Cedar House Restoration


I have been doing lots of research on this forum regarding wood restoration. I am about to embark in a very large project for my in laws and I wanted to get confirmation that I am heading in the right direction. I have attached photos below of the project.

I am planning to strip all of the siding on the house, the support beams and potentially clean up the bottom of the upper deck boards. The top deck surface has a solid stain or paint on it and will not be coming off as it is rarely in use. The bottom deck surface was sanded and stained with Cutek Extreme last summer. I am planning to presoak the lower deck in an effort to keep it safe / maybe just cover it with a tarp. The rest of my process / steps are below.

  1. Pre soak both decks and siding.
  2. Start on the upper level siding. Spray on sodium Hydroxide with a pump sprayer / 12 volt system. Not sure which yet.
  3. Let dwell 5-10 minutes.
  4. Using low pressure tip to remove the hydroxide and stain from the board. Rinse some more.
  5. Apply oxalic acid to boards for 5 minutes.
  6. Rinse, rinse and rinse.
  7. move to lower story of the house and do the same process with that siding, directly beneath where I was working before.

The photos I have attached of the house provide some detail regarding the shape of the stain. The house has not been stained in around 10 years. I am able to scratch the stain off of siding by using my fingernail lightly.

I applied alcohol on a rag and rubbed the siding and the support beams and the stain came off pretty easily. I am not sure if that means it was a water based stain or just that the stain is so old it was going to come off with any type of pressure on it.

Also, in one photo you can see that the wood has gone white from sun damage. Would that need to be sanded? I am trying not to sand the siding / house because the Mother in Law wants to have the natural grains of the wood to show as it is. It would also be terrible to have to sand a house this big.

Any help or recommendations would be appreciated. Especially around the proper stripper to use.

House Main
Siding + Scratch

Sunroom + White
Undearneath Deck
Beam + Alc
Siding + Alc

Are those EZE Breeze vinyl windows on the sunroom? If so, check what you’re using to make sure you don’t ruin those…

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Not sure what the brand is but they are a plastic vinyl type material. Would cover them and brush on the stripper between the windows. Definitely won’t be using a sprayer in that area.

Thanks for the tip though I appreciate it!

Can’t stand those vinyl windows…get calls to clean them…no thanks.

We usually pop them out of the track and wash them that way each spring. Definitely a pain in the â– â– â–  but it works. They hold a decent enough amount of heat so you can enjoy the sun room in really cold weather as long as you have the pellet stove going.

Yeah…when newer not as big of a deal. Older ones have hard water on them and usually messed up from the homeowner using chems that don’t belong on the vinyl. They want you to fix it……no thank you. :joy:

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While that is true, I was coming at it more from the perspective of “don’t be the one to get chems on it that don’t belong on the vinyl” while washing the house…


When was the last time it was stained?
Do you know what product was used?

It was stained more than 10 years ago. Probably with clear cedar oil based stain.

I don’t see why you’d need sodium hydroxide.

The vast majority of that stain is likely gone. Plus, the sodium hydroxide is so caustic, I would guess it will cause issues with the some metal somewhere on that house unless you really know what you’re doing.

I had a friend stripping a deck. Some dripped on the metal threshold. Ruined it. $1,800 to replace.

I’m a little confused with your rag and alcohol results. Normally that’d indicate latex/acrylic. But whatever stain is on there after 10 years, it’s probably just beggin’ to come off. So you could probably take water on a rag and you’d take some off.

I’d use Sodium Metasilicate. (Sodium Hypochlorite (SH) could be an option as well.)

I cleaned a wedding venue today. I used SM on the barn doors. Then followed with oxalic acid after washing them. Turned out great.

I told them they needed to stain them and started walked them through the process, but then they found out I did that, too. So hopefully I’m staining them in a few weeks.


Your doors look beautiful. Great job!

I was confused by my alcohol test as well, but I’d agree, the stain is begging to come off, especially on the siding. The siding is covered by two decks and doesn’t really see too much sun that’s why I think it lasted so long. The sun room obviously gets a lot of sun and the wood has gone white there.

I wasn’t sure which to go with, sodium hydroxide or sodium metalliscate. I will likely buy both and see which is the better one to go with. I will let you know how it goes. I thought I’d using the because it’s better for stripping, but might not be necessary in this situation.

I am hoping to start at the end of the next week. I will let you know what happens.

Thank you for you help

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Are you planning on staining it as well?

Yeah, I am going to be staining the siding, support beams and probably the window trim.

Go with oil-based especially if you’re going through all the prep trouble. lol

Oh yeah, definitely going with oil based. We went oil based, cute extreme in the lower deck. Worked really well. The siding will be a similar product hopefully!

Do you mean Cutek?

Yeah, Cutek. Damn auto-correct lol

Would you recommend following up with oxalic acid after using the SM? Thanks

I’ve heard of it but never used it.