How to Seal a Cedar Fence: Tips on Sealing a Cedar Fence

How to Seal a Cedar Fence: Tips for Sealing Cedar Fencing

A beautiful cedar fence can add both aesthetic appeal and functionality to your property, but to ensure it remains in top-notch condition for years to come, proper maintenance is essential. 

One of the most crucial steps in preserving the natural beauty and longevity of a cedar fence is sealing it effectively. But what’s the best way to seal a cedar fence? Do you need to seal both sides of a cedar fence?

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about sealing a cedar fence. We’ll explain when to seal a new cedar fence and show you how to seal a cedar fence to keep it in the best possible condition.

Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a homeowner looking to embark on your first fencing project, this article will give you the knowledge and techniques needed to achieve professional-grade results, elevating your home’s appearance. 

What Does it Mean to Seal Cedar Fencing?

Before we show you how to seal a cedar fence, let’s take a step back. What is sealing a fence in the first place? Sealing a cedar fence involves applying a protective coating or sealer to the surface of the wood to enhance your cedar fence lifespan

This sealer serves as a barrier between the cedar and various environmental elements that can cause damage over time. Cedar, while naturally resistant to decay and insects, is not immune to the effects of sun, rain, wind, and temperature fluctuations. 

Without proper sealing, these elements can lead to the deterioration of the wood, causing it to warp, crack, discolor, or even rot.

Should You Seal a Cedar Fence? Pros and Cons of Sealing a Cedar Fence

Cedar fences are renowned for their natural beauty and durability, but the decision to seal one is a crucial consideration for homeowners. Sealing a cedar fence can offer numerous advantages, but it’s essential to weigh these benefits against potential drawbacks and your specific needs. 

So, should seal a cedar fence? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of sealing a cedar fence to help you make the right decision.

Benefits of Sealing Your Cedar Fence

Sealing a cedar fence comes with a number of benefits, the main one being that it will help your fence to last longer. The protective barrier created by sealants shields the wood from moisture, sunlight, and insects, preventing premature decay and rot.

Also, cedar’s natural beauty is one of its most appealing features. Sealing not only preserves the wood’s vibrant colors but can also enhance its visual appeal by adding a subtle sheen or depth to the finish.

The sun’s UV rays can also fade and degrade cedar wood over time. Sealants act as a sunscreen for your fence, reducing UV damage and helping it retain its original luster.

Cedar is susceptible to water damage, which can lead to warping and cracking. Sealing creates a hydrophobic barrier that repels water, preventing these issues. Sealed cedar is less likely to develop mold and mildew, which can affect its appearance and compromise its structural integrity.

Potential Drawbacks and Considerations

Generally, there aren’t really any drawbacks to sealing your fence, but sealing a cedar fence does require an investment in sealant and application tools. While this cost is relatively modest compared to the long-term benefits, it’s important to consider it in your budget.

Also, sealed cedar fences are not maintenance-free. Depending on the type of sealant used, you may need to reapply it periodically. This maintenance can be minimal, but it’s an ongoing commitment.

So, Should You Seal a Cedar Fence?

With those pros and cons in mind, should you seal a cedar fence? The decision to seal a cedar fence ultimately depends on your priorities and circumstances. If you value longevity, aesthetics, and protection for your investment, sealing is a wise choice.

The benefits, including increased durability and resistance to the elements, often outweigh the initial cost and maintenance requirements, making sealing the best option for a majority of cedar fences. 

When to Seal a New Cedar Fence

A new cedar fence is a valuable addition to your property, offering both privacy and aesthetic appeal. However, to ensure its long-term durability and maintain its natural beauty, timing is crucial when it comes to sealing. 

Wondering when to seal a new cedar fence? Let’s explore the optimal timing for sealing a new cedar fence and the reasons behind this essential step.

The Importance of Proper Timing

Sealing a new cedar fence at the right time is vital to maximize its protection and longevity. Failing to seal your fence in a timely manner can leave it vulnerable to damage, compromising its structural integrity and appearance.

Weather and Environmental Factors

A new cedar fence is most vulnerable during its early exposure to the elements. Sunlight, rain, and temperature fluctuations can have a significant impact on the wood’s moisture content and surface. Without protection, cedar may start to warp, crack, or experience color fading.

Timing your fence sealing depends on the weather conditions in your region. Generally, it’s best to seal a new cedar fence during a season when rain and humidity are relatively low. This allows the sealant to adhere effectively and penetrate the wood, ensuring optimal protection.

Before sealing, the cedar wood should be adequately dried. This typically takes a few weeks to a few months, depending on the climate. Sealing too soon can trap moisture within the wood, leading to issues like mold growth and premature decay.

Why Early Protection Matters

Sealing a new cedar fence early preserves its original color and texture. Cedar’s natural beauty is a significant selling point, and timely sealing ensures it remains vibrant and appealing.

By sealing your fence promptly, you provide it with a strong shield against moisture, UV rays, and other environmental stressors. This significantly extends the fence’s lifespan, allowing you to enjoy its benefits for many years.

Preventing early damage through sealing can save you money in the long run. Repairs or replacements due to weather-related issues can be costly, making the initial investment in sealing a wise financial decision.

