How to Stain Rough Sawn Wood 4.7/5 (71)

by Deck Stain Help

This post was updated on January 19, 2022

Staining Rough Sawn Wood Tips

DeckStainHelp.com has become the Internet’s go-to site for wood deck restoration tips. Rough sawn wood can be used to construct and stain a beautiful wood deck. In this article, we offer tips for staining rough-sawn wood for the best results. If you have any questions on staining rough sawn wood, feel free to leave us a comment with pictures if you have them.


Easy Application Tips for Staining Rough Sawn Wood

Rough Sawn Deck Trim

Rough Sawn Deck Trim

Rough textured wood also known as “rough sawn” is wood that is used as originally cut. It has not been smoothed out or sanded in most cases. Wood like this is a bit more difficult to stain than smooth textured wood but it does not have to be an overwhelming task. Rough sawn wood is commonly used for exterior wood fences, decking trim, and house trim. Typical wood types are cedar and pine.

Using the right stain and tools can make the job much easier when it comes to rough sawn.

When dealing with rough sawn wood it is important to prepare the wood prior to staining. Use a wood cleaner to break loose any dirt, grime, and gray fibers. Then wash the wood surface with a stiff brush or pressure washer. Be careful not to use excessive pressure that could damage the wood surface. After using a wood cleaner, a wood brightener should be applied to neutralize the pH level and brighten the wood back to its original appearance.

Note: If the wood is new, no prepping is needed and staining can be done right away.

Once the wood dries following the cleaning it is time to stain. Check your local weather and make sure there is no rain forecasted for the next 12-24 hours. It is also best to apply wood stain in temperatures between 60-80 degrees. It should not drop below 32 degrees within 8 hours of staining.

Choose a wood stain that is specifically designed for rough-sawn porous woods. You want to use a good penetrating stain that states it is best for rough-textured surfaces. Stay away from hardwood stains and film-forming type stains.

For rough sawn wood you can use a brush and/or roller. A brush is good at getting into corners and cutting in along edges. If you use a roller a ¾” nap is best for pushing stain into the rough surface. Try not to stain in direct sunlight. Mask off any areas you do not want stained. Stain one board or section at a time to eliminate lap marks. If the wood seems really thirsty, you can apply two “wet on wet” coats if the stain you are using allows.

You can also apply stain to rough sawn wood using a pump or airless sprayer. Spraying the stain can allow it to get into the rough texture of the surface with less effort than brushing or rolling. Just be sure to mask any windows, siding, concrete, and other surfaces in the area.

Note: Our favorite method for staining rough sawn is to lightly spray on the first coat with a pump sprayer. This will absorb deeply, giving a nice base coat. We then follow up with a stain pad or brush to apply a second coat right away. This will ensure a nice even coverage.

Always follow the instructions on the label of stain you are using. Wear proper personal protection. Depending on the stain you, use mineral spirits or soapy water to clean up all your equipment and tools after staining. Keeping rough sawn wood maintained can be easier by following these simple guidelines.

Rough Sawn Wood Stain Colors

Have a Question on Staining Rough Sawn Wood? Ask Below!

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Erin DeFisher
Erin DeFisher
15 days ago

We have a rough sawn red cedar that’s original to the house. It’s downstairs in our bi level house that was built about 45 years ago. It makes the room dark and we’re trying to figure out how to lighten the room. Is it possible to stain it a lighter color?

Melissa GRANT
Melissa GRANT
1 month ago

We just installed cypress post on the front of our house. Before we could stain them they started mildewing. Do I need to do something before I stain?

Nathan Adams
Nathan Adams
2 months ago

How about using same product (TWP dark oak) on an entry door? FIR species.

Would it need to be too coated with a polyurethane or some other product?

Nathan Adams
Nathan Adams
2 months ago

What brand again is shown as dark oak ? 3rd from top

LK Maxwell
LK Maxwell
2 months ago

Hello, we have a very slow siding replacement project that uses rough cut cedar boards for window and door trim, as well as for porch posts and trim. The 20 year old cedar siding that we just tore off was stained black and badly sun damaged from the Oklahoma heat. Our new cedar wood trim is now a variety of ages (1-8 months), colors, and textures because the work has been so slow.

I can’t figure out what stain to apply. The painter plans to pressure wash the older, grayed boards then stain but stain newer boards with no prep. Painter likes oil based stains but is willing to apply water based. My main consideration is longevity, because I can’t reach the second floor windows myself and I don’t want to hire someone to maintain the trim more often than necessary. We would like to maintain a rustic, lighter/natural toned cedar look if possible. Thanks for any help!

