If you want wooden garage doors, then you have a wide variety of options available to you. Cedar is one wood type that you may consider. Cedar is a light softwood that is porous. The wood has good insulating properties and the structure of the wood remains stable, even when it is exposed to high levels of moisture, heat, and cold temperatures. This means the wood does not warp or expand. Cedar also contains natural oils that repel insects and keep the wood from rotting over time. These factors, as well as the beautiful red and amber coloring of the wood make it a great choice for home building projects. This includes the creation of garage doors. However, you will still need to protect the wood from UV damage and the drying effects of the wind and winter weather. If you want to find out how to properly protect your cedar garage door, then keep reading.
Inspect the Door
It is wise to clean your cedar door thoroughly at least once a year to remove dirt, debris, and insect matter. During the yearly cleaning, you should also take your time to inspect the door to see if it requires sealing or varnishing. Start by purchasing a scrub brush with hard but flexible bristles. A nylon, polyethylene, or a natural horse or ox hair brush will work well for this. Also, find a large bucket and a mild dish soap. Most dish soaps have a neutral pH and this will help to reduce chemical reactions between the soap and the acidic cedar wood.
If your door is incredibly dirty, then dish soap may not be strong enough. In this case, stay away from alkaline cleaners that contain baking soda, bleach, or ammonia. A cleaning solution with vinegar or lemons may be a better choice. Once you have found the right cleaner, use your scrub brush to clean the door. Rinse with water when you are done.
Looking for Damage
Once the cedar door has been fully cleaned, you can look for damage that indicates the cedar needs to be sealed or varnished. In most cases you will see the effects of the harsh UV rays and the photodegradation process that cause the cedar to lose some of its red coloring. When this happens, the cedar will look a silver or gray color. The exterior of the door may show very small cracks and a rough surface as well where the sun has dried it out.
Adding Protective Coatings
A wide variety of different coatings can be applied to a cedar garage door to protect the wood. Paints offer the most protection, because they absorb the UV rays of the sun before they have the opportunity to degrade the wood. If you want to go this route, then think about choosing a dark paint color. Cedar contains tannins and oils that are likely to seep into the paint and cause it to darken or yellow over time. A primer can help to reduce this concern, and so can the use of oil-based paint.
Stains and Sealers
If painting does not seem like a good option because you want to retain the natural beauty of the cedar, then you can choose to place a semi-transparent stain or a water-repellant preservative on the wood. Semitransparent stains are acrylic or oil coatings that contain a waterproofing material like polyurethane and a light brown, red, or yellow based tint. The tint helps to intensify the color of a cedar door that has turned gray or silver, and the polyurethane protects the wood from rot and general water damage. The stain will also likely contain a UV protectant to reduce sun damage as well.
If you like the silver color of the cedar wood or if the wood has not yet completely faded, then you can choose to place a water-repellant preservative on it instead. These protectants are much like the semi-transparent stains, but they contain no coloring agents. Thick layers of the polyurethane material are suggested too, to offer the most sun and water protection for the longest period of time.