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How to Treat – and Protect – Cedar Shingles

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Tim in Rhode Island, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    TIM: Purchased a house approximately five years ago. And they had recently replaced the outside shingles around the entire house and it looked very pretty. In a couple years, it’s turned gray and so I took a power washer and I stripped it all down and it looked very pretty again. And last year, I ended up doing the same thing again but I – if I keep doing this, it’s probably going to end up with no shingles on the house at all.

    So, what I’m wondering is, do you have any recommendations on what I might or might not treat it with? I thought of Thompson’s WaterSeal or something like that and then I said that (inaudible at 0:22:21) came from this one and that one – “Don’t seal cedar shakes.” And I said, “Well, I don’t know what to do.”

    TOM: Here’s the deal. So, you put the cedar on, it looks great and then it oxidizes and turns gray. Now, if you use red cedar, it will turn like a dark, kind of yucky gray, which people don’t like. If you use white cedar, then it kind of turns to that sort of pleasant, almost New England-looking gray, which people love.

    If you’ve got red cedar shingles, what you have to do is stain them. There’s nothing wrong with this. I’ve got a house that’s got red cedar shingles. And the way we stain them enabled the stain to last over 20 years, which is virtually unheard of. But here’s what you do. What you do is prime them first with an oil-based primer and then you apply a solid-color stain on top of that.

    Now, stain comes in solid-color and semi-transparent. Solid-color has more pigment in it and lasts the longest. And if you do it in that way – if you prime it first and then put the solid-color stain – you’ll get, easily, 15, 20 years of life out of that siding.

    Now, the solid-color stain doesn’t look like paint. It’s not coated. You’ll still see the wood grain sort of showing through but it really looks nice and you’re not going to have to deal with this. You’re right: if you keep pressure-washing these, you’re basically taking years off the life of this, because cedar is really soft. And if you keep stripping off that outside layer, you’re not going to have a lot left.

    So, I would let them get good and dry. I would have it primed and then stained on top of that. It can be done all by brush or by roller. You put a lot of material on it. The last time we had our house done was actually about a year ago now. And it was all applied by roller and brush and it looks fantastic. And the time before that was literally 20 years ago, so that’s how long it lasted.

    TIM: That helps me a lot. I really appreciate your advice.

    TOM: Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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