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Chris hornick
Chris hornick
3 months ago

We bought a home that has rough cedar front porch (beams and handrails). The original stain is reddish brown and worn, can we re-stain over the existing with a
solid white stain?

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Todd Sherwood
Todd Sherwood
3 months ago

Hi. I have rough cut cedar that I’m going to use for a mantle. I want it to look aged like dark barnwood. Any advice on stain or pre stain. Thanks

Kelly Rehwoldt
Kelly Rehwoldt
3 months ago

I am replacing several rotten cedar vertical boards on my deck railing with new cedar wood that is rough sawn on one side but is smoother on the other side. Is this board considered rough sawn that can be stained right away or do I need to wait before staining. I plan on staining with TWP Semi-Solid Pro-Series Stain.

Kelly Rehwoldt
Kelly Rehwoldt
3 months ago

I am staining both sides of the deck railing.

Joe Le Doux
Joe Le Doux
4 months ago

What product do you recommend for staining roughsawn cedar (exterior)? I want to seal the inside of my flower box.

Laura
Laura
4 months ago

I have dark rough exterior beams that are in need of restaining. Do I have to sand the old stain off to redcoat them to make the color uniform?

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Julianna
Julianna
4 months ago

Help, please! I need to stain our rough-cut pine studio/shed, but need to clean it first. It’s brand new (well, it was back in December last year), not been treated in any way yet, I kept waiting for better weather, plus we’ve been working on finishing it inside first, but I don’t want to leave it for winter. The bottom on two sides is majorly discolored from all the mud that the thunderstorms splashed onto it, so I need to clean that up before staining. I read that water-based stains are better than oil for a number of reasons. I’ll gladly take any advice on how to tackle this project.
Thanks.

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Julianna
Julianna
4 months ago

Thanks.

Tere Vastine
Tere Vastine
4 months ago

Help! We have beautiful timber work on the exterior of our new home. We wanted to keep the beams natural — rough sawn cedar — and just do a clear coat as a sealer. However, the painter used a product with parafin in it and the beams are now a red color and much darker. It’s terrible and doesn’t go with our house at all! How can we get back to the natural cedar color? I need a solution, please!

Phelen
Phelen
4 months ago

I have PA Amish scheduled to install rough cut Hemlock for interior wall (currently walls are OSB ) inside a heated pole barn. Hemlock will be “green” – would it be possible to stain Hemlock boards prior to installation? Thanks!

Olivia
Olivia
5 months ago

We have fresh rough cedar cut from the mill. This wood is for fencing and on our deck. We told the paint store and they sold us exterior paint varnish which takes forever to dry. I feel like we were sold the wrong product. We have a ton of lumber to stain. Would we be better off to use oil stain or this varnish for the protection?

Edward
Edward
5 months ago

Hi I just done my house in bat and board pine the wood is dry I cut the trees and boards 1 1/2 years ago what would you recommend me to use to stain and what’s the best stain

Christina
Christina
5 months ago

Hey, I have a question! We have rough beams in a vaulted ceiling of the great room in our house. They are painted white. We’d love to stain them a dark walnut color to match the fireplace. Everyone tells me this “will be a lot of work” because the white painted beams need to be sanded down first. Is there an easier way? Is there a faux stain – paint that we could put on top of the white painted beams?

Christina
Christina
5 months ago

Ok any product you like most for painting over white beams to give it a more natural walnut type finish? I keep seeing gel stains…

Colleen Tucker
Colleen Tucker
6 months ago

We have a cabin in northern Michigan that was sided with rough-sawn live edge spruce about 15 years ago. While it has slowly turned several shades of gray, I’d like to stain it a semi-transparent or semi-solid tan color. Would this even be possible considering 15 years of weathering, and if so, would we have to powerwash it first? What other intermediate steps would we need to do? What brand of stain would work best?

DaveJohnston
DaveJohnston
6 months ago

I have installed 3/4 inch by 7 1/4 inch wide rough sawn pine. It was freshly milled from an Amish mill. It will be in direct sun for half the day. How long do I wait for it to dry before using oil based stain.

Dave
Dave
7 months ago

Hello – I just had a new rough sawn cedar fence, arbor, and deck railings put up a couple months ago. They are all completely untreated with anything so far. I want to maintain the original color of the cedar and protect the wood from UV, mold, and other problems. Am I correct in assuming that oil based products will protect better? Since I want the color to be as close to it is now (new, natural) or maybe slightly darker, what product would you recommend using on these areas? Thanks!

Dave
Dave
7 months ago

Thanks, appreciate the info!

