wood from graying or fading due to U.V. rays by resisting them.
- Krylon cures into a smooth, flawless finish, making the wood so beautiful.
- Krylon K03603000 cures into a matte finish look.
- It comes in a convenient spray can.
- The stain is durable.
- Some users complain that if one does not shake the formula well, it gives an uneven finish.
Best Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding Buyer’s Guide
Stains are very different from each other, and these variances range from the formula’s ability to withstand outdoor conditions and the kind of finish it gives once it cures. Let us look into some of these traits more keenly to help you select the most suitable product.
- Water-based stains
These formulas are useful for beginners and DIYers because they are easy to apply. They dry faster than oil-based solutions, thus reduce the waiting time between one coat and the next. Also, it is easy to maintain them as soap and water clean up is sufficient.
Additionally, the formulas are odorless and create a comfortable environment for you to work for longer sessions. You are also spoilt for choice regarding the product color because water-based solutions are available in more colors.
- Oil-based stains
If you want a stain that penetrates deeply into your wood’s core, then this is your category. Oil-based products soak deep into the wood fibers and offer maximum protection to the whole block. They are resistant to adverse weather conditions and enhance the lumber’s durability. As a result, you can use your wood for a more extended period without thinking of replacing them.
The solutions give a comfortable experience during the application, and you will not struggle with patchiness or streaking.
However, you need to be patient when working with the products as they take much longer to cure than water-based stains.
Transparent and Translucent Stains?
If you want to maintain your wood color, transparent formulas should be on top of your list. They highlight the natural shade and grain of the wood and make it even more attractive.
The solutions come with different protective features to preserve the wood and make it more durable. However, the amount of pigment in them is meager.
These stains contain more pigments than transparent solutions. They still show the wood’s color but not very clearly.
You will enjoy working with the solutions on your exterior projects as they offer maximum protection from water damage, U.V. rays, and mildew.
Opaque or Solid color
Opaque color stains alter the wood’s natural look and usually work well for remodels or reviving old wood.
However, you need to get a separate sun-blocking product to help preserve the lumber from U.V. rays damage.
Adverse weather conditions or climate can be a real deal-breaker when considering using a stain for outdoor applications. They dictate that a woodworker gets a resistant product not susceptible to hazardous or extreme climates, whether scorching sunlight or heaving rains.
For superior protection from damaging U.V. rays, please get a U.V. rays resistant solution. It keeps the wood from graying and fading. Also, you should consider getting a stain that penetrates deep into the lumber to make it water-resistant.
How to Handle or Use the Stain
Manufacturers give different recommended ways on how to use their products. For example, there are specific formulas that you should not apply in very hot or icy areas. They require you to carefully check humidity and temperature application levels before you purchase them.
Also, check how long the stains take before they dry. This aspect will help you plan your working time so that you know when to do your recoats.
How to Keep Cedar Looking Natural
You may want to enhance your wood’s durability by using a suitable stain or wood finish. While some formulas alter the wood’s natural look, ensure that you get a product that maintains Cedar’s natural beauty.
If you have problems knowing which formula is appropriate, I have given some more factors to consider.
Dirt is an enemy to your Cedar’s rich color. It piles up and brings with it harm, causing insects and mildew.
To prevent such scenarios, you need to clean the wood frequently with soap and water or a mild detergent. Most formulas clean up quickly with water, while others may require commercial cleaners or mineral spirits to give desirable results.
However, since various products have a different maintenance strategy, read the manufacturer’s instructions first before venturing into a futile water soap clean-up.
- Use a transparent formula.
You can also preserve the wood’s natural color by getting a transparent solution. It shows the wood grain and texture, thus exposing the Cedar’s beauty.
A semi-transparent stain could work, but the lumber might appear a bit darker.
- U.V. resistance
U.V. rays cause wood discoloration, graying, and fading. When they continuously meet with the Cedar’s surface, they gradually alter with its original color.
These elements should not worry you as we have stains with U.V. resistance attributes to keep your wood safe from these harmful elements.
- Mildew resistance
When getting a solution for your Cedar, insist on one that is mildew resistant as it will keep mold away, and your wood will retain its freshness and rich color.
- Water resistance
When moisture gets into the wood’s fibers, it weakens them and even causes rotting. “What if I stay in a high humidity area?” You may ask.
Worry not! Manufacturers have introduced waterproof stains that keep your wood strong and healthy even in rainy areas.
- Maintenance coats
Giving your Cedar a maintenance coat after some time will help keep it looking good and healthy. You should not ignore this aspect as the stain may wear out after some time, and the wood may start looking dull.
Your budget gas everything to do with the stain you choose. Nothing comes cheap, and even when purchasing formulas, we should aim to get the right quality at all costs.
Good research will help you determine if you are getting value for your money when you buy a particular product. Whereas cheap products might not cost you at the buying stage, you may need to dig deeper into your pocket to maintain them. A cheap stain will probably wear and require you to do maintenance coats every now and then.
