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Hello I have finished and restored several log homes, but have never worked on a western red cedar home.  What are the best finishes to use and what to avoid?  I know they wrc has a lot of tannins and want to get the best finish on a newly constructed home.  Is water based or oil based better and why?

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Hi, Tim.

I am biased on "what is best," so I'll stick to educational info.

An oil-based stain will definitely bring out the grain more, simply by virtue of it soaking in. If the tannins in the wood are close to the top, they will be more accentuated by an oil-based stain. In my experience with homeowners, the tannins showing is a love/hate game. Do some samples in an inconspicuous area to see how it will turn out. In addition, the underlying red tone is going to come out more with an oil-based stain, so you'll want to be careful with the color you use. (Yellower stains could end up looking orange!)

Water-based stains, on the other, do not soak into the wood (instead, they rely on good adhesion to wood fiber) and, thus, are not very likely to accentuate those tannins. Some homeowners really prefer this look. Again, do samples to gauge the final look beforehand. Most manufacturers (including us) provide samples free of charge.

No matter what you do, we always recommend you stick with a pigmented stain that forms some sort of film. That film is the "long sleeves" of your UV protection. It protects the underlying wood from discoloration and degradation. (If you've done several log homes, you already know this, so I'm preaching to the choir. :-) )

I know that's not exactly the answer you were looking for, but I certainly hope it helps you in your research. If you'd like any samples of Sashco's stains, feel free to reach out to me directly. I'm happy to get those shipped your way. 

Thanks so much!

--- Charis w/ Sashco - -


Great thanks for the quick response Charis! I really like the transformation log and timber and how it accentuates the grain, but it's not my house and I won't be looking at it everyday.  I will be meeting with our clients in the coming weeks to discuss their goals and what look they like best.  I have worked on homes near treeline where uv rays are most intense and the transformation holds up great.  I recently tried mesmers timberflex two coats of hand brushed oil and it is nowhere near the product that you offer.  Thanks and we'll be in touch soon

Thanks for the kind words about our products, Tim. Glad you've had a great experience. That's the goal every time. Definitely let me know if you need samples for that customer and if any other questions come up. I'm happy to be a resource.

Have a great afternoon!

--- Charis


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