Protecting Cedar Deck

We have a 12' x 24' cedar deck that was built onto our house a month ago. We want the contractor to apply a water seal to the wood. He said he likes to use one with a "toner" for the UV protection to inhibit greying of the cedar. We looked at one he did, and the wood is noticeably darker in color. We like the natural color of the cedar and the beauty of the wood grain, so we're hesitant to cover it up with a "toner stain". He said applying a clear water seal as often as once a year won't inhibit the greying-- like a toner would. We live in Central Minnesota, and the deck is on the east side of the house and surrounded by trees on the east, north, and south side of the deck...so there's not much direct sunlight on the deck. The contractor says power washing would remove most of the greying every year and make it look like new. This is our first experience with cedar. Is there an alternative treatment that would protect the deck from greying without staining the wood and covering the beautiful wood look? The setting sun highlights the cedar in such a beautiful golden color.
Thanks! Scott
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Read Consumer Reports test on stains. Clear doesnt last as long but if you want try it. Being in shade it will mold you may be using bleach twice a year, mold will just look like dirt
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Scott,
I live in Minnetonka MN and have a large deck area situated similar to you. We have lived here four years and I don't know the age of the deck. It appears it was first painted. The first year we used the Behr chemical cleansing process and applied a Behr waterbased deck stain. It hardly lasted one summer. This year I pressure washed the deck and used a Behr semitransparent stain that is Silicon based. So far that has the appearance of being a winner. I think anything you use will require to be redone every other year. Maybe you can get a couple of years if you are lucky. There are solid stains that hide the wood, transparent that don't offer much UV protection and semi transparent that offer some amount of protection but let the wood show through. As the saying goes, you's pays your money and takes your choice.
Enjoy the deck and don't worry about the choice. You'll probably be redoing it in a couple of years anyway.
Bruce

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Bruce,
The Behr semi-transparent stain you used....did it darken the wood much? (that's what I'm trying to avoid).
Our contractor is mailing us a color sheet showing different stain colors.
I'm still leaning toward a transparent seal, because I just love the natural look.
And, yes, we're enjoying our deck immensely. If it means power-washing and sealing it every year or two, so be it. It's worth it.
By the way, we're in Brainerd....just 2 miles east of town, in the woods, not on a lake, but we're immersed in nature's beauty.
Scott
Bruce Bina wrote:

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_Never_ power wash a cedar deck! The pressure of the washer is too high. It will create small (invisible) cavities and damage the wood irreversibly. Clean it with a thin solution of NaOH (which removes the tanning acid) and hose it thoroughly. After that apply an _oil based_ stain. All water based stains I have seen so far are crap. Or don't stain it at all. But if you want to stop cedar from getting gray, you have to remove the tanning acid every year (at least every two years).
Henning
--
Henning Follmann | snipped-for-privacy@itcfollmann.com

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I've used a couple of stains including Caboit which is supposed to be the best. It wasn't. This year I used a semi transparent REZ. It looks good and it went a long way. It goes on nicely and where I used four cans three years ago, I did the job with two this time. The test will be how it survives the winter but I have a hunch it will last longer than the others. As far as pressure washing... If you hold it at just the right distance, it works great. True, if too close, it actually will blast grooves in the wood. There is the odd spot I have misjudged, but overall it does a great job of getting off the crud.
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The Behr Premiun Waterproofer we used darkened the wood a bit. After powerwashing the wood on our desk was very light, almost appeared bleached. The stain is the 501, Natural Cedar and looks great. Sometimes we have seen this stuff get almost red in color, but this was fine. The best test would be to take a piece of scrap deck wood and try it and see what you think. There are various shades of the stuff available.
Hey your home is in a great location and sounds beautiful. Our home is on the west edge of the city of Minnetonka, almost to Deephaven, for those of you that care. No lake frontage (how I wish) but lots of trees, animals, and natural forest.
Bruce
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The Behr Premiun Waterproofer we used darkened the wood a bit. After powerwashing the wood on our desk was very light, almost appeared bleached. The stain is the 501, Natural Cedar and looks great. Sometimes we have seen this stuff get almost red in color, but this was fine. The best test would be to take a piece of scrap deck wood and try it and see what you think. There are various shades of the stuff available.
Hey your home is in a great location and sounds beautiful. Our home is on the west edge of the city of Minnetonka, almost to Deephaven, for those of you that care. No lake frontage (how I wish) but lots of trees, animals, and natural forest.
Bruce
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The Behr Premiun Waterproofer we used darkened the wood a bit. After powerwashing the wood on our desk was very light, almost appeared bleached. The stain is the 501, Natural Cedar and looks great. Sometimes we have seen this stuff get almost red in color, but this was fine. The best test would be to take a piece of scrap deck wood and try it and see what you think. There are various shades of the stuff available.
Hey your home is in a great location and sounds beautiful. Our home is on the west edge of the city of Minnetonka, almost to Deephaven, for those of you that care. No lake frontage (how I wish) but lots of trees, animals, and natural forest.
Bruce
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On our old deck we used Baere stain for the past 10-15 years and it still rotted extensively. This year we had it torn down and a replacement constructed with new pressure treated supporting structure and all white cedar decking and rails. We too just loved the natural look (especially the color when it was whet). Based on much research we finally selected Sikkens Cetol SRD translucent stain. We selected the Natural Cedar hue and boy it looks just great. And, according to Consumers Reports, it one of the higher rated products.
Good luck.
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