Charles
Charles
8 months ago

I recently had a fence built with rough sawn redwood. I want to maintain the natural look. I live in southern California where it’s warm and dry most of the year. I have read that untreated redwood will eventually change color. What product do you recommend to keep the natural color but will also work with rough sawn redwood?

Charles
Charles
8 months ago

I’ll look into it. Thank you!

Bill hall
Bill hall
8 months ago

After staining our pergola in white stain a few days later we see brown little circles coming through the white stain. What causes this? And what do I do?

Adan Ruiz
Adan Ruiz
8 months ago

Hello, we have these beams going up on our house first time working with Rough Timbers and would like to clean them up and stain them. They are located on our future new porch. i have attached a picture of the timbers and the possible end result

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Sandy
Sandy
8 months ago

Is Cabot solid color stain good for rough sawn for siding?

deb morgan
deb morgan
8 months ago

Hi, my house is cypress lap siding. At the time of purchase and installation (6 years ago) I was told I could ‘let it gray out naturally’….So I didn’t put anything on it. I love the color. However, have since learned that was a mistake as I am experiencing some (not a lot) of cupping, splitting and nail pops on the hot side of the house…East and south (west is somewhat protected). I know that I need to apply something to protect it. I am open to any product and/or procedure that is recommended to stop any further damage. Thanks.

deb morgan
deb morgan
8 months ago

It’s my understanding that power washing can damage the wood?

debra morgan
debra morgan
8 months ago

Okay. What proper prep products would you recommend?

Jon
Jon
8 months ago

I’m going to use rough cut 6×6 red and white oak for my porch posts to support the porch roof. Do I need to let the posts dry before installing and staining? I am planning on staining my deck boards again after I have them cleaned the same color but it’s pressure treated wood.

Ron
Ron
8 months ago

I am picking up Rough Cut Cypress cut last month – 6×8, 6×4, 10×10 beams and post for outdoor kitchen construction. Can I stain before construction or do they need to dry (how long). If ok to stain now what product do you recommend? Oil or water base?

Thanks

Mike
Mike
8 months ago

I have rough sawn ceiling being installed and would like a brown color such as the brown on the far left in the ad above how can I achieve this look ?

Brandi Bryan
Brandi Bryan
8 months ago

What is the best product to use on rough cut redwood fence boards? We are looking to stain them so that you can still see the wood grain, but want it to be a little on the darker/brown side. This is new wood – it’s pretty rough and a little fuzzy. Can we stain right over it as is, or do we need to sand and smooth first, or use some sort of prep product? Thank you in advance!

Tonya Hensley
Tonya Hensley
8 months ago

Hi,
We have rough cut or rough sawn pine 6×6 post and 4×6 on our front porch that we build a few months ago. Right before winter (north Ga). We are now ready to stain. Weather is starting to stay 60-80 most days. My question is what stain brand should we look at. We were about to do a Valspar brand till I found this site and seen that rough cut wood needs to be done differently. We are also starting to get cracks . Any way of fixing those before or after stain? The last photo is the color id like to have.

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Dan
Dan
9 months ago

Siding with rough cut hemlock, what brands of stain would you recommend

Thomas
Thomas
9 months ago

How do I maintain this natural look of cedar post for years to come

Tracy
Tracy
9 months ago

Hello, we have rough sawn posts inside our home that have never been stained and their maybe a year or two old and I’d like to stain them the same color as our cabinets, their in our kitchen, what brand of stain will work best for this? And any tips are appreciated as I have never done this before thank you.

Lisa
Lisa
9 months ago

We have rough sawn cedar posts on the north-side of our home. We like the natural color so the carpenter said we needed to seal it with a good quality polyurethane. We applied two coats of it and after a year it has developed black mildew under the poly. Can it be treated?

Lisa
Lisa
9 months ago

What’s the best approach in removing it?

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Mona Schaaf
Mona Schaaf
9 months ago

We have large rough cut cedar beams on our home’s exterior. They were originally stained with Olympic chestnut brown (semi-transparent/semi-solid) Can you recommend a better stain that will match this? Thanks for your help.

Liz
Liz
10 months ago

Hi! I am an interior designer working on a clients additon to her cottage. The cottage is clad in 8″ bevelled Cedar from approx. 20 years ago. They are putting an addtion on the cottage so new cedar will be added. My question is… the client does not like the “orange” colour of the cedar. Is there any way to change the colour other than using an opaque stain? She likes the cedar but just wants to tone down the colour. Also, the garage was built in the last few years but it was clad with 6″ pine boards. Both the old and new cedar on the cottage and the newer pine on the garage would have to match. Any suggestions??? Many Thanks for any and all help 🙂

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Last edited 10 months ago by Liz
Christian
Christian
10 months ago

Hello, and thank you in advance.

