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Untreaded raw cedar in the bathroom?

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Forum topic by RuffWoodGal posted 11-16-2020 07:30 PM 522 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RuffWoodGal

1 post in 63 days


11-16-2020 07:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cedar untreated bathroom

My husband and I just installed untreated cedar planks on two walls in the bathroom. Not sure what kind of cedar it is but we harvested it ourselves in Northern Ontario. It was cut through our own sawmill and the boards were then passed through a 10” planer with some bark still on it. There is good ventilation in the bathroom, the mirror doesn’t fog up during showers. We want to keep that lovely cedar smell but are unsure if the wood will mold or turn grey. Should the cedar be sealed or left untreated?

UPDATE

Thank you all for the replies, they are much appreciated. I did some research and it’s Eastern White Cedar. It doesn’t come in contact with water, it would mostly be steam from the shower. Ventilation is good as we shower with the door open (no kids in thr house). The boards were cut with the bark still on at a half inch thickness then planed. It’s installed board and batten style. It’s been up for about 2 weeks now and it still smells nice. I’m worried about it turning grey as we used some cedar beams for the loft at camp and they turned dark grey within a couple of months.


25 replies so far

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

3578 posts in 2765 days


#1 posted 11-16-2020 08:12 PM

The smell will eventually fade.
It’s most likely Western Red Cedar if it has a smell. If it Wrc it won’t mold or rot instead it will oxidize and turn brown.
I have no opinion on finishes for wood in the bathroom.
Good for you harvesting your own timber. I tip my hat and raise my cup. :)
Good Luck

-- Aj

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therealSteveN

6967 posts in 1541 days


#2 posted 11-16-2020 09:44 PM

Wood and a bathroom come down to how wet will the wood be, AND the species of wood. Many don’t tolerate wet/water/moisture at all. I agree with Aj it’s likely WRC, and it has quite a bit of moisture resistance. But a good running fan will take away the steam pretty quickly, I believe you would only see a problem left untreated if it stayed wet a lot. Color will probably go to gray and the smell will dissipate, but you can sometimes get it back with sanding it, and reopening it’s pores. This works much better for Eastern Red Cedar ERC.

I too applaud your use of your own wood, it’s great you have the option, and the equipment.

Western Red Cedar

Western Red characteristics

Eastern Red, or Aromatic Cedar

Eastern Cedar with characteristics.

Welcome to Lumber Jocks.

-- Think safe, be safe

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pottz

13672 posts in 1952 days


#3 posted 11-16-2020 10:35 PM

i put t&g cedar on the ceiling in both our bathrooms and just sealed them with a water sealer like thompsons which didn’t change the color much and had no sheen.it will kill the smell but that will fade anyway.it’s been over 18 years and there is no graying at all.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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Foghorn

908 posts in 354 days


#4 posted 11-17-2020 03:20 AM


The smell will eventually fade.
It’s most likely Western Red Cedar if it has a smell. If it Wrc it won’t mold or rot instead it will oxidize and turn brown.
I have no opinion on finishes for wood in the bathroom.
Good for you harvesting your own timber. I tip my hat and raise my cup. :)
Good Luck

- Aj2


I’d guess it would be Juniper (way more smell than WRC) or Emerald cedar as WRC doesn’t grow in Ontario.

-- Darrel

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SMP

3171 posts in 873 days


#5 posted 11-17-2020 03:30 AM

Did you tongue and groove it? Or just butt together? From the sound of reading it most likely issue will be shrinking as it dries and leaving gaps.

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therealSteveN

6967 posts in 1541 days


#6 posted 11-20-2020 06:52 AM


I d guess it would be Juniper (way more smell than WRC) or Emerald cedar as WRC doesn t grow in Ontario.

- Foghorn

Most of the places a WRC will grow are listed by the Dept of Ag, under The US forest service, and like any gubmit agency they speak in generalities. Believe me, WRC grows in many areas not out west. It’s the same as a guy in Idaho who has Walnut trees (Juglans nigra) out the wazoo. Trees really don’t like always, and never, they grow where they find temperature range, and soil conditions that meet their needs, and even then they are often a lot more flexible than some people believe them to be. Now their inherent home range may be one place, but trees grow where they like it.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Tony_S's profile

Tony_S

1394 posts in 4050 days


#7 posted 11-20-2020 10:21 AM


I d guess it would be Juniper (way more smell than WRC) or Emerald cedar as WRC doesn t grow in Ontario.

- Foghorn

Most of the places a WRC will grow are listed by the Dept of Ag, under The US forest service, and like any gubmit agency they speak in generalities. Believe me, WRC grows in many areas not out west. It s the same as a guy in Idaho who has Walnut trees (Juglans nigra) out the wazoo. Trees really don t like always, and never, they grow where they find temperature range, and soil conditions that meet their needs, and even then they are often a lot more flexible than some people believe them to be. Now their inherent home range may be one place, but trees grow where they like it.

