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To treat your cedar cladding or not to treat

Western Red Cedar can weather in patches

…that is the question! Western Red Cedar is very popular in garden room construction, for many reasons it is dimensionally stable, durable, has natural resistance to insect and fungal attack, has a long life span and has a warm red colouring which works well with other materials commonly used in garden room design such as grey doors and windows.

Anybody choosing Western Red Cedar should be aware that the wood won’t stay its natural reddish brown colour for long, with exposure to sunlight it will weather to a silver grey colour – this can also look fantastic but your garden room won’t have that ‘new look’ for long. In very dry climates the weathering process of cedar is quite uniform, but in moister climates like the UK the weathering process can vary and the cedar take on a patchy appearance.

One way of retaining the natural reddish brown colour of new cedar is to preserve it, but this decision really needs to be made before the building is exposed to light and the weathering process starts, as the weathering process can significantly affect the adherence of paints and stains, which can cause them to fail quickly, requiring maintenance.

There is a useful guide to protecting Western Red Cedar at wrcla.org which offers suggestions on how to protect Western Red Cedar and suggests products to use.

Western Red Cedar clad garden rooms are often marketed as low maintenance, and if left to weather to grey they are, but be aware that if you want the garden room to look like it does when it’s new in the long term you need to consider treatment, and this will have long term maintenance requirements to maintain the look.

So, when considering the design of your garden room think about how you want the cladding to look long term, if you want to preserve its natural colour consider treating the cedar, many suppliers offer treatments to preserve the colour, others will apply it to the timbers at additional cost – talk through your options with your supplier.

To conclude, to keep Western Red Cedar ‘Red’ will require some ongoing maintenance.

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