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How To Stain Your Cedar Furniture

Your furniture is suited to an indoor or outdoor life, year round. It is shipped natural and untreated. It can then be stained or left in its natural condition. Staining and other treatments tend to add longevity to your furniture, particularly for the outdoor pieces.

It is perfectly acceptable to stain your furniture after several years of weathering or immediately following your purchase. This means you can wait to decide if you keep the natural, graceful gray.

We recognize that there are many people who wish to preserve the look of unfinished cedar. In this case, we suggest using a wood preservative.

Preparation: The correct preparation is the key for stains to adhere. The preparations we suggest ensure the wood’s porousness, which is desirable because the wood’s grain is revealed. These preparations also ensure that the wood is clean and dry when it is stained.

The Protection of Property: We recommend that you use a drop cloth to protect any surfaces you many be working on. If you’re inside, ensure adequate ventilation.

Weather: In general, try to work on the furniture when temperatures range from 50° to 85° F. Humidity should be below 80%. If the furniture is outdoors during the staining process, it should be protected from the elements. Finally, abide by any particulars on the stain or paint label.

Sand or Pre-Wet your Furniture.

To Pre-Wet: Unless you have a power washer, get the garden hose or a pump sprayer out. Thoroughly soak the piece. Wait 4 to 5 drying days before you stain.

If you prefer, the market offers detergents specialized for cleaning your furniture.

To Sand: You may sand your furniture by hand. This light sanding should be done across all surfaces of the piece. Any loose wood fibers or dust should be removed by brushing.

Choosing A Finish
Stain or Paint? Painting or staining is both possible with cedar furniture. They may enhance your furniture and ensure its longevity. With either, carefully consider your color choice and how you will be using the piece. Paints and stains are usually interior or exterior specific.

Stains come in many colors and are recommended over paints as it allows you to see the grain of the wood because it penetrates the wood. Staining will also last longer than paint as paint will chip after aging.

Painting is another option for your furniture. Be mindful of your existing color schemes, but we’ve seen nearly every color work. We recommend using semi-gloss latex paint instead of oil, as the wood maintains its internal moisture balance with the latex.


Color Check: It's always best to do a color test of the color that you want to use on the underside of your furniture first.

Applying a Finish: Separate parts of the furniture from the whole. For instance: remove any drawers from their dresser.

Stir your paint/stain and apply the first coat. Begin by staining the lower portions of the piece, working your way through the sides to the top. Let it dry. The product coverage depends on the wood’s porosity, grade and texture. A second coat will guarantee a richer color depth and enhance the longevity of the stain.

A Final Touch: A coat of primer and a light sanding will complete the process.

Specifics: The tapered ends of the furniture are left as a rougher finish and are usually slightly darker in color. To alter this effect, try either of the following.

1. Sand the tapered ends down to an equally smooth finish. Then stain entire piece.

2. Stain the piece with a first coat, except for the tapered ends. For the second coat, stain the entire piece.

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