On the other hand, an expensive but high-quality formula may cost you more money but will last longer and will require recoating much later.
Maintenance coats are useful in keeping the wood looking attractive, and you should not ignore them. Please get a stain that helps you achieve your appearance objectives but meeting your budgetary requirements as well.
Some products require more coats to settle well on the Cedar and provide the most desired outcome: superior protection from elements. However, they will not expose the wood’s natural beauty that much.
Other formulas require fewer coats and thus show the wood grain and preserve the wood’s natural beauty.
Staining or Painting Cedar Siding: Which one is more suitable?
I may not give a straightforward answer, but I recommend looking at your preferences and project needs. However, we could look at what implications staining and painting have to help you make more informed decisions.
A stain preserves the cedars’ natural look and is most suitable for a woodworker to glorify the wood’s beauty. Transparent and semi-transparent formulas are more popular for cedar sidings.
Stains also have other impressive features, such as protecting the wood from moisture, harmful U.V. rays, and adverse temperatures. They penetrate deep into the Cedar and lock the fibers from within.
Additionally, staining is more rewarding than painting as stains do not peel or crack due to temperature or humidity changes. They are not that expensive, and their benefits last longer if you are faithful to do frequent maintenance coats.
Paints are suitable for a person who wants to alter the wood’s color. They cover the wood grain and do not highlight it. However, they have their brighter side. Paints are more durable than stains and demand less maintenance.
They also have protective attributes and will keep the Cedar safe for longer.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why is my Stain not Holding up Well on my Cedar?
Answer: Some of the reasons for this scenario include dirt and mildew build-ups on the wood, or you may not have prepared the Cedar well before stinging.
To prevent such a situation, ensure that you thoroughly clean the surface before staining. Cleaning the wood also allows the formula to deeply soak into it and thus a good practice to adopt.
Some solutions may require you to treat your wood; thus, reading the product’s instructions will always go a long way in giving a desirable outcome.
- Will the Stain Give Desirable Results in Newly Painted Cedar Siding?
Answer: No, you should always wait for the paint to weather before staining the wood. Applying a stain on painted Cedar will only lead to an uneven and unattractive finish. Therefore, either remove the paint or wait for some months for it to wear out.
You will find that some formulas give clear instructions regarding paint removal before application. Please read such guidelines to achieve fantastic staining results.
- How Long Should I Wait Before a Recoat?
Answer: The waiting time after application depends on the stain. You can read the product specifications so that you do things right.
Generally, water-based stains cure faster. On a fairly hot day, two hours are enough, while on a humid day, they can take up to six hours.
Oil-based stains take longer and consume a minimum of 24 hours or even longer.
NB: Always remember to allow the stain to dry before applying a recoat.
- Can I Use One Stain for Both Exterior and Interior Applications?
Answer: Yes and no. Every stain has its recommended application based on its outstanding features and cons.
Formulas that can resist adverse weather conditions are suitable for exterior applications. They can comfortably protect the Cedar from harmful U.V. rays and rains. You will also find some solutions with unique ingredients and technology that make them dangerous when used indoors.
Interior projects require safe to handle and low odor stains. However, do your due diligence before settling on a product. The internet gives all the information you need, and you can always mail the manufacturer to make inquiries.
- Which Stain Will Give the Perfect Finish for my Cedar Siding Project?
Answer: If your main staining objective is to preserve the wood and add length to its life, a semi-transparent stain should be your pick. It has more pigments than the transparent one and keeps the lumber from all harmful elements. The shade does not entirely cover the Cedar’s natural color; thus, you will still see the wood grain.
On the other hand, you may want to amplify or glorify the wood’s natural rich color. There is an option for you as the stain has transparent shades that expose the wood grain and highlight it to make it more attractive. The formula also dries faster than other shades, which is an added advantage.
- Do I Need to Prime the Cedar Before Staining and During Maintenance Re-coats?
Answer: The main objective of priming is to prepare the wood to absorb the stain. However, various pigments will give different priming specifications based on their nature and the wood. It is up to you to carefully check the stain’s needs and wood’s requirements.
Most formulas in the market require a separate primer, but others give desirable results without priming.
However, a solution that does not require priming will have preservatives to function as a primer.
Before purchase, read more on the product to find out if you need a primer or not.
Staining your cedar siding is one way to help prolong it’s life span. This article has everything in place to help you land the very best stains out there. Most of the stains that I have reviewed comes with features such as waterproofing, anti UV lights, resistance to molds and mildews among other features. All the characteristics of the above formulas play a part is preservation of different wooden surfaces.
So, which is the most outstanding of these stains? Well, I’d go for the Ready Seal Stain and Sealer, this formula has a wide area of coverage, easy to apply, offers a wooden surface a semi transparent look which help show the wood’s natural beature. The most fascinating feature of this product is that it is both a stain and a sealer.
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