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15 Best Exterior Stains of 2021


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    Concrete Coatings
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Last update on 2021-05-13 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Buying Guide

Best Exterior Stains for Homeowners

What are the best exterior stains for cedar siding? Cedar outdoor siding is one of the most desirable wood materials for use on homes, decks and patios. Cedar's insect-resistant properties, however, have also made it a more expensive choice in exterior construction. How then, can one get the most from this great exterior wood product?

The secret to getting the most from western red cedar stains lies in the preparation and application. Western red cedar, also called redwood, is naturally darker than some other types of wood. It is not, however, completely black - the grain in the wood gives it a reddish tint. That makes it more difficult to match an exterior stain to a previous finish. That's why many homeowners opt to go with a lighter color wood for their siding, or use a darker stain to mask imperfections.

For even more protection, it's wise to use a sealer. There are many available, and they work well in conjunction with western red cedar stains. Most sealers will contain surfactants to help keep the wood smooth and free of pore-clogging pores. There are also water-based stains that will help keep the moisture out of the pores, so the wood remains protected even if treated wood becomes wet. The finish you choose should be based on your situation and application preferences.

Although western red cedar siding resists insect penetration, it is a weaker insecticide than some other types of wood. For this reason it is not recommended for use around plants, shrubs and gardens. Applying a natural color wood protector will help prevent insect penetration. If you do not want the insecticide effects, however, there are natural pest repellents on the market. These may be as effective as the pesticides, and they are safer for people and animals.

If you live in an area where there are seasons, it's a good idea to apply a weather-resistant stain to prolong the life of the original color. In areas where the seasons vary, you can choose a mildew or a mold inhibitor instead, but these require a little more attention to maintenance. Be aware that mildew can cause respiratory problems and can also cause damage to paint. Mold inhibitors are applied as a protective, UV-resistant coat over the original color. Mold inhibitors are less expensive than the mildew, but they are not immune to insect penetration, so a reapplication may be necessary after several years.

Stains for sidings may also be affected by ultraviolet rays. Certain woods, such as cedar, are sensitive to UV rays, which can gradually fade the color. It's best to apply a sunscreen before staining, although not all woods are safe. You might also want to consider the finish you prefer, whether it's a matte or a glossy, since different finishes will show differently when exposed to different conditions.

Many homeowners think that applying a protective stain is sufficient to protect their home from insects and weather. Unfortunately, many types of stains contain UV-resistant chemicals that block UV rays and can make people more at risk of being exposed to harmful ultraviolet rays. For example, certain semi-transparent stains may actually absorb UV rays during the drying process. A better choice would be a semi-transparent film that leaves some UV blocking elements, like carnauba, on the surface. The advantage of UV-resistant finishes is that they don't have to contain UV-blocking compounds. However, some of the UV-blocking chemicals commonly used in non-prescription sunscreen can still damage the lining of the skin.

There are also products available to protect your home from weather and insects without using any synthetic, UV-resistant ingredients. These semi-transparent stains are often referred to as "natural" stains. They are made of materials like stone and brick chips, sandstone, ceramic pieces, or even pebbles. Natural stone, brick, and sandstone may not require the same protective features as the other options mentioned above. Some natural stone products, like sealers and sealant, may be more suited for exterior use than a stain, but there is a wide range of semi-transparent stains to meet the needs of any homeowner.