How to Protect Cedar Wood for Outdoors

September 18, 2022

Cedar wood planter box for outdoor garden uses.

Having a broad knowledge of Cedar Wood is a huge advantage since you’ve just invested a significant sum of money in it. In addition to providing long-term aesthetic value, keeping your Cedar well-treated will help keep it looking great for years to come.

The more you know about protecting your Cedar wood, the more time and money you’ll save for the long term. Knowing the basics about cedar can help you preserve your investment in this high-end and high-maintenance wood. Since cedar is ideal for use outside of your home, it is prone to dusts and pests attacks. It’s a multi-topic procedure to learn how to preserve cedar wood from the various elements.

Due to its high content of natural oils, cedar wood degrades slowly. Cedar holds its own when it comes to structural strength. Fences made of untreated cedar may last for decades before needing to be replaced.

Despite the fact that weathering in cedar starts right away, it slows down very quickly. Weathering advances rapidly into the wood, and it slows down until it reaches a depth of approximately 2mm. The affected part of wood from weathering may break or peel away over time. This would result for the exposure of new wood to the elements.

Is Cedar Weather Resistant?

Cedar is the most durable wood available in North America. It grows naturally only in a few places in the United States. The North West part of the US, including places like Montana, Canada, and Idaho as well as Oregon, and Washington, is one of the producers of cedarwoods. Other than where they grow, cedar is impervious to the various elements. Since Cedar only grows in specific regions, I know you’re wondering whether it’s weather-resistant. Fortunately, Cedar can be utilized outside since it is has a lot of natural oil, making it weather-resistant.

When cedar is milled into timber for use in external housing applications, it maintains its resistance to rain, humidity, and temperature changes just as when it was harvested. When applied outdoors, cedar can prove its weather-resistant features. The additional protection it provides helps extend the useful life of your pricey Cedar. Redwood is quite similar to cedar, and we will discuss that later on. For the time being, let’s stick with cedar.

4 Methods of Treating Cedar Wood for Outdoor Use

1) Using Bleaching Oil on Cedar

There are ways to get a natural-looking gray worn appearance while providing protection from the elements, but they need some extra work. There are two steps to applying bleaching oil.

To begin, a light gray color is applied to the wood with the oil to fix and set the color. Second, the oil accelerates the bleaching process, resulting in a more worn appearance quicker and with more consistent results over time.

However, it will take between three and six months for the weathered look to completely emerge. When it comes to artificially weathering cedar, Cabot’s Bleaching Oil is a well-known brand that works well.


Great weathered-looked cedar.

Easy procedure to apply bleaching oil.


Reapplication on a regular basis.

Doesn’t significantly alter the cedar’s appearance.

2) Semi-Transparent Stain

If you want the genuine appearance of slightly aged wood with protection, choose semi-transparent stains. The wood grain in cedar will not be obscured by the little amount of solid particles in this mixture.

However, you must exercise caution when using semi-transparent dyes. Spraying may cause blotching. Therefore manual brushing is the best choice most of the time. Using a semi-transparent stain also helps keep moisture out of the wood’s cellular structure by beading up water.


Can withstand wet conditions.

Allows the appearance of the wood grain.


Blotch may appear if not applied properly.

3) Making Use of Solid-Color Stains on Cedar

There are solid particles in solid color stains, but not quite as many as there are in paints. As a result, although staining with solid colors hides part of the cedar’s grain, it also eliminates the color. You’re left with a hue that’s completely opaque and completely consistent in tone. Good news: most harmful UV light is blocked by solid-color stains. This kind of pigment also repels water very well.



Effective in UV-Blocking.


Uniform in color.

Only a little amount of grain may be seen.

4) Using Primer and Paint to Treat Cedar

If all you want to do is preserve your cedar, painting it is your best bet. The solids in paint block light, which exacerbates cedar’s degeneration. Because they reflect light better than darker hues, lighter colors stay longer.

Patching and painting an exterior-grade acrylic latex paint may save a severely damaged wood fence.

It’s important to keep in mind that painting to copy authentic wood color would be a hard task to do and might even result in a completely unrecognizable hue. Paint is a poor substitute for wood if that’s what you’re going for. Priming the wood before painting is essential due to the wide pores in cedar.


Extreme protection for Cedar.

Has the ability to save a severely corroded fence.


Removes the wood’s natural look.

Reapplication on regular basis is advisable.

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