How to Finish Cedar Shingles How to Finish Cedar Shingles

What You'll Need
Paintbrush or Sprayer
Paint or Stain
Primer
Replacement cedar shingles

Cedar shingles are a wonderful architectural element found on the exterior of homes. Cedar shingles are nearly maintenance free because they naturally repel water and require no stain or paint. They can be weathered prematurely and end up a beautiful silvery gray. A clear top coat can also be applied to help maintain the cedar natural cedar color. However, many homeowners prefer to paint or stain cedar shingles so that they match the exterior color scheme of the home. You should begin the finishing process immediately after the shingles are installed.

Step 1—Clean the Shingles

If your cedar shingles are new, you can skip cleaning them. They are ready to prime and paint or stain. If you already have shingles on the structure, you should make sure that they are clean. Using a power washer for this job will make it much easier and give you a better end result. You can however, clean them with soap and water or any cleaning product that is not damaging to wood.

If you find that some of the shingles are damaged, you should replace them. 

Step 2—Allow the Shingles to Dry

It is important to allow the shingles to dry completely. You don’t want to add paint or stain to moist shingles because the end result won’t be pleasing. You will probably have lots of bubbles and bumps.  Considering moisture goes beyond making sure the shingles are dry. You also need to make sure that you aren’t painting or staining on a day of record humidity and that there is no rain in the forecast.

Step 3—Apply Primer

If you are planning to stain your shingles, you can go ahead to Step 4. For the best finished look, you should start with an oil based, stain-blocking primer. This primer is going to give you a durable foundation for your paint. Be sure to use a paint brush that is suitable to oil based products when applying the primer to the shingles. It is important that you allow the prime to completely dry before moving forward with the next step. 

Step 4—Apply Paint or Stain

If you are painting your shingles, use a 100 percent acrylic latex paint. This paint will give you the best finish because it is more resistant to blistering or cracking than other paint formulas. Make sure that your paint brush is suitable for latex paint. Using a heavy duty paint will allow for a more polished finish and a longer wear time. Many strong latex paint formulas are available at paint stores or your local home improvement store. You will probably pay a higher price for a better paint, however, it will pay off in the end because you won’t have to paint as frequently. 

If you are staining your shingles, you will need to use an oil-based stain. Buy the best stain you can afford because not all stains are created equal. Apply the stain according to the manufacturer’s instructions and use a brush that is suitable for an oil based product. When you open the stain and stir it, it will look markedly different than the final result.

There you have it. Finishing cedar shingles is easy and makes a naturally beautiful product more durable and long lasting. 

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