Your Ultimate Guide To Cedar Maintenance in New Zealand

Cedar is famous for its beautiful aesthetic appeal, long life span, excellent thermal insulator properties and resistance to rot, insects, and decay. Because of these amazing qualities, cedar is widely used in New Zealand for cladding and sometimes for fencing and louvres.

While cedar is a great quality timber, it still needs regular maintenance to keep it looking its best. This is especially true when it comes to cedar cladding because it’s constantly exposed to New Zealand’s harsh sun, humidity, rain and snow. So, without proper care, your cedar cladding will eventually start to degrade and become discoloured or warped.

But, the good news is, you can stop this or slow it down, and we’re here to show you how with this ultimate guide to cedar cladding maintenance.

We’ll unpack the ins and outs of cedar maintenance in New Zealand, which will include;

So, at the end of this guide, you’ll have the confidence to properly maintain your cedar cladding and keep it looking beautiful for years to come.

Why Cedar Needs Maintenance


Cedar, or Western Red Cedar, which is what is meant by ‘cedar’ in New Zealand, is a premium, soft timber that’s durable, beautiful, and resistant to insects and rot. But that doesn’t make it completely indestructible. Without regular maintenance, your cedar cladding will eventually;

  • Fade away – NZ’s harsh UV rays can bleach your cladding, resulting in a dull grey or silver colouring.
  • Become discoloured – The humid climate of New Zealand encourages mould and mildew growth, which can discolour your cedar cladding.
  • Suffer from warping, cupping, and splitting.

A regular maintenance schedule will help cedar last for years.


A Timeline of Cedar Maintenance Around the Home

New cedar cladding: For newly-installed cedar cladding, apply a high-quality wood oil like Dryden WoodOil, which is a clear, water-repellant, migrating oil that helps protect the timber from the inside out.

If you want to add colour to your cedar cladding, add Dryden Colourtone+, which would also give it enhanced UV protection.


After one year: We highly recommend giving your cedar cladding an annual soft wash which means just washing it down gently with a garden hose. If there is a bit of dirt, gently wash it off with a bit of detergent.


After two or three years: Re-apply Dryden WoodOil with or without Dryden Colourtone+ as needed, focusing on areas where the colour has faded.


Ongoing maintenance: Continue inspecting, cleaning, and reapplying Dryden WoodOil with or without Dryden Colourtone+ every two-to-three years or as needed, based on your cedar cladding’s appearance and condition.

How To Carry Out Maintenance For Your Cedar Cladding Using Dryden Products

How to clean your cedar cladding


For standard cleaning


Give a soft wash: The standard way to clean your cedar cladding is with a soft wash which we recommend doing annually. Just use a garden hose and gently rinse off any dirt or grime. Use detergent if you need to get rid of dirt.

To remove stains and cosmetic marks on your cedar cladding

What to use: Dryden LiquidTimberClean

How does it work: Dryden LiquidTimberClean lightens or removes such marks and brightens dull cedar.

How to use:

  • Mix Dryden LiquidTimberClean 50/50 with water
  • Apply directly to stubborn areas if needed.
  • Keep wet and active until marks are acceptable or gone
  • Blend total area with 50/50 mix once marks are gone, or timber is brightened
  • Rinse with clean water until soapiness is gone, especially in grooves and joints
  • Re-oil timbers for protection after drying
  • The process applies to general or targeted cleaning

How to coat your cedar cladding

What to use: Dryden WoodOil

How does it maintain your cedar cladding? As a migrating oil with water-repelling properties, Dryden WoodOil helps prevent the absorption of water into your cedar, reducing excessive warping, cupping, and splitting of timber and extending the lifespan of your cedar cladding.

How to use Dryden WoodOil:

  • For dressed or band-sawn cedar, use a wide bristle brush or a speed pad (see image)- just avoid the lambswool types. An airless spray system can also be used to apply the oil to your cladding.
  • Remember to regularly stir the wood oil throughout the application process to maintain a consistent colour.
  • You don’t need to apply fresh oil to every side of the house unless it needs it. It’s not uncommon to coat the western and northern-facing areas more often than the south- and east-facing areas.
  • But if you do start on any face, finish it off! This ensures a nice colour consistency for every part of the house.
  • Dryden WoodOil should not be thinned or altered in any way – you simply apply it to the wood surface and wait until the next day or the day after till the wet look has disappeared – it’s as easy as that!

How to stain your cedar cladding

What to use: Dryden Colourtone+ added to Dryden WoodOil

How does it maintain your cedar cladding? Dryden Colourtone+ provides UV protection and helps prevent the timber from silvering when maintained correctly.

How to use it: Choose from over 37 colours and add the selected stain to Dryden WoodOil. Then carry out the same application method.

Diagnosing if maintenance or restoration is needed – What damage to cedar cladding looks like


Silvering – This happens when coloured timber extractives are washed out (leaching), and the cedar structures get damaged by sunlight (photodegradation).

Dryden WoodOil helps cedar maintain a grey look, so it may not mean that your cladding needs re-oiling or coating in this specific case. Silvering only indicates the need for coating and colour when you want to maintain a natural or stained look.


Is it better to use oil or traditional stain on cedar?


As a simple answer, what we can say is that if you want a clear/transparent oil to maintain your cedar’s natural colour, go for Dryden WoodOil. If you want more colour and enhanced UV protection, add Dryden Colourtone+ to Dryden WoodOil.

At Dryden, we often get asked whether it’s better to oil or stain cedar cladding, and it’s a tough question to answer. Instead, let’s reframe it to be more specific: should I use oil or a traditional stain on cedar? In our terms, staining means adding colour. So, when you use a combo of Dryden WoodOil + Colourtone+, you’re essentially staining the timber. This is why it comes down to your preference for the look and finish you want on your cedar cladding.


Final thoughts on cedar cladding maintenance


In summary, cedar cladding requires maintenance and regular upkeep to keep it looking great and last for a long time. By using Dryden WoodOil or Dryden Colourtone+ added to Dryden WoodOil, you can help extend the life of your cedar cladding by preserving its natural finish and providing protection from UV rays, rain, snow, hail and wind damage.

Part of your cedar maintenance journey is to give annual soft washes and follow it up with Dryden SurfaceCleaner or Dryden LiquidTimberClean for advanced restoration.

For more information on how to maintain your cedar cladding, contact Dryden: we would be more than happy to help!

Pick The Best Colour For Your Cedar Stain

Adding colour to your exteriors is easy and straightforward with Dryden Colourtone+, which comes with over 37 shades to choose from. It helps enhance cedar cladding’s UV protection while complementing your timber’s character and colour without hiding the grain.


*Will silver as product weathers overtime


*Will silver as product weathers overtime


Lite Oak










Weathered Cedar



Silver Grey







Black Teak













Soft Grey


Dryden WoodOil colours and finishes shown here on Western Red Cedar are representative only. The colour you choose and the amount of oil applied may change the final achieved colour.