Drying Cedar Siding

Fresh cedar boards need only a quick air drying for exterior use. October 30, 2005

We are using rough cut wavy edge eastern red cedar siding (cut off our property) on our house we're building. We have a guy milling it on site and we were all wondering if it should be kiln dried before it goes on or would stickering it for 6-8 weeks be sufficient?

It was timbered and only a few logs show visible insect infestation in the sapwood. Also, what sort of treatment should the wood get once it's up (or preferably before it goes on)? I've heard that staining it with clear CWF-UV is the best bet. We want it to stay as natural as possible.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor M:
I live in the Pacific Northwest and have used Shingle Oil for over 25 years. It is manufactured by Chevron and is petroleum based. I spray it on my Western Red Cedar siding and re-coat every 10 years or so. It isn't real expensive either. I tried CWF once and was very disappointed.

From contributor S:
If the siding is fairly thin 3/4" thick or less air-drying may be sufficient. We have been standing most of our boards up to dry seems like they dry better like that, but if you’re in a fairly dry region stickering may be the technique to use. Sherwin-Williams paints offer a wide variety of paints. I have used their exterior polyurethane marine varnish and it seems to be pretty good, but they probably have other polyurethane varieties to choose from. I used a brush to apply the polyurethane, but a sprayer would do nice job to. Linseed oils and sealers won't last more than 1-3 years, so you will have to re-seal every few years if you use them.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
It is really tough to keep ERC looking as fresh as when it was sawn even with a clear-uv finish.

From contributor A:
ERC dries very quickly and is a dry wood to begin with. Also if you kiln dry it, it will absorb moisture back to the outside environment. I would sticker it for a week or so and then install it. I have put board and batten up like this cabin below and most was installed the same day it was sawed.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor P:
I've done quite a bit with western red cedar and find that I can dry pile it and dry it to 10% in less than a week using a couple high volume furnace fans. As for finishing I really like the Penn O fin products as they last pretty well, do a good job with UV and you can redo it in a hurry with a deck stain sprayer. Super Deck does a nice job too but doesn't last nearly as long.