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Staining and Your Warranty

Although you may allow your structure to age naturally, staining your building is a condition of our warranty. Unstained materials can be prone to water stains due "back splash" or drainage issues. In cases like this, water may also be drawn up into the siding and door bottoms resulting in swelling or cracking. For more detailed warranty information, please click here.

All Summerwood building kits are shipped in their natural state. To help you decide how to finish your masterpiece, we have assembled information on the different finishes that may be applied to your structure. To ensure long lasting beauty, we recommend applying a finish of some sort shortly after assembly is completed. While you may choose to leave your structure to weather naturally, leaving your building unfinished will affect aspects of your warranty.


Our cedar structures are ideally suited for clear and semi-transparent finishes that accentuate the dramatic grain and rich hues of the wood. Conversely, we also have many customers, who choose to finish their design in a variety of rich opaque colors. Clearly there is no right or wrong (although admittedly there are some questionable choices to be sure).

Depending on the effect you want to achieve, there are three ways choices for finishing your structure: natural, semi transparent, and colored or opaque.

Natural Transparent Finish

Over time, cedar ages to a soft, silver-grey finish. However if you wish to retain the rich, natural tones of cedar, finish your structure with a coating that contains ultraviolet shielding properties as well as a mildewcide. Transparent stains contain no pigments but have water-repellent features that protect the the natural coloration. They also substantially slow the natural color change process.

The look of stained cedar is rich and beautiful.

Semi-transparent Finishes

Semi-transparent stains are less "natural" because of the added pigment, but represent the wood beautifully. They modify the original wood color as well as the characteristics of the wood such as grains and knots, but not enough to take away from the overall impact of the wood's natural qualities.

A semi-transparent stain adds character and shows off the grain beautifully.

Colored/Opaque Finishes

Using color can be a lot of fun and the results often dramatic. Stain your building to match the surrounding architecture, or perhaps to blend in to the landscape. Choose one colour for all the components, or detail the trim with a second or even third colour. It's all up to you. If you'd like some ideas on colour selection, be sure to visit our color picker and play around. Again, our colour gallery is also full of inspiring ideas.

Add some whimsy to your outdoor space with a colored stain.

Varnishes and other film-forming coatings, which can crack and peel, are not recommended for use on cedar.

A Natural Finish

The Sikkens system provides an exceptional natural finish for cedar. Sikkens offers different lines of treatment depending on the type of staining you require. We recommend using Sikkens Cetol Log & Siding as a translucent finish to your building. This alkyd high solids formulation offers optimum protection and a premium look in just two coats. For roof shingles, Sikkens SRD works well. You can visit the Sikkens website to find a store or dealer closest to you.


The sooner you treat your building, the better. Cedar, when left untreated and exposed to the elements, will be prone to deterioration. This amplifies the need to stain in a prompt fashion.

Wash your cedar siding with soapy water to remove the dirt and prepare it for a finish.

All stains should be applied over a clean, dry surface. They are best applied by brush for maximum penetration. Mix the stain thoroughly before and during applications for uniform coverage.

For vertical siding, begin at the top of a few boards and continue all the way to the bottom. For horizontal applications start at one corner and work to an obvious stop. Staining the interior, while not required, has no inherent advantage or disadvantage and is optional.

We recommend that you apply two coats (see the 'A Natural Sidebar' sidebar to the right) to your structure to maintain the natural look of Western red cedar. Rough-sawn and weathered surfaces are much more absorptive and will require more stain or paint.

Opaque stains are high in pigment content and thoroughly hide the grain and color of the wood. The surface texture is retained, but opaque stains tend to perform like paint. If you are going this route, we recommend an alkyd oil prime for the first coat, followed by a acrylic latex paint second coat (for smooth face sidings) or an opaque stain (for rough face sidings).

Keep in mind that the above suggestions are only guidelines and the instructions you follow should be those of the stain manufacturer you choose for your Summerwood building.

Canexel Siding

If you prefer an alternative option to staining your Summerwood structure, consider purchasing our attractive maintenance-free Canexel wood fiber siding. With 18 stunning colors to choose from (and countless combinations), you can enjoy the freedom, durability and visual appeal that Canexel siding offers. It comes with a 25 year manufacturer's warranty so be sure to pick a colour you can live with and enjoy it for years!

Please note that if you opt for Canexel siding, it is still important to paint and/or stain the trim around doors, windows, soffits and fascia. You can do this using the Sikkens system or any other paint or stain you prefer.

To see all the colors we offer, visit our Canexel Siding page.

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