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The Best Way to Seal Cedar Siding

Alexis Writing

Cedar siding is beautiful, elegant, and long-lasting—it can last on some houses for over one hundred years. Sealing cedar siding is an excellent way to ensure its longevity.

However, improperly sealing your cedar siding can result in “bleeding,” an unattractive condition that causes chemicals to run down the siding, resulting in dark streaks that mar the wood. Choosing the correct type of seal and sealing properly will prevent bleeding and leave your cedar looking good for ages.

Choosing a Sealer

Sealer for cedar siding is available in many different types. Your primary objective should be quality. Synthetic resin water-repellent (especially one fortified with epoxy) sealer or high-quality paint will both do the trick. It is important to remember that lesser quality paints or sealers will not only lose their color or chip over time, they will not shield the beautiful cedar from the elements, resulting in damage to the siding. Choose your sealer wisely; take the time to find the color of stain or sealer that you like, but spend more time researching the particular type of paint or sealer you’ve decided on, to ensure that it will protect the wood for a long time.

Preparing the Wood

There are a number of ways to prepare the wood that you decide to seal; however, preparation may vary depending on whether you’re resealing cedar siding, or sealing new siding by the board. Homes already equipped with cedar siding must be cleaned thoroughly before sealer is added. While some prefer to use a pressure washer because it’s easier, doing so can damage the delicate wood. Instead, try washing the siding by hand. The process will take much longer, but the results will be clean, undamaged wood that will allow the sealer to stick.


Make sure that the cedar siding is completely dry before attempting to seal. To prevent bleeding, seal the wood entirely before installing it on your house. If you plan to paint the wood or stain it with solid colors, you must first prime the wood on all sides, including the edges. This will prevent water damage from reaching through the back of the wood to cause noticeable chemical bleeding. Stains may be applied similarly, without using primer. Once all sides are coated, the siding may be installed. If the siding has already been installed on the house, seal carefully and slowly, ensuring that sealer reaches all the cracks. While pre-treated wood to be installed is the best option, applying sealer to cedar siding that already exists on a house will still ensure the longevity of the wood better than leaving your siding unsealed.