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Old 01-28-2009, 05:21 PM   #1
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Cedar Decking and Cold Weather


I have managed to frame my deck in between snows in Minnesota, and am going to put cedar on it. I'd really like to get it done before my warm weather projects start, but eventually want to finish it to maintain the cedar look and not the weathered look.

Can I put cedar on now and finish it in a couple months without it weathering significantly? Current temps are in the single digits. It really isn't feasible to pre-finish it indoors, so either I stop construction for a couple months or put it on now and worry about the finish later.

Also, I would assume the cedar will be essentially dry in the cold, low humidity weather? I like to gap deck boards about 1/4" so stuff falls through easier, but don't want it shrinking to leave huge gaps.

Any advice would be appreciated.

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Old 01-28-2009, 06:32 PM   #2
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You can pre-finish with a stain even in colder weather. Oil based products will still cure, but will take a much longer time. Maybe a friends garage could be used. It will weather by summer otherwise.
Install the boards tight together, the shrinking later will give you the space you want.
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Old 01-28-2009, 07:32 PM   #3
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I wouldn't prefinish unless you're meeting the specs of the stain manufacturer. Had some deck boards stained up by a sub and they had to be refinished. It was sikkens I believe. It was done in a garage but I suspect taken outside before it had fully dried. It was in the middle of the winter. If it could be applied at 10 above, the can would say so. Best to get a warm garage and do some set and follow the specs and get a good dry. I wouldn't wait because the outside of the cedar will oxidize shortly after it is exposed and it will never take the finish like it should plus you'll have to sand it like a madman. Do it right from start to finish.

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Old 01-29-2009, 05:32 AM   #4
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Cedar is much dryer then PT wood and will not shrink as much. A 1/4" is alot of space to leave.
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