our 22 year old house has cedar clapboards. We had it power washed perhaps 6 years ago and were looking to redo it again as it has lots of black spots we assume to be mold or dirt. A carpenter friend said we needed to do some type of stain as he thought the clapboards were deteriorating due to sun and rain. One contractor says, we need to sand the whole house, power wash and then do 2 coats of stain. Another says, forget the sanding, just power wash and paint. The helpful person down at the hardware store says, forget painting, just power wash, cedar does not need to be treated. We are thinking about doing this ourselves over the course of a few months but are really confused about whether cedar needs anything other than washing.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
i think cedar is fine with just washing but a seal coat or painting just means less frequency for washing. We did a cedar porch and didn't seal the first year and it faded quickly. Then we just power washed and clear coated it the next year. We've done about every 3 years to keep it looking nice and prevent water damage.
Cedar is naturally resistant to decay, but will still rot away eventually if left untreated. Wood that has been left to weather has a thin layer of unstable wood fiber on the surface. You have to remove this layer and get down to sound wood if you want a coat of finish to last. That said, the whole business of finishing exterior wood is tricky. If you apply a penetrating oil finish you'll have to recoat it almost every year. The advantage is that you won't be building up a film on the surface that can eventually peel off. If you want to keep the cedar look, I would suggest a high quality finish like Sikkens. Follow their instructions for surface preparation and application. If you decide to paint follow the contractors recommendation and sand and power wash. Then make sure to use a high quality primer that will block tannins. If you paint, be prepared to repaint every five years. Don't believe the hype about lifetime guarantee finishes.
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