What is the best finish to use to protect the wood and maintain the natural red color of Eastern red cedar on an exterior application?
Michael Dresdner: Eastern red cedar contains an antioxidant that can prevent oil-based finish from curing, so for that wood, I’d choose a waterbased exterior coating that contains UV blockers or absorbers. Which one specifically depends not on the wood, but rather the type of piece and what it will be used for. For example, I’d use exterior waterbased polyurethane for a patio table, but I’d use waterbased deck coating for a fence. By the way, the UV absorbers will slow the rate of color change caused by sun exposure, but will not stop it.