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How to Protect a Cedar Deck From the Elements

Updated: Mar 26

how to protect a cedar deck

Wondering how to protect a cedar deck? You’ve come to the right place.

Red cedar decking is a spectacular accentuation to any outdoor space. Its natural elegance and longevity make it a highly sought-after option for homeowners.

Despite its inherent immunity against decay and pesky pests, protecting your red cedar deck from extreme weather conditions such as sun, rain, and other elements must be done if you'd like to maintain its splendor in the long term.

In this post, we will walk you through vital steps on how best to safeguard your red cedar decking and other types so that it remains beautiful even after many years of use.

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.

First - a Note on Cedar Decking’s Durability & Longevity

Cedar decking is an excellent choice for outdoor spaces due to its natural durability and longevity. Compared to other wood options, cedar decking is naturally resistant to decay and insect damage, making it an ideal choice for homeowners looking for a low-maintenance deck.

Additionally, cedar has a beautiful, natural color that will complement any outdoor space, and it can last as long as 25 years or more when purchased through reliable sources and with proper maintenance.

However, while cedar is naturally durable, it is still susceptible to damage from the elements if not properly protected. In the following sections, we will provide tips on how to protect your cedar deck from water, insects, sunlight, and age.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your cedar deck remains in top condition and maintains its natural beauty for years to come.

What Exactly Are You Protecting a Cedar Deck From?

To ensure the longevity of your cedar deck and safeguard it from external damage, a thorough understanding of what you must protect it against is essential. Although its quite naturally resistant, cedar decking can still suffer harm due to various environmental factors.


Cedar decks are naturally resistant to decay, however, moisture can still cause significant damage. Water easily infiltrates small cracks and crevices in the wood leading to warping or cracking which weakens it exponentially over time.

Not only that but water exposure also causes discoloration of decking material - a surefire sign of deterioration.


Insects, such as termites and carpenter ants, can also cause damage to cedar decks if not eliminated quickly. These critters feed on the wood material destroying it from within in a very short time.

They're able to do this through their tunneling which allows them to access the softer wood, thus negating its natural resistance. They have also been known to cause an allergic reactions in some people.


Excessive exposure to sunlight can cause the color of cedar decks to fade over time, diminishing their aesthetic appeal. Additionally, UV rays from the sun have been known to dry out the wood leading to cracking and warping as mentioned above.

There has also been some evidence to suggest that UV rays can actually cause cedar decks to rot over time if left unprotected.


With age, cedar decks can become brittle and weak. This is due to a natural process known as oxidation which causes wood to break down over time. If left unprotected, this can cause the deck to be highly susceptible to damage from the elements.

Many companies cheap out on sourcing their wood. That's why it's extra important to source your cedar from a reputable supplier like Quality Cedar Products.

How to Protect a Cedar Deck From the Elements

Protecting your cedar deck from the elements requires a combination of regular maintenance and protective measures. What follows are some essential tips on how to protect a cedar deck from the elements.

Regular Cleaning and Cedar Deck Maintenance

Just as it is important to clean and maintain the interior of your home, it’s equally important to regularly clean and maintain your cedar deck. Regularly inspect your deck for any signs of damage or decay such as warping, splitting, or cracking of the wood.

Make sure to sweep away any debris that might accumulate on its surface and use a garden hose to remove any dirt or mildew. Clean cedar deck boards with a mild detergent, warm water, and scrub brush as needed.

You should also check for signs of insect damage and call in a professional pest control service immediately if you find any evidence of infestation.

Staining and Sealing

Staining a cedar deck is an essential step in protecting it from the elements. While staining protects wood from UV rays, water damage, and insect infestation, sealing helps with protecting a cedar deck against moisture penetration and surface deterioration.

Choose a quality stain or sealant that is specifically designed for outdoor use and make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for application. Learn more with our guide on how to seal a cedar deck.

Use Protective Coatings

Does cedar wood need to be treated? Yes, part of protecting a cedar deck is remembering to secure it with protective coatings. From water repellents and anti-fungal treatments to insecticides, you can choose from a wide selection of products designed to protect against the elements.

Ensure that it is compatible for use on cedar decks and follow the manufacturer's application instructions carefully for best results. Not only will this guard your exterior investment but also provides peace of mind knowing that your family is protected as well.


At least once every few years, it is recommended that you refinish cedar deck to help protect against the elements and extend its life expectancy. This can be done by lightly sanding the surface of the wood before applying a fresh coat of stain or sealant. Be sure to use a quality product specifically designed for outdoor use and follow all manufacturer's instructions for best results.

Consider Painting

Painting can be a good way to protect a cedar deck from the elements. However, there are certain conditions that must be met.

Before painting a cedar deck, you must use a primer designed for outdoor use and make sure to apply several coats of paint for the best results along with a UV-resistant clear coat for additional protection. Be sure to read the manufacturer's instructions for the best results. Learn more with our guide on can cedar be painted.

Cover It Up

When bad weather strikes, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Invest in a high-quality cover for your cedar deck to protect it from the elements and keep it looking its best. Choose one that is specifically designed for outdoor use and make sure to properly secure the cover before bad weather hits.

It's a cost-effective method of protecting a cedar deck and making sure that it stays in top condition. Paying for the cedar decking cost once is one thing, but having to pay it again when forgetting to take care of it is another.

Closing Thoughts on How to Protect a Cedar Deck

Protecting your cedar deck from the elements is essential to ensure it lasts as long as possible. By taking the necessary steps to safeguard your deck from water, insects, sunlight, and age, you can enjoy your beautiful cedar deck for years to come. How long cedar decking lasts often depends on how well it is maintained.

At Quality Cedar Products, we pride ourselves on being one of the top western red cedar lumber suppliers in the industry. We know the value and beauty of cedar and have been supplying top-quality cedar products for years.

In addition to decking, cedar is a versatile wood that can be used for various projects, including cedar sauna wood, cedar fencing, and sound barrier fencing. If you're looking for a reliable and beautiful wood for your next project, cedar is an excellent choice.

Request a customized quote today based on your unique needs!

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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