What to Seal Cedar Fence With: The Best Sealants on the Market

Wondering what to seal a cedar fence with? Selecting the right sealant for your cedar fence is a critical decision that can significantly impact its longevity and appearance. 

With so many options available, it’s essential to understand the differences between sealant types, consider your local climate, and explore reputable brands. Let’s take a closer look at what to seal a cedar fence with. 

Different Types of Sealants: Water-based vs Oil-based

Water-based sealants are known for their eco-friendly properties and low VOC (volatile organic compound) content, making them a more environmentally responsible choice. 

They dry relatively quickly, are easy to clean up, and offer excellent UV protection. They are ideal for use in areas with strict environmental regulations.

Oil-based sealants, on the other hand, provide a deep, rich finish that enhances the natural beauty of cedar. They tend to be more durable and can penetrate the wood more effectively, offering superior protection against moisture. 

However, they may take longer to dry, and cleanup requires mineral spirits or other solvents. Oil-based sealants are often recommended for harsher climates or when a particular aesthetic is desired.

Choosing the Right Sealant for Your Climate

In regions with hot, dry climates, where UV exposure is a significant concern, oil-based sealants with UV inhibitors are recommended. They offer robust protection against sun damage and help prevent the wood from drying out and splitting.

In areas with high humidity and frequent rainfall, water-based sealants can be an excellent choice. They create a protective barrier against moisture, mold, and mildew, reducing the risk of rot and decay.

If you live in an area with extreme weather conditions, such as harsh winters with freezing temperatures or scorching summers, consider a high-quality, oil-based sealant. These sealants are designed to withstand extreme temperature fluctuations and provide long-lasting protection.

Trusted Brands and Recommendations

When it comes to choosing a sealant for your cedar fence, several trusted brands consistently produce reliable products. Some popular recommendations include:

  • Cabot
  • Behr
  • Olympic
  • Thompson’s WaterSeal

When selecting a brand and product, be sure to read customer reviews, consult with local experts or retailers, and consider your specific needs and the climate in your area. 

How to Seal a Cedar Fence: Step-by-Step Guide to Sealing a Cedar Fence

Sealing a cedar fence is crucial, but how do you actually go about it? Here’s how to seal a cedar fence and what you need to know before you get started. 

Preparation: Cleaning and Pre-Treatment

Learning how to seal a cedar fence starts with good preparation. Thoroughly clean the cedar fence to remove dirt, dust, mold, mildew, and any existing sealant or stain using a pressure washer, and allow it to dry completely.

If the wood surface is rough or has splinters, consider sanding it with a fine-grit sandpaper to achieve a smoother finish.

If you’re not sure whether it’s time to seal your fence, sprinkle water onto it. If the water beads up and does not absorb into the wood, the fence may not require sealing. If the water is absorbed, it’s time to apply the sealant.

Application Techniques for Best Results

Before you start, thoroughly stir or shake the sealant according to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure an even consistency. Apply the sealant using a paintbrush or a sprayer, following the wood grain for the most even coverage.


Divide the fence into manageable sections and apply the sealant one section at a time. This prevents the sealant from drying before you can evenly spread it. Be mindful not to overapply the sealant, as it can lead to a thick, uneven finish that may crack or peel over time.

Depending on the product and your desired level of protection, consider applying multiple coats. Allow each coat to dry according to the manufacturer’s recommendations before applying the next.

Do You Need to Seal Both Sides of a Cedar Fence?

Do you need to seal both sides of a cedar fence? Sealing both sides of a cedar fence is generally the best idea. If you only seal one side, the other side is still susceptible to the elements, and may compromise the integrity of your fence. 

Maintenance: How Often to Reapply Sealant

The frequency of sealant reapplication depends on various factors, including the type of sealant used, the climate in your area, and the level of exposure to the elements. 

In most cases, you can expect to reapply sealant every 2 to 3 years. However, monitor the condition of your fence annually and reapply as needed to maintain optimal protection.

More Tips on Caring for Your Sealed Cedar Fence

Now that you know how to seal a cedar fence, it’s also essential to understand how to care for your fence. Periodically clean your sealed cedar fence with a pressure washer to remove dirt and debris. This helps maintain its appearance and prevents the buildup of mold and mildew.

Routinely inspect your fence for signs of damage, such as cracks, splinters, or loose boards, and address these issues when they come up. Trim overhanging branches and vegetation near the fence to reduce shade and moisture exposure, which can contribute to mold and mildew growth.

Final Thoughts on the Best Way to Seal Cedar Fence

So, that’s how to seal a cedar fence! In this guide, we’ve shown you the best way to seal a cedar fence, to help you protect your fence’s longevity and beautiful red appearance for many years to come. 

If you’re looking for a new cedar fence to add privacy, protection, and stunning aesthetic appeal to your property, give the team at Viking Fence a call! Our fences are made of top-quality western red cedar that looks stunning and has unbeatable durability.

Whether you need a new western red cedar fence in Austin or want to install a western red cedar fence in San Antonio, our experts have your back. With more than 50 years of experience, we’ll ensure you end up with the best fence to suit your needs. 

Let us show you why we’re the best place for cedar fencing in the Lone Star State – give Viking Fence a call today!