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How to Stain a Wood Fence

June 25, 2018

Staining is a great way to extend the lifespan of your fence as well as help protect it from the elements. Fence stain can be semi-transparent, or solid color. This is a simple DIY project that most homeowners can consider if they have the time.

How to Prepare Your Fence

One of the first steps you should take before staining your fence is to check the weather forecast. If it has rained within the last 24 hours, or if it’s going to rain within the next 24 hours, you’ll want to delay your project. You’ll want to make sure the weather is moderate, ranging from 50 to 80 degrees fahrenheit. Keep in mind that excess moisture or dryness can both have negative effects on the outcome of the stain.

If you have a brand new fence, you’ll need to wait for it to dry out before it’s ready for you to apply stain. This can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. A variety of factors, such as sun exposure and humidity will play a role in how fast your fence is ready. A useful test to see if your fence is ready for stain is to spray a bit of water on it. If the water beads up on the fence, it’s not ready. If the fence absorbs the water, then it’ll be able to absorb the stain as well.

If your fence has been previously stained, you’ll need to apply a stain stripper to remove the old stain first. The manufacturer’s instructions will guide you through this process. Generally, you’ll apply the stain stripper, allow it to soak for a while, scrub the stain off, then rinse the fence.

For those of you who have older fences, it’s recommended that you use a pressure washer to clean and prepare your fence before applying stain. You’ll need to wait a few days after pressure washing to let your fence dry before staining it.

Once your fence is clean, dry, and the weather forecast looks clear, you’ll be ready to apply the stain.

Applying the Stain

Brushes, paint rollers, or pads can be used to apply the stain to the fence. Sprayers are also an option, but they’re a bit harder to use, so we’d recommend the other options.

Take your applicator of choice and dip it into the stain. Then brush it along the fence, following the grain of the wood. You’ll want to use a back-brushing technique, which involves brushing over areas you’ve already brushed in an up and down motion, to make sure that the stain gets is evenly applied. Continue to do this until you’ve applied stain to the entire fence. Typically, one coat is enough, though some stains may require two. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions to know how many coats should be applied.

Once you’ve applied the stain evenly to your fence, you’ll just need to wait for it to dry. This typically takes 24-48 hours. After that you can enjoy the look of your newly stained fence.

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