7 Best Finish for Cedar Siding 2021 [Reviews & Guide]

Cedar is a wonderful material for construction. It can endure a long period without staining or sealing it, but it will ultimately show indications of wear. Protecting and revitalizing your cedar buildings and furniture with a high-quality stain might be a smart decision for the best lifetime, whether it’s a new project or an older surface that could use a refresh.

When it comes to cedar used outdoors for decks, fences, siding, and furniture, choosing the right finish is crucial. These finishes are exterior-grade, contain sealants, and protect the wood from moisture, UV rays, and fungi-caused degradation.  It works just as well as a blanket chest or closet lining outside in the elements.

However, with so many options available, determining which finish is ideal for wood may seem impossible. This article explains the distinctions between different products and important factors to consider while shopping.

Best Finish for Cedar Siding- Quick List

Ready Seal Natural Cedar Exterior Stain and Sealer
Rust-Oleum Ultimate Spar Urethane Oil Based
SEAL-ONCE Nano Penetrating Wood Sealer
TotalBoat Water Based Polyurethane Wood Finish
Minwax Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane
Furniture Clinic Boiled Linseed Oil for Wood

Best Finish for Cedar Siding- Reviews

1. Ready Seal Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood

Ready Seal Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Stain and Sealer for WoodReady Seal Wood Stain is a high-quality outdoor wood stain and sealer for professionals. We can recommend this to be used on decks, fences, arbors, gazebos, wood siding, roofs, and log homes, among other external wood surfaces. It drips and runs freely, resulting in a consistent finish. 

A particular blend of paraffin oil, resins, trans-oxide colors, and algaecides make up the composition. It is one of the products of this category that can give you the best clear finish for cedar siding.

The cedar deck we examined looked far better after we applied the Natural Cedar paint. Having said that, the color did fade after a few days as the paraffin oils penetrate further into the wood grain. We also need to inform you that at the 2 year mark, there was around 50% color retention.

The coverage rate of Ready Seal Wood and Deck Stain was exceedingly low. We had to apply two coats and only got around 8 square feet per gallon of paint. The cost of Ready Seal is lower than typical, but much more stain is required. Our 600 square foot deck required 7-8 gallons of Ready Seal Deck Stain to be 2-coated.

In conclusion, Ready Seal Wood and Deck Stain is a wonderful choice for a smooth, easy-to-apply finish. But keep in mind that due to color loss, it may be essential to reapply every 12-18 months. 


2. Rust-Oleum 9441 Ultimate Spar Urethane Oil Based

Rust-Oleum 9441 Ultimate Spar Urethane Oil BasedVarathane Oil Based Spar Urethane provides outstanding UV and weather resistance to outdoor wood. This long-lasting finish prolongs the life of outdoor wood while enhancing its inherent beauty. With 1 liter of liquid, 100-200 square feet of space can be treated.

The formula is engineered in such a way that it expands and shrinks with weather conditions. It’s also self-leveling, quick-drying, and UV-protective.

For regular use, wait 27 hours after application. Avoid over-brushing or using a roller to avoid bubbles in the finish. Allow 8 hours for the finish to dry before recoating. Recoat only after the previous coats have dried clear and are firm to the touch. 

Two coats are recommended as a minimum. Allow 24 hours for the finish to dry before using it lightly. Allow three days before exposing the surface to normal use. So, if you are looking for the best oil finish for cedar siding this is your product.


3.THOMPSONS WATERSEAL Semi-Transparent Waterproofing Stain

THOMPSONS WATERSEAL Semi-Transparent Waterproofing StainThompson’s WaterSeal provides waterproofing solutions for wood decks and other outside surfaces. The Thompsons waterseal th.042851-16 semi-transparent waterproofing stain is complete outdoor wood protection with an exterior wood stain and sealing. So, it’s definitely going to give you the best finish for exterior cedar siding.

The formula is tinted moderately to impart excellent color while still revealing some wood structure and grain. The primary features of this product are that it is a water-based finish that offers a clear and smooth finishing to the surface. It also protects against water and UV damage and can be used on dry wood.

Not only that, but it also exceeds the ASTM D-4446 Waterproofing Wood Industry Standard.

This product requires only one coat and dries in around two hours. The coat can cover 150-400 square feet and protect a deck or fence for 4 to 6 years.

Customers, on the other hand, have complained about the product’s coloration. The semi-transparent “Woodland Cedar” has a highly “orangish” tone to it. This color does not reflect the image supplied on the web.


4. SEAL-ONCE Nano Penetrating Wood Sealer & Stain

SEAL-ONCE Nano Penetrating Wood Sealer & StainAre you having a question in mind that what is the best finish for cedar siding?

Seal-Once NANO Penetrating Wood Sealer is the answer it can protect your wood from rotting and water damage.NANO preserves old and new wood by allowing it to age naturally without decaying. 

