We (I) decided to stain our shingles. Originally we thought we’d leave them natural, but halfway through I decided that I really liked the way they looked when they were wet from the rain. The best way to achieve that look was with a weatherproofing sealant that was just slightly tinted. We tried several things until we very happily settled on Cabot Clear Solution in Heartwood. It is very subtle, but will just allow the siding to weather more slowly. The pictures show the difference if you look really closely. Over the past two weekends I have gotten our front gable and the two back gables stained because we needed to wrap up anything involving-bolt through staging brackets (http://www.lynlad.com/catalog/item/1985389/1408659.htm). These brackets are fabulous, and allow for quick staging set up and take down. The only downside is that because they bolt through the wall, once you near insulation and sheetrocking you can’t go around drilling holes through you exterior walls. And, since we are at that point (!!!!), all future staining will be done from a regular old ladder.
In the picture above the entire gable and the lower portion of the side wall have been stained.