How to Stain a Wood Fence

Updated November 2017Staining a Wood fence on a sunny day

Treating an old wood fence with a protective stain as it will not only keep your fence looking good, it will protect it from the elements. There are plenty of ways to stain a wood fence including a paint brush, roller or paint sprayer. For larger projects, it may be worth the money to invest in a quality sprayer as it will make the job go much faster.  For smaller projects, staining a wood fence with a simple roller and paint brush for those hard to reach areas should work just fine.

Choosing the right stain for wood fence

Choosing a stain is the biggest decision you will have to make when staining your wood fence. There are so many variations of stain offered and big box retailers offer generic brand stains at an affordable price.  Remember though, as is the case with so many things in life, you get what you pay for.  So be sure to do PLENTY of research before staining a wood fence. staining a wood fence is fairly straightforward process

Going with a cheaper brand of stain without doing your research can mean re-staining the wood fence in just several years. Another thing to consider is the color of the stain and how it will look on your fence.  If possible, try and get a sample of the stain prior to applying it to the whole fence.

Staining a Wood Fence

Finally, it is time to stain the fence.  It is often a good idea to wait several weeks if the wood is new for the treatments to settle in and if you live in a wet climate like the Pacific Northwest, allow time for the wood to dry in warmer weather.  When staining a wood fence, make sure to apply plenty of stain and paint away!

When Is the Best Time to Stain a Wooden Fence?

Wait a few weeks before staining a new wooden fence. Why? Wood is affected by light, temperature and humidity. It needs time to adapt to its new environment. Early or late summer are good times for staining a wooden fence. You’ll need a few days of dry, warm weather, both before and after you stain. The boards need to be completely dry. A cloudy day, early in the morning or late in the afternoon are good times to work. In general, it’s better not to paint in direct sunlight.

Gather Your ToolsCustom Concealed Fence with fresh stain

Staining a wood fence requires using a combination of rollers and brushes. You’ll need the following tools:

  • Long-handled roller and trim roller
  • Paint pan
  • Four-inch wide brush and trim brush
  • Rubber gloves
  • Eye protection such as goggles
  • Canvas or plastic sheets

Apply the Wood Stain

#1 Lay sheet over plants, grass and ground. Move pots and furniture to a safe distance. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Here’s the general procedure for staining a wood fence:

#2 Using the roller, dip into the stain. Apply in an even coat. Work from top to bottom. Starting at the top helps prevent drips.

#3 After completing a 3-foot section with the roller, work the stain in with a brush. Work the product into corners. If you have a partner, the work will go more quickly. One person applies the stain with the roller, the second follows behind with the brush.

#4 Follow the same procedure in step 2 using the trim roller and brush.

#5 Refer to your product directions to learn if you need a second coat.

Damaged old wooden fence from storm

What to do with an old wooden fence

That being said, no amount of stain can save an old wooden fence if it’s destroyed, breaking or unable to withstand stormy weather. There are a number of things you can do to recycle your old wood fence.  Here is a short list of ideas on what you can make out of your old wooden fence:

  • Vintage looking planter boxes
  • Birdhouses, bird feeders or  squirrel feeders
  • Garden trellises
  • Garbage container corrals
  • Old picture Frames
  • Simple retaining walls (only very small walls – consult a professional if unsure)
  • Garden Stakes
  • Vintage looking picture frames
  • Rustic looking bench
  • Mail Box

As you can see there are plenty of simple uses for an old wooden fence, including many options that aren’t listed above. Be creative and see what you can build!

Wood fence installation in Portland OR

From fence installation to removal of old wooden fences, Pacific Fence and Wire has the tools and expertise you need to get the job done right the first time. Contact us today for help with your next landscaping or yard renovation project.

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