How to Stain a Cedar Mantel

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Things You'll Need

  • Sanding block or belt sander

  • Various grit sand paper

  • Rags

  • Sponge

  • Oil-based stain

  • Polyurethane protective coating

  • Small paint brush

Cedar mantles are one of the most durable wood fireplace additions available. The wood is very stable due to the natural oils inside. There are fewer problems associated with bug infestation and rot with cedar-constructed mantles than other available woods. When properly sanded, cedar accepts stain well and gives off an incomparable sheen. Many homeowners find this project to be an enjoyable way to add a personal touch to the décor. Proper protective coating will help a cedar mantle last for generations to come.


Step 1

Use a sanding block or belt sander to sand the raw cedar fireplace mantle. Gradually reduce the grit of the sand paper to have smooth results. Wipe with a damp rag to remove any saw dust.

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Step 2

Apply a layer of oil based stain using a rag or sponge. Wipe the excess of with a clean rag. Add a second layer if you want a deeper color. Allow the recommended label drying time before continuing.


Step 3

Use a small paintbrush to brush on a layer of a polyurethane protective coat. Allow the polyurethane to dry and lightly sand the surface with fine sand paper. Add a second layer. Let the mantle completely dry for 24 hours and buff with a soft rag.


Take your time when sanding the cedar mantle. The smoother the finish, the better the resulting stain finish will look.


Keep the area well ventilated during the staining and protective coating process. The chemicals produce strong fumes.


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