Best Stain for New Cedar Deck 4.8/5 (83)

by Deck Stain Help

Updated February 2020

Best Stain for New Cedar Deck

We appreciate you visiting Deckstainhelp.com, your go-to source for the latest in deck restoration news and trending topics through 2020. If you are looking for honest deck stain ratings, look no further. In this updated article, we offer suggestions for how to best prepare and stain a new cedar deck. Feel free to leave a comment below.


What Stains Work Well on New Cedar Deck

New Cedar Wood Decking stains

New Cedar Wood

There are many different types of cedar used for exterior surfaces with Red Cedar being the most common. We recommend you wait 3+ months to stain new smooth cedar wood surfaces to allow the wood to weather, creating an ideal porous surface that will hold the stain better. (Always follow the stain brand’s directions, though). After the weathering, all new cedar wood should be cleaned and brightened for the prep. This will remove any oxidation and mill glaze.

New Rough Sawn Cedar Wood

Rough sawn wood is not used for horizontal decking surface, but rather verticals such as fencing, wood siding, etc. This side of the wood does not have a mill glaze and is very absorbent. As long as the wood has a low moisture content, it can be stained right away.

Many wood stains have difficulty penetrating new dense woods like cedar. If a stain does not penetrate the wood it will remain on the surface and become susceptible to peeling and flaking. The best wood stains for new cedar are deep penetrating paraffinic oil-based stains that are thinner in viscosity. Stains for new cedar wood should dive deep into the wood to condition the wood cells and provide protection from UV fading and moisture damage.

We like a couple of different stains for new cedar wood. One is Armstrong Clark Wood Stain. It is composed of both drying and non-drying oils that break apart from one another throughout the application process. The non-drying oils dive into the new cedar to condition the wood’s cellular structure while the separated drying oils cure on the exposed surface to not only lock in the conditioning oils but to protect the surface from natural weather exposure.

Another similar stain best for new cedar wood is Timber Oil Brand. This is a paraffin oil-based wood and deck stain that penetrates deep into new cedar wood and decks. This cedar stain conditions the wood cells while providing water and UV protection. The Timber Oil brand promises ease of application of good penetration into new decking.

Prepping new cedar wood is important to stain life and performance. New cedar wood should be cleaned using a sodium percarbonate wood cleaner to remove mill glaze and other contaminants that may have infiltrated the wood during construction.

Once the new cedar wood has been cleaned the wood will appear darker. While the wood is still wet, apply a wood brightener to restore the cedar wood’s original color. Brightening wood after it has been cleaned will also open the wood pores to allow the conditioning oils to penetrate better.

Proper cleaning and brightening will ensure the best stain for new cedar wood will perform as expected and provide lasting beauty.

Questions? Please Ask Below


Please Rate This. You may also post comments or ask questions below.

Related Deck Stain Help Articles & Reviews

639
Ask a Question or Post a Review

avatar
 
smilegrinwinkneutralshockunamusedcooloopsrollcryeeklolmadsadexclamationquestionhmmbeg
Photo and Image Files
 
 
 
 
Audio and Video Files
 
 
 
 
newest oldest
Uchenna Emeagwali
Uchenna Emeagwali

Hi I have a cedar deck and I live in Long Island New York. Which is the best stain that I should use? Carpenter recommended Arborcoat but it didn’t get good reviews

Kyle
Kyle

Hi I built a new cedar deck last fall and intended to stain this past spring or summer after giving the cedar a chance to weather, but never was able to get around to it. I live in Portland OR and we are having a rare week long dry period, so I decided to stain now as winter is approaching. (Before finding your website and realizing I probably shouldn’t have sanded) I cleaned the deck with the Olympic deck cleaner product and then sanded the deck (last pass was 80 grit). I was going to apply the stain this morning but after reading this article and your replies to other comments, I am wondering if maybe I should wait until spring (or maybe summer as spring is rather wet and unpredictable around here). What’s your recommendation for how I proceed from here? No product has been applied. Home Depot guy recommended using an Olympic product (I think it was elite or maximum) that he said could be applied even if wood is wet (which it sort of is from the morning fog).

image.jpg
Carl
Carl

Our painter recommended that to clean the greying and dirt of a new cedar deck (installed in July) we should power wash it. We let him do this. The deck is clean but it looks uneven and splotchy. Was this a mistake? If we use a transparent stain will we enhance these imperfections? Should we sand the deck before staining?

