Last Updated on December 16, 2021 by legacy450

Over the past several decades, there has been a growing interest in achieving a rustic weathered wood exterior look for residential and commercial projects. Since many of us can’t wait 50 years (or longer) for new wood to reach the right level of patina, we look for alternatives. There are many options on the market to obtain this look, including vinyl siding, metal siding, fiber cement (Fiber Cement Siding that looks like wood), engineered wood (Can LP SmartSide be stained?), new wood, and reclaimed barn wood. This article will cover the option of using new wood and what it takes to achieve as close to a naturally weathered wood look as possible.

Cedar Tongue and Groove Siding Prefinished with Custom Stain

What species of wood and grade?

First, we need to choose which wood we want and what grade. Initially, the two typical kinds of wood that would have been used to build frontier homes in the 1800s would have been either Pine or Cedar (depending on availability and location). Today, we see more Cedar or Cypress products for siding applications due to their durability. Cedar and Cypress are naturally resistant to rot, insect attacks, and decay, not to mention the beauty of the wood grain. For a rustic look, you’ll want to choose a grade such as Cedar STK (Select tight knot) or Cypress (#2 common) and a rough sawn face to give your project some character. Try a higher grade with a smooth face (more expensive) with fewer knots (A&Better or Clear for Cedar and Cypress) if you’re looking for more of a modern look.

Cedar Bevel Siding – STK Grade – – – Cedar Bevel Siding – Clear Vertical Grain
Cypress Tongue and Groove – #2 Common Grade – – – Cypress Nickel Gap Tongue and Groove – Select Grade

Siding Profiles

Now that we have decided on the material, we will decide on a siding profile that works with our vision. One prevalent choice is board and batten. This siding profile uses wide boards installed vertically, with thin batten strips to cover the seams between the boards. A Reverse board and batten style is available as well. Another popular choice would be a traditional shiplap style installed vertically or horizontally. Tongue and groove, channel rustic, nickel gap, and traditional lap siding are viable options as well. Both Cedar and Cypress have a beautiful light color, will have some color variation in the wood from board to board, and both accept a stain very well.

Applying the Stain

While it is possible to apply a stain after the siding is installed, some issues that you can run into are an uneven coating, lap marks, brush marks, and you can only stain what you can reach. Areas that cannot be coated include joints and the backside of the siding (places that can allow water to be absorbed). Other issues include delays from rain, snow, high winds, cold temperatures, and scheduling issues. Poor finish coat adhesion due to improper surface preparation (making sure all of the wood is clean and dry) will not only cause a delay in the project timing but will end up costing you more in the end.

The best way to prevent these unknown issues from slowing down your project is to have the material finished in a factory by machine (also known as prefinishing). Not only do you get a factory-quality finish, but the stain is applied to all sides of each board (face, edges, ends, and back). This encapsulates each board and protects it from moisture intrusion. There are no brush marks, overspray, runs, sags, or missed areas. It is possible to prefinish the material on the job site before installation (great idea for just a couple of boards), but for siding, that requires quite a bit of handling, space to lay out the material, and time to dry properly. The WRCLA recommends prefinishing for optimum performance of new Western Red Cedar.

Rustic Weathered Wood Siding Colors

The actual color of Weathered wood is somewhat subjective. Some believe a gray/brown color is the correct way to describe the perfect shade, while others tend to lean more toward a gray/black tone or even something with a hint of green, blue, or red. We have various options to choose from, including both standard colors and our own custom blends. We have taken the time to apply these stain colors to both Cedar and Cypress siding profiles so you can see firsthand what the final product will look like. Decide for yourself which color best fits your vision for weathered wood.

A great way to get a light natural gray color try Bleaching Stain or Nantucket White.

If you’re looking to use more of a gray weathered wood look these four colors would fit very well Beechwood Gray, Seacoast Gray, Light Weathered Gray, or Weathered Gray.

If you like a finish with a green tone Avocado and Weathered Barnboard are very nice weathered wood stains with a hint of green.

Brown weathered wood options include Legacy Oak, Light Mocha, Driftwood, Pepperwood, Coffee, Dark Oak and Wild Mushroom

If a dark gray almost black tone is what you like try Weathered Wood, Dark Gray, Black Cinder and Dark Slate

Mixing Colors

Do not be afraid to mix several colors on the same wall as a design option. Not all wood weathers at the same rate or has the same final color. Wood coloration will never be 100% consistent from board to board, even when stained. The natural color of the wood will vary from tree to tree and can be rather drastic from one lot to another. The variety of colors should be embraced, and you have the freedom to mix the colors as you wish.

Other Critical Points

When dealing with any prefinished siding product, the need to seal field cuts (exposed wood created during the installation process) is critical to maintaining the protection of the wood. Our products come with additional stain to seal board ends and minor touch-up areas. It’s also important to note that using a pressure washer on any stained siding will damage the finish. If the siding needs to be cleaned, use warm water, mild detergent, and a soft brush for stubborn stains.


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