When having a factory finish applied to your lumber, it is important to select the right finish for the grade being used.
Semi-transparent finishes are one-coat applications, which retain the color variations and grain patterns of the cedar. Semi-transparent finishes may need to be reapplied within one to five years after factory finishing, depending on the exposure to weather.
Solid finishes cover the true color of the wood subtrate but allow its texture and natural characteristics to show through. A one coat, solid factory finish application on a smooth product is considered a prime coat only. A second (and possibly third) coat may be needed to achieve the desired finished appearance. Solid finishes, particularly a two-coat application, offer more longevity between refinishing.
The finish should fit the grade of wood being used. Don’t select smooth, clear cedar then cover its grain and color with solid stain. Use a rougher grade and save money. Solid stain adheres better to a rough grade anyway.