Reuben
Reuben

Do I need to weather rough sawn cedar if it passes an absorption test?

Michael Dobby
Michael Dobby

Hello from Ontario. I’m having a small deck built at the moment with two posts and a pergola of cedar and with winter approaching should I get it stained now or wait till spring. Than you .

Bob
Bob

I have new western cedar from a saw mill. I’m going to wrap the posts on my porch and would like to keep as much of the original color and look as possible. What is the best product to use

Lori
Lori

This site is very informative, thank you! We just had a cedar gazebo built w/ a shingles roof. Posts are rough sawn, ceiling smooth tongue and groove. We are in Michigan and heading into winter. My lack of decision on a stain as well as lots of wet weather have prevented staining this far. Are we ok to wait until spring? Can you recommend a stain brand color that will achieve a medium brown/gray look with no yellow/red/orange tones? I have sampled a few Olympic Elite colors with no luck. I love the look of the pillars someone posted in a pic in the comments which you said were untreated.

Have you heard of the Lifetime Wood Treatment product? It is supposed to achieve a natural patina quickly while protecting the wood for a lifetime. Too good to be true??

Thanks!

Jackie
Jackie

My contractor sealed my new 20’x30’ cedar deck while the wood was saturated. There had been a lot of rain prior to him sealing it, and he said he had “blown” some water off from around he posts the day he applied it. Needless to say it did not cure(?). It was blotchy, sticky, and shiny. His solution was to power wash the product off (just did this yesterday), wait until it dries, then apply the sealer again. I am concerned this has damaged the wood and/or really messed it up. He seems like he is not willing to put the work into fixing the problem properly … or maybe he his and I am freaking out for no reason. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

Michael Connolly
Michael Connolly

Hi. I have to refinish a cedar deck that’s more than two years old. The old stain is almost completely worn off. I will sand to prep for staining. Should I pressure wash first? For older cedar, would you still recommend the two products mentioned in your article? Thanks!

Bob Dack
Bob Dack

I’m planning to replace the decking at my mountain cabin next spring after snow melt using western red cedar. If I purchase the decking 3 or 4 months in advance can it “weather” in my shop if stacked using spacers between each layer for airflow?

pearl harwood
pearl harwood

i am purchasing western cedar tongue and groove siding for my beach home. The company is willing to stain the cedar on all six sides. I have a few question. I was reading some of these comments it was mentioned that the cedar should be exposed to the elements for 3 months before staining. I have to put it up before winter sets in. what should i do?
Also I can not have any product that will peel like paint. Should i use oil base or water? Is there a product that should be used before staining and after staining? The siding in front of my house is exposed to sun all day and salt air . I love the N.Y.C. look of modern cedar added to some of the buildings as accent. I want the rows of cedar to take on its different colors of wood.
Please help

Douglas Aucoin
Douglas Aucoin

I’ve just put together a raw white cedar Adirondack chair from a kit bought online.
I’d like to protect the wood but I’d rather not paint because I like the natural wood, but I’d like to prevent the graying of the wood. Is there a way I can stain the wood with a light stain that will protect against graying? (I understand that a clear stain will not protect against graying, but I’m hoping that I keep the color lighter).

francois
francois

I have a fishing cottage in Quebec about 300 km north of Quebec city. Weather is very harsh for the wood. I will built a new cedar deck but it is north oriented and it has not a lot of sunshine period during the day. Maybe 4 hours in the morning. The trout lake is about 50 feet in front of my cottage and it is very productive . I want to use a protective coating that will preserve the environnement and the natural color of my cedar against UV. I’ am looking for a clear protective. During the winter , snow will be about 6 feet over the deck, Temperature will go minus 30 fahrenheit. What do you recommend ? Is Flaxseed a good protective ? I know it is not harmfull for the environment but I don’ t know what degree of protection it gives against UV .

