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14 Best Clear Cedar Finish For Outdoors In 2024

Sonya Harris
  Apr 12, 2024 12:07 PM

We independently study, test, and review 14 Best Clear Cedar Finish For Outdoors products before making recommendations. We’re testing the General Finishes, STAR BRITE, HOPE'S, SEAL-ONCE, SaverSystems, DEFY, TriCoPolymer, SEAL ONCE, Krylon, Cabot  for a for a future update to this guide.


It's heartbreaking, but it's true! Under the sun and rain, no finish can last indefinitely. However, we have the option of selecting a finish that will endure the longest.

It's important to keep that in mind when choosing a treatment for outdoor cedar wood. One hundred different brands of finish may be familiar to you. The truth is that not all locations are suitable for outdoor cedar.

So, what's the best way to protect cedar from the elements?

Outdoor cedar has a slew of challenges, chief among them ultraviolet radiation, precipitation, heat, rust, mold, and mildew. And you have to use your finish to defeat them.

Finally, the greatest finish should be capable of protecting the cedar from these issues as well as providing smart looks.

There's nothing to be concerned about! In this article, I've listed and reviewed the 8 best clear cedar finishes for outdoor use that are both long-lasting and visually appealing.

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Last update on 2024-04-12 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

Buying Guide

The popularity of cedar furniture is due to its long-lasting properties, such as its sturdiness, its rusty and bright hues, and its excellent resistance to insects. Decks, fences, and garden furniture can all be constructed from this type of wood.


Even in bad conditions, the cedar's strength is obvious. Because of the weather and temperature in your area in which you live, everything from decks to patio furniture to garden sets will be influenced. Avoid oil-based finishes for your Cedar if the weather is frequently dry.


Red cedars can last for decades if properly polished and cared for. You should choose a finish that enhances the wood's durability and color while requiring little to no maintenance.


What is the ideal brightness for cedar wood? Glossy, semi-glossy, high gloss, satin, and matte are the most typical sheens for wood finishes. It's up to you to select how bright you want the screen to be.

Start with a little piece of wood and see whether you like the shine level. The shine can be fine-tuned by gently sanding and brushing the surface.

Type of Finish

You should realize that film foaming and penetrating finishes are on the market. It's up to you which one to employ for your outside cedar wood; both have their perks and downsides.

Wood is protected from dust, grime, UV radiation, and water by a thin layer of film foaming finish. A penetrating finish, on the other hand, goes deep into the wood to provide a protective layer.

Penetrating oil is more durable than a film finish, but it will peel or flake over time. Oil, on the other hand, doesn't.

Usages of Furniture

I'd like to know how often you use outside cedar furniture, and whether or not the wood touches your skin while you eat on it.

Afterwards, you must select a non-toxic wood finish that is safe for consumption.

Drying Time, Required Coat and Sanding

The majority of clear coats dry very quickly. After that, see how long it will be before you can apply the second coat and it will be totally cured.

The amount of sanding and the number of coats necessary are mostly dependent on personal preference. Wood that has been coated with multiple coats seems shiny and plastic-like. So, if you can get what you want with only one coat, don't bother with the second one.

To remove the gloss, you can use sandpaper in a gentle manner.


Water can wreak havoc on wood, causing it to decay and become unusable. It doesn't matter how bad the rain is, no water will be able to get inside the wood with some sealers. In addition, there are a few that provide adequate water resistance.

We strongly advise you to choose a sealant that completely prevents water from penetrating. Those sealers are a bit pricey, but they are well worth the money. You'll come out ahead in the long run, too.

Ultraviolet light protection

UV rays are the most destructive to wood, even more so than water. It quickly deteriorates wood, making it look shabby and unappealing. Zinc and other UV-blocking chemicals can be included in some sealers.

Investing in a sealant that is water- and UV-resistant is essential if you want your wood to be both safe and beautiful.


What Are the Advantages of Using Cedar for Outdoor?

There are many options when it comes to outdoor furniture and accessories. Cedar, on the other hand, is frequently cited as the best choice for numerous reasons. For starters, cedar is naturally resistant to water and rot because of its high oil content.

In addition, this wood has been tested for its ability to resist drooping and warping. This product has a 30-year life expectancy.

As a last point, Cedar is noted for its beautiful aging qualities. To keep the wood from turning silvery or grey over time, you can either leave it unpainted or coat it with clear lacquer.

What is the Best Way to Maintain My Cedar Furnishings?

Cedarwood is undoubtedly a wise investment due to its inherent strength and beauty. By adopting the necessary precautions, you can extend the usable life of a product.

Your cedarwood's long-term preservation depends on the sealer you use. Sealants can keep out dust, mold, water, and other undesirable elements. For the latter, the best approach is to cover your furnishings with a UV-blocking product.

Keeping your wooden patio furniture in a shady spot will help it last for many years.

What is the best clear stain for cedar?

Many do-it-yourselfers prefer cedar stains that aren't too dark. They're drawn to cedar for its warm, rich color. This is a subject that merits its own article. For cedar wood, the experts recommend DEFY Extreme Crystal Clear Exterior Wood Stain (available on Amazon) and THOMPSONS WATERSEAL Transparent Waterproofing Stain (also available on Amazon).

Can I use polyurethane on cedar?

Polyurethane, as you know, is a surface finish that can build a protective film on wood. A good polyurethane can be used to protect your cedar wood project. Keep in mind that the polyurethane must have a UV layer and water-resistant capacity when working with outdoor cedar.

Can you waterproof cedar?

Any wood, not only cedar, can be made waterproof. An appropriate waterproofing treatment is needed for the type of wood you are working with.

And if you already know how to stain or seal wood, the process will be a breeze. Waterproof solution should be applied after the wood has been cleaned. A roller, brush, or spray can be used to apply the solution.

Make sure to apply many coats of the waterproof solution if you want the best protection against water.

Should cedar fence be sealed?

Sealing cedar fences serves five primary purposes. Cedar fences are more durable, more beautiful, easier to keep clean, and less expensive to maintain than their non-cedar counterparts.

Additionally, you must seal it every three to four months to ensure optimal maintenance. Option number two: seal it in as little time as possible by using the proper equipment and materials.


When it comes to outdoor furniture, nothing beats a beautifully polished surface. If you don't seal the lovely outdoor furniture properly, it will rot away.

The major enemies of outdoor cedar wood are the hot and cold weather, moisture, UV radiation, mold, mildew, rots and insects. As a result, we need to take into account these factors while selecting a finish for outdoor cedar furnishings and fittings.

After considering all of this, I've compiled a list of the top eight outdoor clear cedar finishes. In addition to the application guide and related questions and answers concerning outdoor cedar finish I sincerely hope that this essay has assisted you in making an informed decision.

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