The water-based technique employs a proprietary nanotechnology silicate compound that coats the wood fibers at the cellular level to create a flexible, breathable barrier.

The water-based technique employs a proprietary nanotechnology silicate compound that coats the wood fibers at the cellular level to create a flexible, breathable barrier. Wood’s natural life is extended via nanotechnology. It’s non-film forming and won’t change the wood’s original beauty.

NANO protects the wood’s integrity by preventing rot, mold, and mildew growth, as well as warping and cupping. NANO creates a permeable, flexible barrier that allows the wood to stretch and contract while also allowing water vapor to escape.

 Because of the unique NANO technology, the coat can penetrate and attach to the cellular structure of the wood, providing a better shield to protect the surface. This premium wood sealer works like an Oil-based product, without having any hazardous solvents or toxic chemicals, so it’s friendly for pets.

This product needs two coatings and within one hour of applying the first coat, the second coat must be applied. On vertical surfaces, it protects for up to 10 years, while on horizontal surfaces, it protects for up to 6 years.


5.TotalBoat Halcyon Marine Varnish – Water Based Polyurethane Wood Finish

TotalBoat Halcyon Marine VarnishTotalBoat Halcyon Marine Varnish is a unique varnish that gives brightwork a durable, shine, or satin finish without the arduous prep, long drying time,  sanding, or unpleasant odors that most varnishes come with.

A one-part low-VOC composition provides effective UV protection and helps to prevent yellowing. Due to temperature variations, the flexible finish resists cracking and lifting.

With higher abrasion, scratch, and solvent resistance, it cures harder than most 1-part varnishes. It dries quickly, allowing you to recoat in 1 hour at 72°F with no sanding in between coats. Skinning and waste are avoided with the resealable Pour PakTM.

Amber Gloss Varnish is a lovely tint that brings out the natural beauty of wood. It has a stronger finish than typical spar varnish, so it will withstand heavy traffic.

Halcyon is a clear gloss, amber gloss, and clear satin paint that is a suitable finish for indoor and outdoor usage above the waterline. The varnish is one of the better boat varnishes you can use and it’s also one of the best rated finish for cedar siding.


6. Minwax Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane

Minwax Water Based Helmsman Spar UrethaneMinwax Helmsman Spar Urethane is a protective clear finish for exterior and interior wood that has already been exposed to sunshine, water, or temperature changes.

It also contains UV blockers, which prevent your wood from graying and fading as a result of the sun’s rays. The product is capable of forming a water and moisture-resistant barrier.

After 4 hours, you can recoat, which is a short drying period when compared to other products. As seasons and temperatures vary, a specific type of oil allows the finish to expand and contract with the wood.

It’s perfect for doors, windows, trim, bathroom cabinets, bar tops, kitchen countertops, and patio furniture. In total, the Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane needs 3 coats and can cover up to 125 sq ft. The Cedar can be considered as also one of the best finish for exterior cedar siding but you have to keep in mind it dries up quite quickly.


7. Furniture Clinic Boiled Linseed Oil for Wood

Furniture Clinic Boiled Linseed Oil for WoodBoiled Linseed Oil is used to give fresh or stripped naked interior wood a mellow, patinated finish. It’s a high-quality oil that’s identical to Raw Linseed but has had hot air blown through it to speed up the drying process. 

Boiled Linseed Oil is a high-quality oil that has been treated with hot air to make it dry faster, resulting in a robust, durable, and slightly glossy finish on the wood. Linseed oil is an excellent wood polish for transforming dry, aged wood and sealing furniture to prevent cracking.

It can be used on all types of wood and is perfect for all sorts of furniture except the exterior, and it works well as a furniture polish. Terracotta tiles, concrete, and other stone products are also good options for this.

1 liter will cover approximately 200 square feet. Allow the oil to settle and penetrate into the wood for 24 hours before applying a second application and wiping away any excess after 20 minutes.

In between coats, the surface can be carefully scraped with fine steel wool to improve the final results.



1)Is paint or stain better for cedar siding?

Cedar siding should be repainted every 5-8 years, but with certain additional precautions, you may get up to 10 years out of one coat but stains will give you a more natural look and durability. Paint provides greater protection and is a fantastic option for homes that have had previous peeling concerns due to previous painting applications. 

2) What is the best way to finish cedar siding for outdoor use?

A transparent stain is the best choice if you want to keep the cedar looking as natural as possible.


Finally, cedar siding is well worth the effort you put into it. After all, it gives your home a more sophisticated look.

You may need to repair the cedars from time to time because the siding is continuously exposed to outside hazards. It could be exhausting as well as pricey for you. The best finish for cedar siding comes in handy in this situation because they extend the life of your cedar.

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