Is Cedar Wood Waterproof? [Answered]

No wonder, cedar is good for different kinds of wooden projects. It has lots of wonderful properties such as durability, lightweight, beautiful texture, high thermal coefficient, and so on.

But today’s question; is cedar wood waterproof?

Long story short; the cedar wood is water-resistant but it is not waterproof. That means the cedar wood is resistant to penetrating water but not impervious to water.

And in this article, I will explain why it is water-resistant but not waterproof as easily as ABC. Also, you will get to know, is it good for the outdoors and how we can make the cedar wood waterproof.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started-

Why Isn’t Cedar Wood Waterproof?

You may know the difference between water-resistant, water repellent, and waterproof. Let me clear you again-

Water-Resistant- Able to withstand absorbing water but not entirely.

Water Repellent-  provides greater protection than water-resistant. A hydrophobic surface coating refuses to penetrate the water easily.

Waterproof- There is no effect of water.Fully impervious to water.

As you know; cedar naturally has lots of good properties. Among those, low moisture content, and low density are related to today’s topic.

Contain Polyoxyphenols

It contains polyoxyphenols called thujaplicin. This is a chemical compound that acts as a natural wood finish and makes the cedar wood water and weather resistant.

Low Moisture Content

According to the expert, higher moisture content helps the wood to absorb more water and hold them longer. But the cedar has 10 to 50% lower moisture content than other softwoods. So, you will be happy to know, cedar can absorb minimum water and dry out the water quickly.

Low Density

Also, cedar wood has lower density than other wood. That means, the cedar wood doesn’t hold up or low the moisture content, it always maintains the moisture percentage. So, it dries quickly when in contact with the water.

Both low moisture and low density make the cedar wood stable dimensionally. That means the cedar doesn’t shrink and swells too much. As the wood doesn’t crack and absorbs too much water.

Final Statement

As you can see, cedar doesn’t improvise the water and it can absorb water but not much like other softwood. So, the unfinished cedar wood is not waterproof or water repellent But it is naturally water-resistant.

Another benefit; those properties help to dry the water quickly and make the cedar wood rot resistant. Because holding the moisture too long can damage the wood tissue and the wood starts rotting.

How To Make The Cedar Wood Water Repellent & Waterproof?

Finishing or sealing is the best way to make the cedar wood water repellent and waterproof. Mostly film foaming finish is the best choice for finishing cedar wood to make waterproof. The film foaming finish creates a top layer on cedar wood that prevents penetrating water.

polyurethane, spar urethane, and some exterior wood finish are the most popular film foaming finish.

Can Cedar Be Left Unfinished?

As you know; Cedar wood has some good properties. It can naturally be water, decay, and insect resistant. So, you can leave your cedar wood unfinished. But to enhance the beauty of cedar wood and increase its longevity you should seal the cedar wood, especially outdoor cedar.

What Happens to Cedar If Left Untreated?

The cedar wood will change color and become softer day by day. Finally, the cedar wood will rot after a few years.

How Long Will Unfinished Cedar Last?

Actually, it depends on some factors such as the position of the wood, weather conditions, usages, and so on. But in general, the unfinished cedar wood can last 1- 5 years. In some conditions 10 years.

How To Seal Cedar Wood?

Required Items:

  1. Wood Sealer
  2. Sandpaper
  3. Synthetic brush
  4. Protective Gear


  1. Cedar dust is allergic. So, wear protective gear.
  2. Sand the wood if required.
  3. Clean the wood.
  4. Put the stick on the sealer and stir gently.
  5. Soak the brush and wipe the brush on the wood.
  6. After completing the entire wood, let them dry.
  7. Recoat after dry.
  8. After the final coat, wait for fully cure.

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Related FAQs

Is Unfinished Cedar Weatherproof?

Unfinished cedar wood can survive in extreme heat and rain. But it is not weatherproof. It is weather resistant. It can survive unfinished longer than other wood.

Should I Seal My Cedar Fence?

Yes. You should seal the cedar fence. According to the expert, you may use unfinished cedar for indoor furniture. But for outdoor, you must seal or finish. Otherwise, the wood will change its color.

Is Cedar Wood Good For Outdoors?

Generally, 9% to 14% moisture-containing wood is good for outdoors. And cedar wood contains max. 12% moisture.

That means cedar is long-lasting wood for outdoor. Also, It is naturally water, rot, and insect resistant. So, cedar wood is strong enough to survive in adverse outdoor conditions.

Is It Better To Stain Or Seal A Fence?

If you don’t like the natural color, stain is the perfect option for you. Don’t want to change the natural color, but you want to enhance and protect the fence. Then a sealer is for you.

Some sealer contains some natural stain and some stain contains sealing properties. So, you should consider that before buying.


Is cedar wood waterproof? It is the burning question in the forum. But I haven’t got any scientific answer to this question. Everyone just gives his own opinion.

That’s why I will try to answer the question. I hope this article helps you to understand why the cedar wood isn’t waterproof and why it is water-resistant.

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