LESLIE: Gary in New Jersey has a siding question. What can we help you with?
GARY: I just purchased a home and I powerwashed. It has cedar shake siding all around. It’s on the water. And I wanted to know what I should do. Should I seal it in the spring with some type of sealing product or just leave it natural? I certainly don’t want to paint it. I’m going to leave it natural. But should I seal the cedar siding?
LESLIE: Is there anything on it now?
GARY: There’s nothing. It’s natural cedar. Just it was built up over eight or ten years and I had it powerwashed and it came up beautiful.
GARY: I just don’t know if I should, you know, seal it while it’s exposed.
TOM: Well, you don’t have to seal it but there a couple of things you could do. First of all, if you wanted to retain the color that it has now you do need to solid stain it because it’s going to fade and gray.
LESLIE: Well, not with a solid stain. You could use a semi-transparent or even a sheer just to give it a protective coating. A solid stain is going to deposit a color onto it in an opacity similar to paint. But if you go with a semi-transparent or a sheer or even something that’s a clear; maybe something like Flood’s UWF – I’m sorry, CWF. It’s like a clear wood finish. You can get it in a natural tone. It’s not – or even just clear. And that’s going to bring resistancy to mold; especially since you’re right by the water. Sun damage, blistering, checking, cracking. I mean you do want to have something on there because it is going to dry out eventually.
TOM: See, I disagree on the semi-transparent. I like to use the solid stains because I know that pigment means it’s going to last a lot longer and, to me, solid stain doesn’t look like paint because paint has a sheen but the solid stain still lets the grain of the wood come through.
If you don’t want to go with any of those ideas, the least I would is I would use boiled linseed oil…
TOM: … and you could apply that and that will preserve the shingles and help them retain their integrity and shed some water.
GARY: Now can I spray that or does it have to be applied with a brush?
TOM: No, you could spray it.
LESLIE: Yeah, you could spray it.
TOM: Either way you could spray it. Mm-hmm.
LESLIE: And I think if you have questions about what a solid stain, what a semi-transparent, what a sheer or a clear one looks like, head to a local home center. You know, regardless of the manufacturer they’re going to have samples and all of them carry, you know, semi-transparent clear and solids. This way you’ll see what it looks like on a cedar sample in the store so you can see what the opacity is. This way you know what you’re getting into before you apply something.
GARY: Obviously there’s variations because it’s natural wood but I don’t want to have it really dark.
TOM: Well, you can choose a lighter one. I mean there’s lots and lots of opportunities here. You know, listen. Cedar shingles are cheap. So what I would do is I’d go out and buy a handful of cedar shingles. Buy some pint-size cans of the stains that you’re thinking about working with and apply a coat or two and see what you think. You know, I solid stained my house and it’s been up there like, oh, it’s got to be 12, 13 years now.
LESLIE: Well, yeah. With a solid stain you’re going to get 15 years on a vertical surface. But…
TOM: Yep, exactly.
LESLIE: But you know, it gives you a saturation of the color. Instead of like paint sitting on top, it soaks into the wood and you’ll still see graining but, you know, it’s a color deposit.
TOM: Gary, give it a shot. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.