Can I remove stain from cedar?

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Forum topic by rydonmf posted 07-27-2012 12:51 AM 3922 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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48 posts in 2839 days

07-27-2012 12:51 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question cedar finishing

I built railing, skirting, and a pergola for my deck out of cedar. I like the the look of cedar and with this relentless sun I was getting worried about an accelerated aging and greying process. Not having much spare time I rushed and arranged for a painter to come stain it and my other porches for me. In our conversations we decided to have a non see through stain for the porches and deck and a clear stain for the cedar.

Well, of course he forgot about that and stained everything the same. Even though that was primary subject of virtually all of our conversations. It looks bad. I’ve tried to talk myself into liking it but it just looks terrible. I would’ve freakin used much less expensive treated lumber if I wanted to just paint over it! Anyway, does anyone think it is possible to remove it somehow and get the natural cedar look back or am I screwed?

10 replies so far

View Alexandre's profile


1417 posts in 2155 days

#1 posted 07-27-2012 12:57 AM


-- My terrible signature...

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 2890 days

#2 posted 07-27-2012 03:07 AM

I think sanding is your only option, cedar is so soft you may end up with a mess…

Had a similar situation some years ago, installed about 2000 square feet of T&G cedar to the underside of the deck roof on old home that was being restored. It was all bevelled nicely, angles everywhere fit beautifully and it was the source of us getting a number of other finishing jobs.

Two weeks later we drove by and it had been painted solid white.

What a shame.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View cabmaker's profile


1720 posts in 2773 days

#3 posted 07-27-2012 03:24 AM

You may not like it at first but youll get used to it. Oh and no.

View rydonmf's profile


48 posts in 2839 days

#4 posted 07-27-2012 11:22 AM

Thanks for the replies. I had read somewhere about stain thinner but didn’t know if it was a viable option. I don’t think I’m going to get him to do anything about it as he is certain it has penetrated deeply. Unfortunately, I believe this is going to sour and get ugly quickly.
I may just have to paint it white to at least get it to match our other porches metal railings.

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48 posts in 2839 days

#5 posted 07-27-2012 12:27 PM

Here is what it used to look like.

And now.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2950 days

#6 posted 07-27-2012 12:40 PM

If your back-up plan is to paint it white, I would try with some paint or stain stripper. I’ve used both before and they can work decently.. If I were you, I’d give it a shot.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Jeff's profile


428 posts in 3158 days

#7 posted 07-27-2012 12:47 PM

While I prefer the natural wood version and the picture might not do it justice, I don’t think it looks that bad. Kind of like the plastic artificial wood. I guess it depends on how it weathers. Let it go for a while before painting it. Do you have some scraps you can test various things on?

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jim C

1472 posts in 3062 days

#8 posted 07-27-2012 12:51 PM

I kind of like the look. The trouble with plain cedar is it develops black spots that make it look old.
Maybe paint the handrails white for a two tone effect. You might like it.
Theres no way in hell to remove it.

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397 posts in 2112 days

#9 posted 07-28-2012 12:58 AM

You can get ‘stripper’ and apply it and then scrape it off. It is a PAIN IN THE A$$, but it can be done. Your local big box carries it. It will look like it’s original wood state~

If you decide that route, that is some BAD stuff. The chemicals with burn like no other if you get it on your skin, so take the proper protection measures~

-- Ride hard or go home~

View a1Jim's profile


117061 posts in 3541 days

#10 posted 07-28-2012 02:14 AM

solid body stain acts pretty much like paint . Any thing you do will be a lot of work but some options are to use chemical stripper messy and probably not totally effective, sand it with a floor sander probably effective but it may do things like sand the heads off of the screws, re stain the surface another color if you go lighter it may to four coats depending on the quality of stain you use, remove the deck surface and replace the ceder or plain each piece on your planner and re install.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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