Outdoor Cedar Protection?

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Forum topic by Maveric777 posted 02-01-2010 03:04 PM 1218 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2694 posts in 3532 days

02-01-2010 03:04 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hey everyone, I am trying to put my ducks in a row and think a few steps ahead with my bat house project. Here is a link to a blog I put up describing it more in detail AHS Razorbats

This is going to be a project that I want to look nice for as long as possible so I am needing something to help protect the cedar I am using to construct it. This will be eventually hung somewhere on my daughters school campus outdoors so it will need to hold up to the environment. This is my first endeavor dealing with cedar and have no idea what to use to protect it. I know nothing will last for ever, but my daughter (whom I am making it for) will be there a couple more years and I want it to hold up nicely for at least that long….lol

One thing I should mention is part of it will be painted. Well, the AHS and Razorbats will be at least. I am going to leave the rest natural finish.

Thanks for any insight on this.

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

5 replies so far

View Rasta's profile


120 posts in 3897 days

#1 posted 02-01-2010 03:27 PM

I used spar urathane on a cedar firewood holder this fall, so far it still looks like the day I finished it.

-- Roscoe in Iowa

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3523 days

#2 posted 02-01-2010 06:00 PM

Ahh, the eternal conundrum for outdoor wooden structures. Do nothing, and it eventually turns shades of gray or black depending on its exposure to sunlight and water. Apply a finish, and it (usually) still changes color, but looks “pretty” longer – and you now have to do periodic maintenance to keep it looking good.

I just finished rebuilding two of those inexpensive “garden benches” that are sold in garden centers, big boxes, etc. They have cast iron legs/arms, and a cast iron back framed in wood. Over time, the cast iron takes on a nice patina, but the wood rots to the point where they shouldn’t be sat on.

Ours had reached the point where they either had to be rebuilt or hauled to the dump, so I popped for some IPE deck lumber, stainless steel hardware, PVC glue, and went to work. They came out great, and should be usable for many years – although I expect them to turn gray within a year or so.

Following our long standing tradition, SWMBO wanted me to “put a finish on them” which I agreed to do if she assumed complete responsibility for all future maintenance. Like our ten year old redwood deck and arbor, they’re unfinished and will eventually aquire that silver-gray color that I prefer. – lol

Hey, it worked!! I’ve been building albums of some of my projects in Photobucket, and decided that this post was the time to actually use it. This seems pretty cool.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View a1Jim's profile


117690 posts in 4032 days

#3 posted 02-09-2010 06:13 AM

No finish clean annually

View thedudeabides's profile


75 posts in 3596 days

#4 posted 02-09-2010 11:18 AM

I wouldn’t put anything on it for two reasons, cedar is nature’s “pressure treated wood” and bats are sensitive little guys that might be turned off by any chemical you coat the house with. I’ve got a few birdhouse building books here, and the authors both suggest staying away from chemicals, that means no pressure treated wood, no chemical sealants, no VOC paint and so on. Cedar is forgiving, tough, and will take what nature throws at it surprisingly well. If you must coat, spar urethane is the one, but remember, it’s not coat and forget, it’s yearly maintenance. Leave it raw…

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 3532 days

#5 posted 02-09-2010 01:31 PM

Thanks yall…. I don’t want to do anything to inhibit the bats from wanting to come to the bat house so looks like I will just leave it natural.

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

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