I had my newish deck and arbor stained a few days ago by a local professional company and the arbor looks really bad to me. Can you tell me what you think they did wrong? The deck is all smooth cedar, but the arbor is rough cedar. Before they stained, they cleaned and sanded the entire deck, but not the arbor, at all. However, it appears to me maybe they didn’t use enough stain for the arbor. I provided the stain to the company and it was the Armstrong Clark, in which we mixed Natural Oak and Natural Tone.

The deck flooring looks pretty good, even though they didn’t properly stain the edges of boards, but I do notice a little stain comes off on my socks when I walk on it. It’s only been a few days though since they stained, but I hope that goes away soon. It’s not tacky though. Do you think I should have them go back and stain the edges of the boards? Is it important that they do so?

Please let me know what you think.
Thank you!

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Christine England
Christine England
10 months ago

What would you recommend for cleaning then maintaining cedar posts? They get lots of sun. South facing with full sun from noon until the sun goes down.

Heather
Heather
11 months ago

My house is rough sawn cypress board and batten. We used a oil stain on it 20 years ago and parts have greyed and other parts are the red color. Would we need to pressure wash the entire house and then stain? When we stain what would be a subtle red color that looks like a cedar red? Thanks in advance.

Joe Ettwein
Joe Ettwein
11 months ago

What stain do you suggest for spraying new board and batten siding?

Adrienne Muller
Adrienne Muller
11 months ago

Hi, we are finishing our basement with rough cut pine on the walls and ceiling. We plan on spray staining. What do you suggest as far as what kind of stain to use.

John
John
11 months ago

I am using rough sawn 1×6 pine planks for a ceiling in my cabana. It will be sheltered from rain of course but is an a outdoor environment. I need advice on what stain will be very light colored and protect the wood. I plan to seal both sides and the ends to prevent shrinkage.

Alan
Alan
11 months ago

I have scrubbed my roof ridge rough sawn timber to clear mildew, and have now left the wood looking lighter in parts, and would to bring it back to as it was before . Can you suggest what type of stain or nourishment I should use. I am in the process of adding ventilation which caused a condensation issue after I had the roof re slated.

Frank Schultz
Frank Schultz
1 year ago

Hi
I have gifted hand made rough sawn cedar birdhouses to family and friends for Christmas. They are asking my opinion as to the best way to seal and protect them for outdoor use. Can you help???
Thank you,
Frank

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Ritchie
Ritchie
1 year ago

I will be receiving my kilm dried roufgh cut pine siding in 32 degree winter. I plan to store it inside a heated shop then in small batches take out side apply stain by spraying then move back into heated shop to dry. Once stain dries start installation on to home. Will this be ok? I don’t have the luxury to wait for warm

Ritchie
Ritchie
1 year ago

I am using roufgh sawn pine bat and board. It has been kilm dried. I plan to use TWP 100 can I single coat back sides 2 coat exposed side?

Michelle Boggs
Michelle Boggs
1 year ago

I had a treehouse built for my daughter back in the Spring. The siding is rough sawn poplar and has started to gray so I have decided to clean and stain it and found your site while attempting to figure out how to best proceed. Would you recommend Restore-A-Deck to clean and prep the surface? Would any of your top rated stains work well for this project? Since the treehouse has weathered, should I consider a solid stain instead of a more transparent one, keeping in mind that I do want it to look as natural as possible but also fresh and not mildewed? Would I need to use a different type of stain for the deck and posts, which is made of pressure treated wood?

If you are willing to answer all of these questions, thank you so much in advance!

Cassie Stewart
Cassie Stewart
1 year ago

We have just moved into a house that has a rough tongue and groove ceiling. It looks very orange and would love to change the color. Is there a gel stain or anything we can do to alter the orange-ish color?

Katherine
Katherine
6 months ago
Reply to  Cassie Stewart

Cassie did you ever end up doing anything with your rough ceiling? I have a similar issue and wondering how to minimize the orange but still keep the wood look Thanks!

Catherine
Catherine
1 year ago

Which is more fire resistant for rough sawn cedar siding – water-based or oil-based exterior stain? We live in the California foothills and need to restain our 20-year-old house and deck.

Paul johnson
Paul johnson
1 year ago

What’s the best stain to use on rough cut pine? For a shed!

Rose
Rose
1 year ago

Can I spray water to help the stain absorb more evenly rather than penetrating too dark to exterior wood? I did thus to even the colour tone of my interior floor. However exterior stains say the dryness of the wood is a bug issue. I am using timberpro UV xp

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