Western Red Cedar takes oil-based stains beautifully. It may be installed after applying a transparent finish for a natural effect, or a pigmented semitransparent finish, for a less rustic look. Solid colors, using 100% acrylic latex paints, offer a smooth finish. Alkyd oil primers with mildew and ultraviolet shielding properties insure the best results when finishing cedar. Avoid varnishes and other film-forming coatings that can crack and peel over time. Consult a professional siding installer about the finishes available for your cedar.
Factory primed cedar can substantially reduce construction time. Ask your building supply dealer about 15-year warranty plans and make sure all surfaces of the board are sealed.