Best Stain Color On Cedar Shakes


Wanted to touch base and let you know I am extremely happy with your Mountain XT stain and how well our deck held up over the winter months.

Now it’s on to the house.  We have just finished replacing some very badly sun damaged western red cedar siding.  And, since I have always loved cedar shakes, I saw this as a great opportunity to incorporate some.  I had planned to start at the edge of the porch and run to the outer corner of the garage.  However, after talking with two contractors I had to compromise and use the shingles above the windows at the front entrance and the end of the garage. 

Now comes the tough part – stain.  We only replaced the south and west sides of the house with the vertical siding.  Therefore, I am forced to use Olympic Tobacco to match the two sides which were not replaced.  But, on the shingles, I would like to use a coordinating color to make them really stand out.  Attached a photo with a few samples – from right to left:  Olympic Mushroom, Olympic Driftwood and your Rainforest Pebble.  Would love to have your opinion on how I should finish out the shingles (am open to anything other than light cedar – hate orange wood!).  Worried too about breaking up the colors on a single level home.  As a reminder, the front of the house gets full sun most of the day.

Also, have new shutters on order as well – white pine.  Want to use your paint (Satin) on those in a mid-tone gray.  I’m thinking I read on your site no primer is needed but can’t find where I read it  – did I understand correctly?  Will the shutters need to be cleaned before painting (they are paneled rather than louvered which should make it much easier!).

Placing another order soon.  Thanks so much – glad I stumbled across you on the internet!!!


Glad to hear the deck is looking good.

To coat the cedar a few colors that come to mind would be Pebble or Pebble Deep (if you want it more grey).

Another way to go is the Mountain Laurel Deep which sets off the lighter toned siding without clashing. This is an architect favorite color around here in Asheville.

I like Garden Sage personally, and think that would look nice with the big yard…maybe tie it in to the property nicely.

Butter Toffee is very popular on cedar homes and looks a lot darker on cedar siding than the pic online shows. There is an example on the Birch Stain Color Chart pdf on the website.

Cape Cod Grey may be the most popular color for cedar siding. I think you may end up with more of the orangish cedar tones coming through that though, kind of like the sample board you did that sits in the middle.

I would probably use Mountain XT for the siding since it’s in a sunny area.   Rainforest Sealer is excellent as well. The XT will give more mold protection which is helpful in your area.

The Clear Skies Satin is sold out and we are not stocking that this year. We make it in large batches for industrial customers and the main purchase one is using a newer technology we offer. We may offer that through Earthpaints webstore later this year.

For the white pine shutters, if paints is desired and not stain, then the Clear Skies Eggshell is nice. For more sheen we top coat with NanoTech Clear 00. That will give a hard durable, high satin sheen. No primer is needed on raw wood but it’s not a stain blocker and white pine has some tannins that bleed through from knot holes and sapwood. This is usually not visible if using a darker tone but if going white or using a light tone then the bleed through must be addressed with a stain blocker. We used to use Shellac for that but now we use Mountain since it works better and isn’t as harsh as the Shellac. You could use any oil based primer that blocks stains but if looking to stay away from toxins, the Mountain is the only thing I really know works in harsh exterior settings…

I guess if I was doing my white pine shutters, I’d stain them a deep tone with NanoTech and then apply multiple coats of NanoTech Clear 00.

Not sure, I quite answered everything. Sorry… let me know if I can be of any further help.

Best wishes,


Sample pints are recommended for creating a finished sample in advance. 


Earthpaint is in no way liable for unintended uses of this information. Sample Pints are recommended. Please, create a completed sample board for approval in advance. Test as deemed appropriate to make sure no allergic sensitivities exist. Be sure to Read TDS (Technical Data Sheets), MSDS (Manufacturer Safety Data Sheets) Labels, How To’s and Product Web Page before using recommended products.

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