Unfinished or Finished with an Exterior Sealer…That is the question…
Lets start with Unfinished:
Western Red Cedar when left out in the elements will eventually turn that silvery grey color. It will get some surface cracks (called checking) but structurally will withstand the elements. Depending on the exposure, you should get 8-12 years worth of outdoor relaxing. There is a reason why Western Red Cedar is used as shingles and siding here in the Pacific Northwest!
Now for Finished:
Adding a Finish to your Outdoor Furniture will “kick it up a notch” if you will. It will look like a million bucks and protect it from the elements. Most companies will charge a large amount to add this option but in the end it will add years to your furniture. When you think about the investment and the amount of years you will get out of your furniture, finishing it makes a lot of sense. We only charge $30 extra to finish our Adirondack Chairs, which is actually pretty low!
Sunfrog’s Exterior Deck Sealer is what we here at L.R. Woodworking use exclusively. It will waterproof the cedar and also provide U.V. protection to prevent the wood to fade. It will also resist mildew growth!
If you choose to finish your outdoor furniture you can expect to get about 2 years of good use before you have to think about refinishing. Of course, if you can bring in your furniture during the winter months, that should help the furniture looking good.
It all depends on what type of look you are going for. If you have a beach bungalow or a cabin in the woods, unfinished might be the best route to better fit with the decor. If you have a modern city home, the finished look will really add to the nice clean look. Since our chairs are all made out of cedar, they will last a long time no matter what finish you use.
I would love to answer any questions you might have! Thanks for reading!