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.

Things You Will Need

  • Pressure washer
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • 80 to 120 grit sandpaper
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Heavy-duty cloth drop-cloths
  • Wooden stir-stick
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Paintbrush designed for oil-based stain
  • Oil-based stain
  • Mineral spirits


  • The tannins in oil-based stain tend to settle over time. Be sure to stir the stain every 10 or 15 minutes as you work to ensure that the tannins are distributed evenly.
  • Use mineral spirits to clean your paintbrush. Never use water as this will ruin the brush.


  • 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.

About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images