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How to Finish Cypress Wood

April Sanders

Cypress wood is desirable for its durability, beauty and stability. The oil in the wood is a natural preservative, which makes cypress resistant to insects, chemicals and rot. Cypress wood is stable and does not easily split or crack.

Cypress wood is extremely durable.

For these reasons, it is often used on the exterior of buildings and for other outdoor uses that require long-lasting wood, such as dock pilings or electrical poles. The golden hue also makes it a top choice for cabinets and furniture. Use a polyurethane varnish to finish indoor cypress wood. If finishing outdoor cypress wood, use an oil-based mildew-resistant wood stain.

  1. Remove all furniture from the room if you are finishing a floor. If you are finishing furniture or cabinets, protect nearby items with old blankets or a tarp. Protect outdoor plants with sheets of plastic if working outdoors.

  2. Slip on some gloves to protect your hands. Begin applying the varnish or stain in a corner and work your way across the boards. Use a soft paintbrush and slow, even strokes. If you are varnishing furniture, let the top dry completely before turning the furniture over and finishing the other side.

  3. Let the varnish or stain dry completely. If you are using varnish, lightly sand the dry first layer with 220-grit sandpaper, vacuum up the dust and then apply a second coat. This will protect the cypress and make it shine. Stains do not usually need a second coat, but if you desire a darker look, apply the second coat while the first coat is still wet.


Open windows and turn on fans if you are using polyurethane varnish indoors, as the odor can be strong.