- therealSteveN

Smartest guy in the room, as usual
True Western Red Cedar(Thuja plicata)....growing in Northern Ontario? You’re really going to argue about that?
At best, you might find some type of hybrid grafted shrub in someones back yard, and even thats pushing it.

-- “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” – Plato

View Robert's profile

Robert

4291 posts in 2448 days


#8 posted 11-20-2020 10:57 AM

I’ve lined a couple closets and a hallway with cedar. The smell will go away quickly.

So I would be doing it for looks, not the aroma.

The wood is pretty, I would seal it but you could probably leave it bare with no issues.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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LesB

2787 posts in 4410 days


#9 posted 11-20-2020 06:08 PM

I would point out that steam Saunas are usually made with cedar but it is Western Red Cedar or it’s look alike Incense Cedar which is quite similar but softer in texture, sometimes called pencil wood…used for pencils. They also do not have much odor and it dissipates quickly.

I agree neither of these would grow in Northern Ontario. In all likelihood you have Eastern Red Cedar which is “native” to your area and has a prominent odor. The other in your area would be Eastern white cedar.

I think it would be OK to use it in the bathroom unfinished but I would want it planed and sanded to a smooth surface. Actually any top coat could become a maintenance problem in a moist environment like a bathroom.

If you like the cedar odor you can purchase Cedar oil and drip some on a wood block in n open container as needed….don’t put on the wall.

-- Les B, Oregon

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Foghorn

908 posts in 354 days


#10 posted 11-21-2020 12:50 AM



I would point out that steam Saunas are usually made with cedar but it is Western Red Cedar or it s look alike Incense Cedar which is quite similar but softer in texture, sometimes called pencil wood…used for pencils. They also do not have much odor and it dissipates quickly.

I agree neither of these would grow in Northern Ontario. In all likelihood you have Eastern Red Cedar which is “native” to your area and has a prominent odor. The other in your area would be Eastern white cedar.

I think it would be OK to use it in the bathroom unfinished but I would want it planed and sanded to a smooth surface. Actually any top coat could become a maintenance problem in a moist environment like a bathroom.

If you like the cedar odor you can purchase Cedar oil and drip some on a wood block in n open container as needed….don t put on the wall.

- LesB


Eastern Red Cedar is Juniper which is also pencil wood. :)

-- Darrel

View pottz's profile

pottz

13672 posts in 1952 days


#11 posted 11-21-2020 12:59 AM

id dont think the op really cares what kind of cedar it is,she just wants to know if she should seal it or not.so why all the debate what kind of wood it is? we dont need the “smartest” guy in the room to figure it out since no one knows,do we?

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Foghorn's profile

Foghorn

908 posts in 354 days


#12 posted 11-21-2020 01:41 AM


id dont think the op really cares what kind of cedar it is,she just wants to know if she should seal it or not.so why all the debate what kind of wood it is? we dont need the “smartest” guy in the room to figure it out since no one knows,do we?

- pottz


Apologies. You are correct! :) I’ll flip you for who buys the beer.

-- Darrel

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

3578 posts in 2765 days


#13 posted 11-21-2020 01:52 AM

None of the Cedars mentioned above are really cedars. Most are in the cypress family.
I know we had to his discussion before and I don’t remember if I lost or won the argument.
Probably lost but that’s not the point.
Aromatic cedar is what I know to be Eastern red cedar the finest stock from Tennessee. Eastern red cedar is not prized for it grain. Unless you like big knots.
WRC tress grow tall and straight like our women out here on the west coast.:)
Cedar of Lebanon is one of my favorites.

-- Aj

View Foghorn's profile

Foghorn

908 posts in 354 days


#14 posted 11-21-2020 01:56 AM



None of the Cedars mentioned above are really cedars. Most are in the cypress family.
I know we had to his discussion before and I don’t remember if I lost or won the argument.
Probably lost but that’s not the point.
Aromatic cedar is what I know to be Eastern red cedar the finest stock from Tennessee.
Cedar of Lebanon is one of my favorites.

- Aj2


Spanish cedar is another not true cedar that I love for some things although the taste stays for quite a while regardless of DC quality. Closer to mahogany than cedar. Doh! Being a little too cerebral again. :)

-- Darrel

View pottz's profile

pottz

13672 posts in 1952 days


#15 posted 11-21-2020 02:04 AM


id dont think the op really cares what kind of cedar it is,she just wants to know if she should seal it or not.so why all the debate what kind of wood it is? we dont need the “smartest” guy in the room to figure it out since no one knows,do we?

- pottz

Apologies. You are correct! :) I ll flip you for who buys the beer.

- Foghorn


you sure about that because i flip for premium bourbans,well aged!!!

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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