How to Stain Cedar Shingles

A fresh coat of stain can enhance the beauty of brand new cedar shingles and rejuvenate the appearance of old, weathered ones, as well. However, before you slap a quick coat on the wooden shingles on your home, you need to pay special attention to the proper preparation steps which are critical to a neat, long-lasting finish. In addition, it's essential that you take your time and properly cover any areas you do not want stained or you may end up permanently ruining them.

Step 1

Wash any dust, dirt and cobwebs from the surface of the cedar shingles using the pressure washer. Allow the wood to dry completely before proceeding to step two.

Step 2

Re-attach any loose cedar shingles using a hammer and nails.

Step 3

Sand down any splintering areas of the cedar shingles using the 80 to 120 grit sandpaper. Sand along with the grain of the wood and never against it or you will damage the surface.

Step 4

Cover any areas you do not want stained with blue painter's tape. Cover larger areas with heavy-duty cloth drop-cloths.

Step 5

Pour the oil-based stain into the 5-gallon bucket. Stir it with the wooden stir-stick.

Step 6

Apply the stain to the cedar shingles using the paintbrush. Brush along with the grain of the wood being careful to smooth any runs or drips.

Step 7

Continue applying stain until all of the cedar shingles are covered. Allow the surface to dry for two hours. Apply another coat if necessary.


  • A pressure washer can easily damage cedar shingles. Always begin on a low setting and increase pressure gradually. In addition, stand at least 4 to 5 feet away from the cedar shingles to avoid strong concentrated pressure that may split or crack the shingles.
  • Never use plastic drop-cloths when working with stain as this will result in the stain pooling up.
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