Courtnay Ryan
Courtnay Ryan

We recently put on a new deck with treated cedar wood. Do you still recommend waiting up to around three months before putting on an oil stain? I just wanted to clarify if there might be a difference between allowing the proper time for the cedar to weather depending on if it was already pretreated or not. The wood that we bought has been treated. Thank you for your help!

Courtnay Ryan
Courtnay Ryan

Also wanted to mention I’m in Colorado, up in the moutains. Not sure if that makes a difference in timeframe of weathering process.

Iskra
Iskra

I used Armstrong Clark after following all your instructions. It was melted off by snails (slugs?) — they left bizarre patterns all over where their slime ate through the stain and eventually parts of the deck were stripped. After the first time this happened we pressure washed and re-stained. It happened again! Now I need to have the whole deck sanded and start over. Several people have recommended Pennefin (not sure of the spelling…) but I feel so burned at this point, not sure what to do. It costs a fortune each time to get the deck done. Thoughts?
—no longer an Armstrong fan

jule gallegos
jule gallegos

use copper pennies on the ground

Marty Kindler
Marty Kindler

Hi – I am having a new select tight knot cedar deck being installed now. In terms of stain, I am looking at either Armstrong Clark or TWP 1500. In terms of when to apply the stain, is it recommended to wait a period of time after installation before applying the stain ? Given that I am in New York and if that period of time is 2-3 months, which puts it out to fall, does it makes sense to apply it then or in the spring ? What is the downsize of applying the stain right after installation ?

Thanks,
Marty

jule gallegos
jule gallegos

place cooper pennies or copper sulfate i do believe thats what its called. slugs hate copper

Tracy Hager
Tracy Hager

Hi There~
My tight knot Cedar Deck is a year old… I live in Portland Oregon. It has had a Stain from Miller Paint called “STORM” i was very disappointed in this Stain as it flaked off … I was unaware of “Mill Glaze”. So last Summer with help from the STORM Rep I Striped and Brightened the Deck …let it dry and re stained it again with the STORM Stain. Once again it flaked off especially over the knotty areas. I am now looking for a New Product. I will once again Stripe and Brighten. My Questions are;

1. Should I allow deck to fully dry out before Staining?

2. Should I use one of the Stains you mentioned in your article above – Armstrong Clark Wood Stain or a Timber Oil Brand?? What is best for Tight Knot Cedar?

Cheryl
Cheryl

Don’t like the stain can it be removed

ERIC OLSEN
ERIC OLSEN

I am just putting in a small red cedar deck. The wood was rough and well seasoned and I ran the decking through a plainer to create a smooth surface and restore the grain. I want to stain with a darker tint to avoid the greying and keep it looking good longer. Any suggestions?

Julie
Julie

I have cedar wrapped columns on my front porch that are 8 years old and have never had any product on them. I just pressure washed them today and they have that pretty red color again. From reading here I think I’m needing a semi transparent stain if I want to keep the most natural color? Also do I need to brighten it first?
Thx!

Bruce
Bruce

We have just had a cedar deck installed and it was coated with a Cloverdale oil based stain. This is our deck that is two weeks old and we don’t know what to do. I have been told that it is iron shavings but even with sanding it is still visible we don’t know if we should sand it or what to do.

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
Rober
Rober

I’ve stripped, pressure washed, deck washed (bleached), and sanded our large, 9 year old, red cedar deck and pergola. What a chore! Now I’m baulking at the stain I’ve bought, whether I should use another product, or just leave it naked. I purchased CIL Canadian Wood Oil. Any experience with this product?

Trent Miller
Trent Miller

We have a 1 year old cedar deck. Used the Restore-A-Deck cleaner and whitener. Now it looks all bleached out without any of the natural color. Only has good color when it is wet.
Should proceed with staining or what?

