The length of time it takes for cedar to turn grey can vary depending on several factors, including the type of cedar, the climate it is exposed to, and the amount of direct sunlight it receives.
Cedar wood left untreated and exposed to the elements will turn grey within a few weeks to a year. The rate at which cedar turns grey can be accelerated by exposure to sunlight, rain, and other weather conditions.
Some types of cedar may also turn grey more quickly than others due to differences in their natural oils and resins.
How Long Does It Take For Cedar Wood Fences To Turn Grey?
There might be a question in your mind as to how long it takes for the sun and water to turn cedar wood gray. Changing the wood from red to gray takes about two weeks. It is important to note that many factors can affect the time taken for wood to change color.
It is essential to shade and dry your fence if you want it to last longer than one exposed to direct sunlight or heavily hit by rain or snow. The consistency of water and sun hitting your fence will determine how long your fence lasts.
Why Does Cedar Turn Grey?
Because of its attractive color, cedar might be your first choice for your outdoor project, whether it’s a new fence, deck, shingles, or anything else.
There are several types of cedar, including reds, oranges, browns, and mixtures. It doesn’t matter which way you look at it; these warm colors are gorgeous. A dull gray shade of wood can be heartbreaking when it fades eventually.
It is common for wood to retain its natural color when it is freshly cut and stored indoors. The oils that give cedar wood its warm colors and pleasing scent dry out over time, and the cells eventually die out. During this process, the wood begins to morph into a gray color resembling weathered wood.
In addition to drying out the oils and damaging living cells in wood, the sun’s rays have a bleaching effect.
Water can get inside the cracked cells as the oils dry out and cells shrivel up, opening tiny cracks that allow more sun and weather inside. It is this process that leads to wood rotting over time.
Despite cedar’s ability to resist graying more than other woods, it still will happen without protection. Several wood types will inevitably fade to gray as they are exposed to the elements over time.
What Causes Cedar Wood Fences To Turn Grey?
When cedar wood ages, it begins to turn gray and becomes silvery gray. Eventually, the natural oils of cedar wood dry up, degrade, and blacken, resulting from sun, rain, and age.
When cedar wood is hit with water, its outer layer decays, damaging the cells that are still alive and harming the oils that give it its color.
Cedar’s natural oils are damaged by decay and faded by the sun, which dries those oils and diminishes the fence’s color.
The return of the water causes the dead cell tissues to rot and mold. Over time, this combination continues to change the color of the cedar wood. If cedar is pressure washed, it can be restored to its natural color.
To get a gray color or the look of aged, weathered wood, all you need to do is let time and weather do their work. You will need to take some steps to keep your cedar looking warm and fresh.
How Fast Will Cedar Wood Begin To Grey?
Unlike some parents with teens whose fences and decks seem to gray overnight, cedar wood takes a little time to gray. However, time is of the essence if you want to retain the youthful appearance of your fences or decks.
The cedar tree is known for being one of the slowest growing trees, so when mature, it can take a long time for it to turn gray.
Depending on how fresh the wood is, how exposed it is to the elements and its thickness, cedar may start to gray as early as two weeks from when it was fresh, or it could take as much as a year to lose its color. It is in your best interest to protect the natural wood color as soon as possible.
Once your cedar project is complete, there are a few steps you should take to maintain its color. Firstly, the wood needs to be allowed to dry completely. The process may take a few days to five weeks depending on the weather.
You should let any stain or protectant completely dry before applying any stain or finish to cedar lumber, even after it has been installed.
Without this step, you could severely shorten the life of your wood or at least result in an unsatisfactory finish.
The cedar wood will darken slightly before it gets completely dry but don’t worry; that can be fixed. If you want to remove that little film of grey, use a stiff bristle brush (not wire) and oxy-cleaner mixed with water.
Why Is Cedar Wood Used Outside?
Natural oils in cedar lumber have a pleasing scent to us, but they repel insects, making them a natural insect repellent. You no longer need to worry about termites, wood beetles, and insects eating your fence, siding, or deck.
Cedar oil is made by extracting it from cedar wood makes great insecticides and insect repellants. In studies conducted by the USDA, cedar oil proved effective against mosquitoes, flies, fire ants, and ticks. Their experiments either repelled or exterminated pests with cedar oil.
Cedarwood has the same smell-good oils that make it naturally resistant to rot, fungal infections, and decay. If you don’t stain and protect the cedar fence, it can last twice as long as a fence made from spruce or pine.
Depending on the maintenance and care given to cedar applications, they can last up to 40 years. Cedar is so famous for fencing, decks, siding, and even roofing because of its variety of uses.
A study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology supports this conclusion. The lifespan of cedar products is estimated to be 40 years. It is recommended to apply stain to cedar products every 10 years to maintain their appearance and increase their life span.
Even under the blazing summer sun, Cedar outdoor furniture remains cooler than wood furniture. There are tiny pockets of air throughout the woodgrain of cedar, which explains why it displays this characteristic.
These minuscule air pockets provide insulation, preventing the wood from getting as hot as other wood.
How Can I Preserve My Cedar Wood Fence?
Sealing and staining your fences lasts a lifetime, but what if your fence turns gray? There’s no need to worry; you can save the color! Staining your fence as soon as you see it is drying out is essential.
To start, you must pressure wash your fence and apply a wood brightener. For your fence to remain in good condition for a long time, apply a quality wood stain and sealer after these steps. It is recommended that this process be completed every two years to ensure its effectiveness.
Do You Need A Wood Sealant For Your Cedar?
The good thing about oil-based stain is that it also seals the wood, so you don’t have to seal it separately. Although stain is usually more expensive, it has higher UV protection, especially with a higher pigment content.
The sealants used on wood typically have a clear appearance and must be reapplied yearly. In most cases, sealers don’t provide the same level of UV protection as stains, so adding one annually is often considered unnecessary.
There is also a potential problem with some sealants in that they can cause a buildup, ultimately resulting in a crack or peel.
Often, polyurethane and wax-based sealers cause these problems. Wood is protected from the elements by a thin film, but eventually, the elements break down this film.
You may have to spend some time maintaining the natural cedar look, but it may be more enjoyable than looking out and feeling like you’re staring at a black-and-white photo from the past.
Wood-like cedar is perfect for outdoor projects like decks, fencing, siding, and more. Besides being long-lasting, it comes in beautiful colors. Some love the weathered look of gray cedar, and others prefer the gorgeous glow of new cedar, but maintaining these colors is important.
Several options are available for keeping the youthful appearance of new cedar, but an oil-based stain is recommended. You’ll have to apply some maintenance every now and then to keep it looking good, but beauty must be nurtured.