If you haven’t seen our post about the exterior design concept, be sure to start there! That vision was the driving force behind all other decisions for our home’s exterior. Today I’m excited to share more detailed information behind the actual product selections and process. Not to mention, the first glimpses of these materials being installed!
the BASICS ON CEDAR
Once I determined cedar would be our primary material, I had a lot to figure out when it came to the color. I researched bleaching oils, wood species, wood grades, and more — there’s so much that goes into the final appearance.
Many people are familiar with red cedar as it’s the most common in our area. It ranges from knotty to clear, with most people desiring the clear cedar for it’s clean, modern look. However, that clean wood comes at a high price! The golden red undertones of this wood also was a factor I needed to consider. I was looking for more of a neutral brown tone.
the new kid on the block
Fast forward a bit, and I stumbled across a cedar known as Port Orford Cedar when researching online. It’s much less common. In fact, when I called our local lumber supply stores and mills, most thought I was crazy and didn’t know what I was talking about. Traditionally, this cedar was used for building boats and Japanese temples. And just like other cedars, it has an amazing scent to it, kind of ginger-like even.
The amazing thing about Port Orford Cedar is that: A) it has more of a natural white/yellow undertone rather than red, and B) it has less knots and so even a D grade material is basically the equivalent of a clear grade red cedar. And to top it all off, it was about half the price! Long story short, we jumped on the opportunity and purchased it directly from a mill in Washington.
When we selected our cedar, we requested a flush joint tongue and groove. It basically has a square profile that you’d see on shiplap, for example. I didn’t want any gaps like nickel gap because it tends to have a more traditional or rustic look. We went with a D & Better grade because it was plenty clear for the aesthetic we were going for. Last, we made sure to get one side sanded smooth, and had the smooth side facing out during install. Some people choose to put the rough side out. Apparently this is less maintenance, but it’s just not the look we wanted.
a custom color with miller paint
I looked at inspiration photos a lot and did a ton of research on how to achieve different colors. In the beginning I explored bleaching oils quite a bit. Specifically for use on red cedars when trying to eliminate the red undertones. But with Port Orford, that was no longer a challenge we faced. For me, it was all about bringing a warm oak color so it would complement the white oak tones of the home’s interior (our floors and cabinets).
I worked with Miller Paint to create a custom stain color using their Sansin products. We probably completed somewhere in the range of 20-30 samples to get it just right! A little more white, a little more umber, a little of this and a little of that. Finally, we felt like we achieved the perfect color! It was a decision that I was very anxious about. It would be followed by a lot of labor to stain the whole house, and I didn’t want to mess it up! So a very special thank you to my friend Cathy with Hue Color for holding my hand through it and helping me execute my vision! And another big thank you to the lovely people with Miller Paint for their patience, customer service, and letting me spend hours at the store, and adding the pigments — drop by drop — to perfection!
If you are looking to achieve a specific look for your home, all of these people are simply amazing and can definitely help you accomplish your color dreams!
A few final things I wanted to be sure to touch on with cedar siding – the installation is so important! We made sure to do a rain barrier behind the siding so moisture is never trapped behind the wood. We also stained all sides of every board for protection. In the Spring, we will likely do some sort of clear coat over the stain for added protection.
Have questions about cedar? Drop them in the comments below!
Sponsored Post: Transparency is important! I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with some incredible companies on our home project. These collaborations may include discounted or donated product in exchange for content. But rest assured – I actually selected products from these brands based on the fact that I love them! Collaboration opportunities came later, and I’m really grateful each company wanted to work with us on our project, too!
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