Retaining Cedar Shake Siding

Posted by Sam Sundeleaf on Friday, June 25, 2021

Here in Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA, one of our most distinctive architectural features is cedar shake siding. This natural material offers unique beauty and innate resistance to moisture and insects. With proper care, cedar shake siding can last an exceptionally long time. At Sundeleaf Painting, we do a lot of refurbishing and staining of cedar shake siding. Let's take a look at the process!

Cleaning Prior to Staining Cedar Shakes

Before applying any products to cedar shakes, it is very important to get them clean. Here in the wet Portland environment, cedar shakes often have a layer of mildew or lichen growing on them, which needs to be killed. In addition, airborne contaminants like dirt, dust and pollen must be washed away. 

Most home improvement stores and paint suppliers offer a variety of house washing products. If possible, choose one that is intended for cedar, but a generic house wash will do nicely. If there is lichen or mildew to treat, look for a fungicidal house wash, or make a mild bleach solution.

Spray the house wash onto the siding and let it sit for a couple of minutes, then scrub the shakes with a scrub brush. Always scrub in the direction of the grain. Finally, rinse the cedar shakes with a garden hose, working from the top downwards. 

Another way to clean cedar shake siding is with a pressure washer. On older shakes, this may not be advisable, since the pressurized water can easily cause permanent etching in the wood. On newer siding, a pressure washer can be a time-saving solution.

Make sure to let your cedar shake siding dry completely before moving onto the next steps. In the Portland region, this could take up to two weeks.

Sanding May Be Necessary

If the wood is so new that the surface is smooth, it may resist a new coating. Or if the wood is old and the surface is covered with loose fibers, your new coating could also suffer. Either way, a light, careful sanding is a good way to prepare the surface for its new treatment. 

Pre-treating the Wood

Before you apply your stain, you may need to pre-treat the cedar shakes. The product you use will depend on the age of the cedar shakes, plus the type of topcoat you plan to use. If it will be a transparent or semi-transparent stain, an oil-based primer will help seal the tannins in the wood so that the color stays more consistent. An oil-based primer is also a good idea if you plan to use a latex stain.

Speak to an expert before you purchase or apply your products, so that you are sure you understand what products are best for your situation, and what kind of performance you can expect from them.

Staining Cedar Shake Siding

When it is finally time to apply your stain, it can be brushed or sprayed on. If you use an air-powered spray system, you may still want to brush the surface afterwards to make sure it gets even coverage and an attractive finish.

If you are brushing on the stain, you will want to begin by brushing the bottom edge of the shakes, from one end of a row to the other, then brush the face of the shakes. Start from a top corner, working your way across and downwards until the wall is finished.

Professional Contractor for Staining Cedar Shakes

Considering the expertise and product knowledge needed for staining cedar shake siding, you may do best to hire a Portland painting company, such as Sundeleaf Painting. When you work with an experienced professional, it makes all your decisions easier. You get to enjoy the results of a professional paint job, without the laborious process. Best of all, you can rest assured, knowing your home will stand firm against the forces of nature, with all the beauty and elegance you desire!

Sundeleaf Painting is Portland's expert in refinishing and restaining all kinds of wood, from cedar shakes to kitchen cabinets. Call us for a free estimate, and find out how we can take care of your home.

Sundeleaf Painting, Inc.
2037 SE Ochoco Street
Portland, Oregon 97222
(503) 236-9797

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