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Western Red Cedar - To Seal Or Not To Seal?

 
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Old 09-16-2015, 12:47 PM   #1
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Western Red Cedar - To Seal Or Not To Seal?


Hey Fellas,

In the process of building a pergola/change room/rinsing station up in cottage country for personal use. I've completed about 80% of this project with the intention of leaving the Western Red Cedar to age naturally but I'm now being given conflicting reports as to the need for a sealer or stain. I want this thing to be as low maintenance as possible and I am not interested in re-sealing, stripping, sanding, staining, every 1-2 years. I never realized how beautiful WRC looks and I really love the colouring and tone of the wood now. I understand that left alone, it will fade to a silvery grey colour (which I guess I would be ok with).

My questions are:

1) if I leave "as is", will the lifespan on this baby be significantly decreased?

2) If I do need to seal/stain, what is the best product to keep the warm tones of the wood as it looks now? I do not want a dark stain.

3) If I do need to seal or stain, what is the best product for low future maintenance? Is there a "one-time" seal product that can be applied once in 7 years? or was this just a myth?


Thanks in advance fellas,
Vermy
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Old 09-16-2015, 04:20 PM   #2
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Re: Western Red Cedar - To Seal Or Not To Seal?


Well, you are already behind the 8 ball by not pre sealing all your joints ahead of assembly. Put finish on ASAP imo. Sikens product or something from Benjamin Moore

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Old 09-16-2015, 06:21 PM   #3
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Re: Western Red Cedar - To Seal Or Not To Seal?


Pre finish is definitely the way to go with a project like that.

Too late now. I vote for twp 100 series. Cedar tone natural would be nice. Two coats right away. There is no striping involved with this finish. The " One Time " product is a myth.

Remember no clear or natural out door finish has any UV protection us them and the building will go silver gray.

With no finish at all the soft cedar will split / crack allowing water to get in the joints and the cracks and yes it will go faster by a good degree.

Look at the beauty of the wood because it wont look that way for long. Then pick a color you like. Put on the finish soon, if you wait and it goes gray the work goes into overdrive.

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Old 09-16-2015, 06:34 PM   #4
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Re: Western Red Cedar - To Seal Or Not To Seal?


if you're ok with the grey patina.... then DON'T touch it WRC is a very stable wood filled with natural tannins that inhibit bugs, and rot!!!> if you elect to stain it, and i don't care what brand... you will be back prepping and staining again...and again
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Old 09-16-2015, 08:54 PM   #5
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Re: Western Red Cedar - To Seal Or Not To Seal?


Actually Parker,, a lot of that is not true.

But what the Hay.

J.
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Old 09-16-2015, 09:34 PM   #6
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Re: Western Red Cedar - To Seal Or Not To Seal?


Quote:
Originally Posted by John Hyatt View Post
Actually Parker,, a lot of that is not true.

But what the Hay.

J.

Since when. Every spec sheet I ever seen on WRC says it is resistant to rot and bugs compared to many other woods. Not all bugs though as I seen wood boring bees eat it up but then again I seen the same bees eat PT like its pie too.

This is a great site for information about different wood species

http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-...ern-red-cedar/
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Old 09-16-2015, 09:38 PM   #7
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Re: Western Red Cedar - To Seal Or Not To Seal?


It is somewhat rot resistant and does have natural tannins in it, but it will last, look, and perform a lot better with a sealer/finish on it and one that gets redone yearly.
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Old 09-16-2015, 10:00 PM   #8
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Re: Western Red Cedar - To Seal Or Not To Seal?


......well? there were only three claims made... which ones did i get wrong?
this is meant as discussion as to enlighten the OP or anyone else who cares
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Old 09-17-2015, 05:45 AM   #9
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Re: Western Red Cedar - To Seal Or Not To Seal?


Clearly, cedar is a durable wood, which explains its preference for so long.

Unfinished it will last a good bit longer than some other woods.

Properly protected cedar will last longer than not protected.


The WRCLA gives a very politically savvy explanation...

http://www.realcedar.com/wp-content/...sh_english.pdf
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Old 09-17-2015, 04:17 PM   #10
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Re: Western Red Cedar - To Seal Or Not To Seal?


I have been building for 31years, Cedar is nice in the sense that you won't have to look at the same structures in your back yard after 15 - 20 years. It'll just get soft, rot, turn to dust.
Which leaves you several choices, move 10 years after you built your cedar masterpiece, pass it on to the next sucker. Or find another building material if you plan on "nesting" for a while.
We are replacing so much of it that we did 15 years ago it has made for a nice cottage business. So if you want to replace it 15 years from now, use all u want.

It is nice to work with and looks beautiful for 6 months than get ready, because the pay, pay pay is right behind you.

Last edited by killerdecks; 09-17-2015 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 09-17-2015, 04:59 PM   #11
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Re: Western Red Cedar - To Seal Or Not To Seal?


Quote:
Originally Posted by killerdecks View Post
I have been building for 31years, Cedar is nice in the sense that you won't have to look at the same structures in your back yard after 15 - 20 years. It'll just get soft, rot, turn to dust.
Which leaves you several choices, move 10 years after you built your cedar masterpiece, pass it on to the next sucker. Or find another building material if you plan on "nesting" for a while.
We are replacing so much of it that we did 15 years ago it has made for a nice cottage business. So if you want to replace it 15 years from now, use all u want.

It is nice to work with and looks beautiful for 6 months than get ready, because the pay, pay pay is right behind you.
Maybe in Detroit, but that's not true here. Yes left unprotected, low to the ground with poor drainage it'll rot in 15 years. I built decks in Austin for 32 years & most of them were cedar. Some that are over twenty years old still look nice today because the owners took the time or spent the money on maintenance. If it's covered you can get thirty years out of cedar. Tore down/rebuilt a redwood deck that was over fourty years old a few years back, it's mainly the conditions that determines how long they last.
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Old 09-17-2015, 05:25 PM   #12
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Re: Western Red Cedar - To Seal Or Not To Seal?


Quote:
Originally Posted by deckman22 View Post
Maybe in Detroit, but that's not true here. Yes left unprotected, low to the ground with poor drainage it'll rot in 15 years. I built decks in Austin for 32 years & most of them were cedar. Some that are over twenty years old still look nice today because the owners took the time or spent the money on maintenance. If it's covered you can get thirty years out of cedar. Tore down/rebuilt a redwood deck that was over fourty years old a few years back, it's mainly the conditions that determines how long they last.
Well than metro Detroit ain't no place for cedar,
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Old 09-17-2015, 05:54 PM   #13
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Re: Western Red Cedar - To Seal Or Not To Seal?


Quote:
Originally Posted by deckman22 View Post
.....it's mainly the conditions that determines how long they last.
Tis the real truth.
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Old 09-18-2015, 01:22 PM   #14
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Re: Western Red Cedar - To Seal Or Not To Seal?


Some of you folks are talking like the materials you are purchasing today are the same as those that were used 20-30 years ago. That is absolutely wrong.

I would definitely treat Cedar and preferably prior to assembly, using a semi transparent stain/sealer. Vertical surfaces will last much longer then horizontal ones like decks. Whether you wish to keep up on the maintenance is a personal choice. The more work you put into it, the longer it should last.

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