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What Color Stain Is Best For Cedar? (With Pictures)


Cedar is a type of conifer, which means it is a softwood. It is durable and strong and is not prone to bowing or warping, but it is lightweight and easy to work with. This combination of properties has made it popular in all sorts of constructions and crafts, but it is especially popular as a decking timber. It is light enough for easy installation and attractive once installed, but it benefits from regular treatment and conditioning, and it is possible to enhance its natural looks with one of the dozens of different colors and styles of wood stain that are available. Below are some of the best colors of stain for cedar in any setting.

divider 5 The 5 Best Stains for Cedar

1. Natural Stain

Natural Stain cedar wood
Image By: Capture and Compose, Shutterstock

A natural stain is transparent and allows the wood itself to shine through. It provides protection against water, dampness, moss, and other potential problems, but it doesn’t alter the look of the wood. Alternatively, if your cedar decking has seen better days, you can buy a cedar-colored stain that is a reddish brown that will help reinject some of the natural color of the wood back into the decking.

2. Red

Red stain cedar wood
Image Credit: JPL Designs, Shutterstock

When we say red, we mean autumnal red rather than bright red. Red works particularly well against natural greens, so if you have planters and pots or a natural plant background for the decking, a natural red finish will make it pop.

3. Natural Brown

Natural Brown Cedar Wood
Image Credit: Anthony Paz, Shutterstock

Natural brown, or rusty brown, lends itself perfectly to use in the yard or garden. It matches the browns you see all around you at various points during the year, and the cedar wood will naturally take this color, so it shouldn’t contrast too much with the base color.

4. Cool Blue

Cool Blue cedar wood
Image Credit: Leka Sergeeva, Shutterstock

Light blue and cool blue deckings are not commonplace, but a subtle blue can bring a touch of color and class to an area where you spend a lot of time sitting down. If you want to go bold, opt for a darker blue. It can make a decking look almost like a seaside promenade, and it is good at hiding marks and stains that might have accumulated on the wood.

5. Slate Gray

Slate Gray Cedar Wood
Image Credit: Stock Enjoy, Shutterstock

Slate gray is a contemporary color for any decking, and it makes a bold statement. This color is becoming increasingly popular because it is closely related to the Scandi home design trend that is taking the world by storm. It is also a practical stain choice because it will hide dirt and grime and may reduce the amount of cleaning you have to do.

divider 5

Can Cedar Be Stained Dark?

Wood lacquer is a particularly good choice of stain for cedar. It is thin enough to be sprayed on, and it is practical for decking and furniture applications. However, lacquer alone cannot be used for external wood covering, so it may need to be combined with other products or is best left for cedar installed in garages, sheds, and even in the house.

Does Cedar Wood Stain Well?

Some cedar naturally lacks pitch and resin, and these substances can make it very difficult for wood to accept stains. As such, cedar will take virtually any stain as long as you choose the right type and apply it well.

Does Cedar Need Pre Stain?

Although you can stain cedar without applying a pre-stain, it will help the wood accept the main stain coat more efficiently, so while it isn’t necessary, it is often advised.

divider 5 Conclusion

Cedar is a beautiful, natural wood, and it is used in the construction of furniture as well as in decking, flooring, fences, and other applications. Although it looks beautiful as is, perhaps with a clear stain to help protect it, dozens of colors and stain options are suitable for cedar. Ensure that the stain provides the level of protection your wood will need, consider adding a pre-stain, and cover the stain well while working neatly and quickly.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay


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