Trent Miller
Trent Miller

We also want a stain that has good cedar color, but the good quality stains recommended all appear to be either overly yellow or overly red. Finding it hard to find something in between.

andy
andy

I used restore a deck products and really had a bad experience all the way around….now 7 months later I am redoing it all….with better product

Jason
Jason

Hello
I’m Biulding a new house in central Canada it’s a timber frame home. And we are going to use cedar siding as I’m going to mill it may self. The wood will be rough cut board and batten style siding. The wood is already seasoned and able to be put on. I want the best stain possible for this as I want it to last. I don’t wana stain ever couple of years so I’d rather spend the money on the best product. What do you suggest ? I’m open to anything.
We are not sure if would should use a wood stain to get the natural wood look, or stain it like dark charcoal something like that. What’s best to use in both applications

John Buckley
John Buckley

How does one make good blue staining in 10 year old weathered cedar cladding

Les Millett
Les Millett

We are having our deck replaced using beautiful, clear white cedar. We live in the SF Bay Area. The contractor says to do nothing and let it just weather naturally. However, we have dogs and young grandchildren, as well as tons of leaves falling onto the deck. As a result, I feel that we really should do something to protect the wood. Questions: how long to wait before putting anything on the deck and what is recommended as a stain/sealant? Thanks

Maureen
Maureen

Our cedar deck was built end summer last year. We let it season and are now ready to stain. We prefer natural look of wood, not color. We plan on cleaning first. Do I need to clean rough pieces on vertical rail sections? Do we need to brighten if deck did not darken over last 10 months? Do I also do treated wood support system (walk out deck) or leave it as is? Product recommendation same as posted for new cedar deck?

Robert
Robert

Would Valspar “One Coat exterior Sealer – Clear” be a good option for a eastern red cedar fence?

Shante
Shante

I built a céder deck last summer and left it a year to condition. I just pressure washed it to remove all the dirt from the winter. Do I need to sand it down before I seal it? If yes what grit?

Bob
Bob

What about a new cedar screened porch attached to a new cedar deck, do we apply the same steps to the above — wait 3 months, clean and brighten, let dry, and stain? Also, is there a brand for clean and brighten you recommend?

Thank you!!!

Erin
Erin

What about staining and sealing a new screened porch? Would we apply the same steps from above – wait 3 months, clean and brighten, let dry and stain? We live in MN so the winters will be tough on the wood.

Thank you!

C J
C J

I need some advice on staining/sealing our new red cedar outdoor furniture! Two gliders and a side table will arrive without sealer in two weeks! I want to apply a white wash look to better go with our new cedar deck which is not red cedar! Can you help or direct me? Would you use deck stain, pickling, or paint? Researching is confusing!

Becky Young
Becky Young

We are needing to stain our home. It was stained about 5 years ago using Flood CWF-UV. Our house is western red cedar and has black where the porch doesn’t cover it. What would u recommend to get rid of the black and to stain our home with.

DE58F453-A742-475A-B3E6-6C435D15F023.jpeg
Ann-Marie
Ann-Marie

We have cedar decking with knots and last year was our first year with it. We left it untreated over the Winter and then power washed it, that seemed to fuzzy wood after. Then we sanded the deck and put Benjamin Moore Arbour coat translucent on it. That made it start to peel and fade away. After another Winter, we are sanding again and want to make sure we do this right so every year this doesn’t happen. Any ideas what we can use. We live in Massachusetts with harsh Winters and lots of pine trees . Would Thompson timber stain be the best for it??

Christine Gearin
Christine Gearin

We have seasoned red cedar top rails on our deck. I followed the stain directions for red cedar and stained the railings. But every season I have to touch up the railings with more stain. Is this normal or is there something I can do to lessen the touch ups? Thank you!

Terri
Terri

We are staining a new cedar dock. If we wait 3 months this will be done over the water. I am assuming we don’t want the cleaner and brightner in the water. Can we stain it before assembly and not wait the 3 months?

Renee
Renee

We have a cedar deck built in 1995 in Nebraska. We made a mistake a few years ago with a reddish stain. Power washed it and finally got the stain off. It appears yellow in color now. We just want a clear protector, etc. What do you recommend?

