of Home Improvements
*Interior Finishes for Cedar Paneling, Posts,* *Beams and Joinery*
Interior wood requires less protection
Cedar used in the interior requires less protection than exterior siding, trim and decks, consequently a much wider range of finishes, including many not recommended for outdoor applications, may be used. Conversely, not all finishes acceptable for exterior use can be used inside. The finishes' suitability for interior use should be verified with the manufacturer.
In most interiors, cedar needs nothing more than protection against abrasion and stains from water and other liquids that may be splashed on the surface and absorbed by the new wood. Finishes also provide an easily cleanable surface as well as modifying cedar's color to complement a decorative theme.
To achieve the best results, the wood should be preconditioned in the area of the building in which it will be used before it is actually installed. This will enable the cedar to achieve equilibrium moisture content.
It is good practice to experiment with the proposed finish on a small sample of wood identical to that to be finished, or to apply the finish to an unobtrusive area to assess the effect. Once the decision has been made on the type of finish, the same brand name product should be used throughout to avoid incompatible formulations and color variations.
A wide choice of finishes
The rich beauty of cedar's natural colors can be enhanced or modified by applying any of a number of commercial finishes. If cedar is left in its natural state, some darkening of the wood can be expected as it ages and the color variation will become less pronounced. Application of transparent finishes will also darken cedar to some degree but the form a protective surface that is easier to maintain.
Bleached finishes result in a sun bleached driftwood look. It can be achieved with commercially available bleaching agents. After bleaching, the cedar can be left in its natural state or given a coat of clear sealer.
Clear lacquer can be used for smooth surfaces. It is an unobtrusive finish, which helps to retain much of cedar's natural beauty. It is not recommended, however, for kitchens and bathrooms or areas which will require more than a light dusting.
Because of their fast drying characteristics, some lacquers are best when applied with an air-less sprayer rather than brush. For best results two or more coats are recommended, sanded with the grain between applications. For optimum surface durability, the first coat may be of high gloss lacquer followed by one or two coats of matte or satin lacquer.
Clear varnish is recommended only for smooth surfaces. It will inevitably add a richer, darker tone to cedar. Two coats applied by brush are acceptable for most areas but additional coats should be added for kitchen and bathroom use. The surface will be slightly brittle and may show scratches but these can be touched up with a tinted wax. Varnish-finished surfaces can be cleaned with soapy water, or wiped with thinners.
Varnish stains are varnishes to which color pigment has been added. Although difficult to apply, they are available in a broad choice of tones and tints.
Paint is an unlikely choice as an interior-finishing medium because it will hide the intrinsic beauty of cedar. However, if it is desired to accent a feature wall or door for example, any of the following paints may be used:
Latex or oil-based paints should be used over a stain-blocking primer recommended by the manufacturer.
A more common interior use for latex or oil-based paints is as a tinting medium. A few pieces at a time should be painted and allowed to sit for a few seconds before wiping with a clean cloth.
By controlling the amount of paint used and the time that elapses before wiping, a wide variety of effects can be achieved while still allowing the grain to show through.
Enamels used over cedar require both a primer and an enamel undercoat. Check the manufacturer's directions before application.
Glazing and antiquing is an innovative finishing technique that employs transparent or translucent glazes-sometimes several layers of super-imposed glazes-over a base of alkyd or oil-based paint. Although this technique is more commonly used on woods of lesser quality and character, it is perfectly adaptable for use on cedar.
All three types of stain-transparent, semi-transparent, and opaque-may be used indoors (if approved by the manufacturer) to provide decorative color accent. Since there is less need for protection, lightly pigmented products can usually provide the required tone without hiding the natural grains of the wood. One brushed coat is normally sufficient.
As with exterior stain, all dirt and dust must be removed before applying. The stain should be stirred often and well to ensure color consistency, and a wet edge maintained at all times to avoid lap marks.
When choosing a stain, remember that it is much easier to darken an area by adding extra coats than lighten a color that was too dark to begin with.
Oil-based stains, heavy-bodied and semi-transparent oil-based stains approved for interior use by the manufacturer, are suitable for cedar. They are particularly attractive when applied sparingly to textured surfaces. On smooth surfaces, wiping techniques offer varying degrees of transparency.
wood stains are for use only on smooth surfaces and have an oil base.
A wide choice of basic colors is available and these can be blended to
achieve intermediate shades. The usual technique is to apply a single
coat by brush and wipe off the excess with a cloth after two or three
minutes. To achieve a uniform result it is best to apply stain to a small
area at a time and then wipe before proceeding.