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How to Age Cedar Fence Boards: Complete Guide to Aging Cedar Boards

Updated: Mar 4


how to age cedar boards

Aged cedar boards possess a classic, rustic charm that new cedar simply can't replicate. This timeless look evokes a sense of history and natural elegance. It’s highly sought after for fencing and other outdoor projects. 


While the pristine appearance of new cedar has its own appeal, the allure of aged cedar lies in its weathered, earthy aesthetic. We’ll help you bring this look to your own property in this guide to aging cedar boards.


You'll learn how to age cedar fence boards specifically through various methods and techniques to achieve that beautifully aged appearance. And for those ready to transform their property, our quality cedar boards for sale provide the perfect canvas to start this journey.


Quality Cedar Products can meet all your cedar board needs. This blog is informational only and not a replacement for expert advice. Please consult a professional before starting any building project as your needs and specifications may vary and it may not reflect the most current building codes, regulations, or industry standards.


What is Aging Cedar Boards and Why Would You Want to Do it?

Before we talk about how to age cedar boards, what is this exactly?


Aging cedar boards is an intentional process to enhance the natural beauty of cedar, giving it a distinct, weathered look that is rich in character. 


This practice is not just about aesthetics, it’s about embracing a natural evolution that adds depth and texture to the wood. Let’s explore what aging cedar boards entails and the various benefits it brings to your projects.


Overview of Aged Cedar Boards

As cedar ages, it undergoes a transformation in color and texture. Freshly cut cedar has a bright, warm hue, but as it ages, it develops a silvery-gray patina. The texture of the wood becomes more pronounced as well, with the grain and natural lines becoming more visible and tactile.


Aging can occur naturally over time through exposure to elements like sunlight, rain, and air. However, for those who don’t wish to wait years, there are methods to accelerate this process, achieving a similar look in a much shorter timeframe. Why would you want to do this, though?


Benefits of Aging Cedar Boards

The primary reason many choose to age cedar is for its enhanced aesthetic appeal. The silvery-gray patina that aged cedar acquires is highly valued for its rustic and timeless appearance. 


This look is particularly desirable in landscaping, fencing, and outdoor furniture, where it complements natural surroundings beautifully. It’s one of our favorite cedar fence designs, in fact.


Moreover, aged cedar offers versatility in design options. It can be used in a variety of settings, from modern to traditional, and complements a wide range of color schemes and design styles. Its ability to blend with both rural and urban landscapes makes it a preferred choice for designers and homeowners alike.


Interestingly, the aging process can increase cedar's resilience as well. As cedar ages, it loses some of its natural oils, making it less attractive to insects like termites and less prone to rot. This natural process of weathering can actually extend the cedar fence lifespan.


As cedar ages and develops its natural patina, it requires less maintenance. Unlike painted or stained wood that may chip or peel and require regular touch-ups, aged cedar maintains its look naturally, with minimal upkeep needed.


How to Age Cedar Fence Boards: Step-by-Step Guide

Aging cedar fence boards can transform a standard fence into an aesthetically pleasing feature that adds character and charm to your property. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to age cedar fence boards, ensuring a stunning and authentic aged look.


Selecting the Right Cedar Boards

The foundation of any successful aging process for cedar fence boards begins with selecting the right material. The quality and characteristics of the cedar boards you choose will significantly influence the final aged appearance and longevity of your fence.


High-quality cedar is crucial for an even and consistent aging process. Premium cedar has a uniform grain and fewer knots, which helps in achieving a more consistent aged look. 


The natural oils in cedar also contribute to its durability, an important factor considering that aging involves exposure to elements.


When selecting cedar boards, opt for ones that are straight, free of large knots, and have a uniform texture. The natural tannins in cedar contribute to its ability to age gracefully, so look for boards with a rich, natural color.


Not sure where to start? Quality Cedar Products has you covered. We grade and sort our lumber by hand ourselves to maintain strict quality standards. This ensures you’re getting the durable, high-quality cedar boards you deserve.


Whether you’re going for a sound barrier fence or a typical cedar fence, you can rest assured the best cedar for a fence is a click or call away at Quality Cedar Products. 


You don’t just have to take our word for it, though. Your order is backed by our 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re underwhelmed by the quality of our lumber upon delivery, we’ll turn around and you won’t pay. Simple as that.


Natural Aging Techniques: Sun and Weather Exposure

Now, let’s talk about how to age cedar boards naturally. This approach is as simple and straightforward as it gets, as you’re letting Mother Nature do the heavy lifting for you.


Allowing cedar boards to age naturally through exposure to sun and weather is a time-honored method that yields beautiful results. This process, however, requires patience and time, as the elements gradually work their magic on the cedar.


Natural aging occurs as cedar is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, rain, wind, and general outdoor conditions. These elements slowly alter the wood’s color, texture, and grain, transforming it into a silvery-gray hue that is highly sought after.


Positioning your cedar fence in a location where it gets a balanced mix of sun and shade will promote even aging. Areas that receive too much shade may age unevenly or become prone to moisture-related issues.