Seth Wells
Seth Wells

Do you allow to dry between cleaning, brightening and staining?

Tony Johnson
Tony Johnson

My cedar deck was installed 5 yrs ago, I used Penafin brand and every year it gets uglier. I pressure wash every spring before application but it doesn’t help much. So, I need a cleaner restorer and a new stain to use.

Tracey
Tracey

We have just purchased 900 square feet of rough sawn white cedar for deck.. we are replacing past deck. We struggled with stain on old deck.. no stain will guarantee on white cedar! We ended up not protecting at all. What do you recommend.. northern Ontario winters!

Jeremy
Jeremy

I have a newly built deck made from kiln dried cedar. The foundation is green board. I am wondering if it can be stained right away or should I wait? Do I need to use a strong cleaner? Also I was going to put a inflatable hot tub on it. It was built to support the weight but could I wait to stain the deck or is it crucial I put some stain under the tub. I live in Michigan and I will need to take tub down once the winter arrives. It would be cool if just to wait and stain it in the fall but I also want to take very good care of the deck.

Thanks

Jerry
Jerry

My question is about vertical cedar columns on my new house. I waited about 4 months before I applied 4 coats of polyurethane. They looked magnificent for about 1 month and then the southern exposed sides turned white. They look like plastic now. I expect to have to sand all of the poly off but what do you suggest I use to keep a natural color?

Paul Kanareck
Paul Kanareck

Hi there from London England
I would really appreciate some advice on our deck (pictures attached)
It’s cedar and was built 3 years ago. I’m never sure if it was sealed at the time but we have power cleaned it frequently.
It feels like we’ve probably stripped most of the colour from it.
I wondered if I should be both sealing it and staining it? – and if so would you advise any colour to try and restore the original cedar.
Pictures attached
Huge thanks in advance!!

FD8930B0-8073-4C78-A289-305E22220E32.jpeg
44013F0B-B3C3-4E2A-9A95-1FBB6291E6AD.jpeg
9F75FA83-D7FF-4503-B2AD-E8CF5B63CA6E.jpeg
JoAnne Staler
JoAnne Staler

Installed a cumaru deck about 3 months ago. I have the finish work ongoing right now. Using Ipe Oil on the decking (it looks fabulous). The railings are cedar, and the post caps are mahogany (left from a previous deck). What is the best stain (brand, type and color) to use for a complementary stain color? I know it’s impossible to “match’ different woods, but would like a stain color that is close. Also, I’ve seen recommendations for transparent and semi-transparent stain for railings. What is your recommendation and why? After staining, should any kind of finish protection be applied? Thank you!

Scott Johnson
Scott Johnson

What would you advise using to get this color on our cedar columns? I want to try and take the red tint out but don’t want they grey either.

96659720-0BF0-4DB1-9AAF-9F5C2C845B20.jpeg
32850F68-6713-49D5-A582-55503DBACFD2.jpeg
Laura
Laura

We just put on a new deck 5/4″ cedar (untreated). I live in western wa. All the articles i read said to wait 3-4 months before sealing, but coming into the winter this makes me nervous. Should we wait until Spring to seal or stain?

Scott O.
Scott O.

Hello, I have boxed in laminated support beams in my finished basement with rough sawn red cedar. We control the humidity and it receives no direct sunlight. I would like to maintain its natural bright color and texture. Is there a product you would recommend that we should apply or should I not treat it at all? Any advice would be helpful.

Gloria
Gloria

Where can I buy Timber Oil Brand?

dawn hassel
dawn hassel

I live in Seattle and just installed a new tight knot cedar deck. I have read so many opinions about treatment and stain and none of them seem to agree. What products do you recommend to clean and treat the deck. Should I clean it and then wait a few months to treat? Help please!!!

Edd
Edd

I have a cedar swing about 6 years old. It sits in a corner of our yard where it’s covered by trees and doesn’t get much sun light. It turned green with mold or whatever. I cleaned it with a water bleach solution. Now it looks almost new again. How do I protect it from turning green again? Thank you.