Groove Cedar Soffit Board

How to Maintain your Cedar Siding

Builders and homeowners continue choosing cedar siding for new builds. Cedar’s awe-inspiring, long-lasting beauty, renewability, and textural appeal simply can’t be beat. But while many value the style and natural appeals of cedar, there remain those intimidated by the maintenance of cedar siding.

Although custom cedar siding is incredibly resilient to insects and rot, owing to its natural preservatives, it remains imperative the homeowner care and protect their exterior siding regularly—doing so effectively increases its lifespan. Though cedar is strong, neglect diminishes its life and brings about possible cracking and early decay. Therefore, it’s important to find out how to serenely enjoy the amazing benefits of cedar siding longer.


Cedar siding generally has a life expectancy of 20-40 years, but can last an amazing 60-70 with meticulous care. Cedar’s longevity also depends on whether left in its natural state or stained. Some manufacturers offer warranties of 25 plus years for cedar siding.

Applying finish certainly extends the life of cedar siding. In contrast, cedar siding that touches the ground, making it vulnerable to moisture and pests, greatly shortens its life. For instance, cedar shakes will soften and rot in about five years if left untreated under rainy conditions.


Homeowners should inspect cedar siding regularly for three things: insects, moisture, and cracks.

For instance, termites cause severe damage to cedar siding so it’s important to find problems early before it’s too late. Moisture should be limited as much as possible on the cedar siding keeping it off the ground and by ensuring gutters are cleared to keep water away from the siding. Filling in cracks as soon as you notice them with sealants or paint will also keep moisture from entering the wood.


Cleaning cedar siding is not unreasonably pricey and is completely within a homeowner’s capabilities. Untreated cedar siding weathers over time without excessive warping and cracking, but still requires care. Stained cedar siding requires more maintenance than other woods, but also lasts longer.

A thorough cleaning once or twice a year will greatly extend the life of cedar. Prone to dust and dirt accumulation, cedar exterior siding receives a good pressure wash (on the lowest setting) well.

Basic items required for cleaning cedar siding are: bleaching oil, clear coat, paint, detergent, and sealer. As it ages, cedar loses some of its natural oils, hence the need for upkeep.

Begin with a soap and water solution to scrub the siding and wash it down; then, apply bleach on any mold or mildew spots. Vinegar is also an effective, environmentally friendly option. A soft brush can be used for scrubbing. Follow immediately with a good rinse to avoid soap residue.

In addition, an annual pressure wash on the lowest setting helps your cedar siding last, and keeps it looking great too.


Cedar siding requires repainting or resealing at least once/year to help it last. A protective coating also helps prevent deterioration and discolourations. Reconsider leaving cedar siding in its natural state—rustic cedar has character, but is also more vulnerable to wear and damage.

Professionals suggest re-staining or re-painting cedar exterior siding on a semi-annual basis, but it depends on the quality of the stain used and weather conditions.

Cedar may be left untreated in its natural state, or it can be covered with a clear coat by Longhouse Specialty Forest Products. It can also be painted in red or white.

Re-staining Steps:

  1. Wash siding with a mixture of 1 part bleach and 4 parts water. Remove any traces of dirt; pat the siding dry with a cloth. Pressure-wash if necessary.
  2. Remove old protective coating or finish with a power sander and 220-grit sandpaper. Sand until the natural grain is fully exposed. The cedar surface should be smooth. Remove sawdust with a clean cloth.
  3. Apply the new layer of stain or paint with a brush, in a colour of your choice. Use many thin layers of stain for an even coat. Avoid letting stain pool and allow to dry according to instructions. A second application can be applied if a deeper stain is desirable.
  4. Lastly, seal the siding with a coat of clear finish.

Cedar siding comes in a wide array of styles, such as bevel, channel, tongue & groove, and board and batten, so careful maintenance protects the look and properties. The friendly staff at Longhouse Specialty Forest Products can assist you in finding the best cedar siding to suit your needs and lifestyle.