The natural aging process can vary depending on your geographic location, climate, and the specific placement of your fence. In general, expect this process to take several months to a few years.


One of the charms of natural aging is its unpredictability. Each board might age slightly differently, creating a unique, rustic look that cannot be replicated by artificial means. 


That being said, if you want to press the fast-forward button when aging cedar boards and enjoy superior uniformity, you can consider other methods…


Accelerated Aging Methods: Using Solutions and Stains

Now, let’s talk about how to age cedar fence boards faster. Several accelerated aging methods can be employed. These techniques involve applying various solutions and stains that chemically react with the wood to mimic the natural aging process.


Vinegar and Steel Wool Solution:

  • Creating the Solution: Soak steel wool in white vinegar for 24 to 48 hours. The steel wool will dissolve, creating a dark liquid.

  • Application: Apply the solution evenly to the cedar boards using a brush. The tannins in the cedar will react with the vinegar solution, causing the wood to age and darken.

  • Drying Time: Allow the boards to dry completely. The final color will develop over a few hours or days.

This method may not be as natural as the sun, but it’s still a more natural approach than using a commercial aging stain. Still, a commercial aging stain is worth exploring as well. 


Commercial Aging Stains:

  • Choosing the Stain: Select a commercial aging stain specifically formulated for cedar. These products are designed to give a consistent aged look.

  • Applying the Stain: Use a brush or sprayer to apply the stain evenly, following the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

  • Consistency: Apply consistent, even strokes to avoid splotchy areas.

Learn more about when to stain new cedar fence and treating cedar fencing in general in our blog.


Application Techniques for an Even and Authentic Look

Achieving an even and authentic aged look requires careful application of your chosen aging method. Whether using a natural or chemical process, the technique plays a crucial role.


When applying a solution or stain, work in manageable sections and maintain a wet edge to avoid overlap marks. Use long, even strokes for a uniform appearance.


For a deeper, more nuanced aging effect, consider applying multiple layers. Allow each layer to dry thoroughly before applying the next.


Always test the aging method on a scrap piece or an inconspicuous area first. This allows you to gauge the final appearance and make adjustments to the solution or application technique if necessary.


Protecting and Preserving Aged Cedar Boards

Once you've achieved the desired aged look, it's important to protect and preserve the cedar to maintain its appearance and ensure longevity.


  • Sealing the Cedar: Apply a clear wood sealer or a UV-inhibiting finish to protect the aged cedar from further weathering and to stabilize the color. Make sure the product is suitable for cedar and outdoor use.

  • Regular Maintenance: Inspect the fence periodically for signs of wear or damage. Clean the cedar gently with a mild, wood-friendly cleaner and reapply sealer as needed, typically every 2 to 3 years.

  • Repair and Replacement: Address any damaged or excessively worn boards promptly. This not only maintains the aesthetic appeal of the fence but also its structural integrity.


There you have it - how to age cedar fence boards! You can learn more about how to make a cedar fence or how to build a sound barrier fence specifically in our blog. We have resources on sound deadening fence designs, the best type of fence for sound barrier, cost of sound barrier fencing, pressure treated vs cedar fence, cedar fence vs vinyl, cedar vs redwood fence, and more.


At this point, though, it’s time we wrapped this guide up and left you with a few final thoughts on how to age cedar boards.


Final Thoughts on How to Age Cedar Boards

Aging cedar boards is a blend of art and technique, transforming ordinary cedar into a material with rustic charm and timeless appeal. We hope you feel confident in how to age cedar boards after reading this guide.


Whether you choose natural aging or accelerated methods, the key is in selecting quality cedar, applying the aging technique evenly, and ensuring proper protection and maintenance. This process not only enhances the aesthetic of cedar but also its durability. 


Remember, the journey to achieving that perfect aged look starts with the right materials. For top-quality cedar that ages beautifully, turn to Quality Cedar Products, where excellence in wood meets your creative vision.


We’re the premier provider of cedar wood for sale across North America, whether you need fence boards or sauna cedar, cedar decking, or anything else for that matter.


So, reach out today for a quote and we’ll help you set out on the right foot for this project!


G&B Wholesale Lumber Incorporated does not assume any liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information provided in this blog post. The reader is solely responsible for any actions taken based on the information presented. Any reliance on the information is at the reader's own risk.

G&B Wholesale Lumber Incorporated is not responsible for any loss, injury, or damage that may occur as a result of following the suggestions, tips, or recommendations provided in this blog post. Building projects involve inherent risks, and it is essential to exercise caution, obtain proper permits, and engage qualified professionals to ensure safety and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. The inclusion of external links, references, or recommendations in this blog post does not constitute endorsement or guarantee the quality, reliability, or suitability of the linked sources. The reader should independently verify the information and assess its relevance to their specific circumstances. The author reserves the right to modify, update, or remove the content of this blog post at any time without prior notice. It is recommended to check for the most recent updates or consult with professionals to ensure the information is current and applicable. By reading this blog post, the reader acknowledges and accepts the above disclaimer and agrees to use the information provided responsibly and at their own discretion.

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