Staining Cedar With a Semi-Transparent Stain
Semi-transparent stains are your best bet when you want the real look of slightly weathered cedar with protection. The few solid particles in this mix will not significantly obscure cedar’s wood grain. However, with the semi-transparent stains you will need to take care with application. Manual brushing is often the best option, since spraying can result in blotching. Semi-transparent stain also beads up water, preventing moisture from penetrating the wood’s cellular structure.
Staining Cedar With a Solid Color Stain
Solid color stains have solid particles, but not nearly as many as paint. Thus, solid color stains let some of cedar’s grain show through, but none of the color. What you get is a very uniform opaque color. The upside is that solid color stains block most damaging ultraviolet light. Plus, this type of stain is excellent at repelling water.
Treating Cedar With Primer and Paint
Paint is your best option for treating cedar if your only intent is protection. Paint’s solids ward off light, and light is the main contributor to the deterioration of cedar. Lighter colors last longer, since they reflect light more efficiently than darker colors. It is notoriously difficult to mimic wood color with paint. If you absolutely want some type of wood appearance, paint is not a good alternative. Because of cedar’s large pores, it is necessary to prime the wood before painting it.