Cedar coatings - click to enlarge
Cedar can be left bare, to naturally weather to a grey colour or coated in a range of oils or stains. Using a coating will give the UV protection needed to prevent fading or greying of the timber. We have applied 6 commonly used products to a test panel, shown on the right. We have a second photo, below, showing how the different treatments weather over time. We did one row with a single coat for all the products, this will give an idea of how things will look after they fade a little and some may even choose to do one coating.
Initial coating is best done with the panels on the ground, prior to assembly. This makes the job much quicker and easier. The best tool is a heavy nap roller with a long handle attachment. All products will require recoating after a time, typically 3-5 years.
After 9 months of weather
We don't endorse any of the products tested but we do have some opinions: The clear coat from Dulux Intergrain, does look very nice initially but we have had feedback that is doesn't protect the underlying colour as time goes on and it can flake. One of our favourite colours is the Ultradeck Light Oak option, again from Dulux Intergrain, some of our shed/studio photos have been done with this stain.
Stains will change the colour of the natural cedar but they do preserve well, the underlying grain/pattern of the timber, the grain is one of the features of cedar, its patterns are much more pronounced than pine or other styles of cladding.
Painting is an option many customers have chosen also, you will lose the natural look of timber but colour choice and long term protection are the benefits with paint. Because of cedar's large pores, it is necessary to prime the wood before painting it also. Any acrylic paint will work, talk to your paint supplier about what they recommend.
Weathered cedar - click to enlarge
A two tone paintjob looks best with the doors/windows a different colour to the walls.
Unprotected cedar will fade to a grey colour fairly quickly, within a year or so. It will still last a long time, but will eventually decay one day. The weathering penetrates to about 2mm fairly quickly but then slows dramatically. Cedar deteriorates slowly due to the natural oils it contains: cedrine, cedrol, and thujopsene. These have many natural benefits from termite and bug repelling to medicinal properties to treat things like fungus.
We recently coated a cedar studio in a dark stain called Black Ash, by Cutek. There are several photos of this on the Pioneer 20x10 studio page. This is a high quality product that is available at many paint suppliers Australia wide. It provides a great contrast on cedar timber due to the rich grain. Image on the right shows the Black Ash on our cedar studio Pioneer.