Cedar is a hardwood that is used in many home-building projects. The cedar's rich color accents both the inside and outside of many homes, but like every wood, the cedar needs to be properly protected. This is especially the case if your cedar will be outside of your house, battling the harsh weather elements. There are multiple sealers out there that will protect your cedar wood, keeping it beautiful for years to come.
Solid stains offer the best protective finish for cedar wood as it penetrates deep into the wood. When the solid stain seeps into the cedar, all of the porous openings are filled in with the stain's acrylic resin. This prevents moisture from entering the wood. Moisture accelerates the rotting process and cedar, while strong hardwood, is still capable of rotting rather quickly if not sealed properly. Solid stain ensures the cedar stays protected for the longest possible amount of time.
Semi-transparent stains are the next best stain available for cedar wood. Like the solid stain, the semi-transparent stain seeps deep into the cedar, protecting it from moisture and the elements. Its water-repellent top coat keeps the cedar dry during even the most harsh weather. As it is semi-transparent, the stain preserves the natural color of the wood, which solid stains completely mask. It also prevents discoloration from direct spills onto the cedar wood.
Clear wood stains offer very similar protection to sold and semi stains, but the clear lasts only a few short years. Do not be surprised to find yourself staining the deck once every other year if you are using a clear stain. The problem with the clear stains is that they lack the strong acrylic resin that superior stains possess. While clear stain is not the best, it is the lowest in price and will protect the cedar, even if it is only for a few years.
While all of the different stains offer unique differences, mixing the stains together will give you a one-of-kind look and feel to your cedar wood. You can have the strength of the solid stain, the natural beauty of the semi-transparent stain and the "wet" look of the clear stain all on one cedar plank. While this is obviously the most expensive route, this will give your cedar the protection it needs along with the beauty you desire.