Thinking of staining a fence? Here are the lessons I’ve learned and 5 tips for staining a fence. Read on for the stain fence how to.
When we first moved into our house we were so focused on the interior, like finishing our fireplace remodel, bathroom tile, and kitchen breakfast nook . Our son was a busy toddler and during his naps I would carve out time to do some outdoor projects. I started to work outside when the weather turned warm and it was a nice escape for me to decompress.
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. This means if you make a purchase from a product link, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Feel free to read our disclosure policy.
The state of the fence when we moved in.
Before I could start the fun stuff, I had to clean up our demolition debris. I made piles for hauling and had to comb through the grass to make sure nails and screws were picked up. I wanted a usable yard for that busy toddler I mentioned above!
The team who painted our house exterior was very nice and they power washed this fence when they washed our house. This removed all of the moss and dirt you see above. It made a HUGE difference and that is why it is my first tip!
1. Power wash your fence before staining.
If you are you are wanting to stain a new fence, you may not need to power wash. To stain an old fence however, will need a thorough scrubbing. A power washer can remove grime effectively and quickly, so you can get to staining in less time.
2. Read wood stain instructions before buying.
Read the label of your wood stain to read about things like recommended temperature and dry time.
4. Check the weather report before you start to stain.
The first time I did any fence staining was in the summer and it was dry and warm. The second and third time I did fence staining, the weather was a bit more unpredictable as it was late winter. I made sure to check that we had a stretch of dry days with temps that met manufacturer’s instructions.
Luckily, Seattle is mild compared to other parts of the world. Although I am a wimp and think the winters are too cold, they are nothing compared to mid-west or northeast winters!
Wet humid weather can mean longer dry times, whereas very hot weather can lead to streaks from shorter dry times.
4. Use a paint sprayer to stain your fence.
I know, I know I am not using a paint sprayer in this photo. Learn from my sore wrists and hands ha ha.
This is a section of fence we had to replace after a snow storm took down one fence panel. Since it isn’t a huge area, I used a brush that we had on hand.
Truth be told, we haven’t actually used a sprayer on our fence. But, we have one more long length of fence to replace and I definitely plan to use a sprayer on that part. Brushing a fence can be so tiring on your arms and hands!
5. If you have a new fence, test if it is ready for stain.
Many online sources will suggest to wait one to two months before staining a new wood fence, depending on wood type.
When we had to replace the one panel after the branch fell on it, I did not wait that long.
What can I say? I am impatient.
I did test the wood before I started the staining. If you apply water or stain and it beads up, you need to wait longer. If the wood absorbs the water or stain, you are good to go.
FAQ – 5 Tips For Staining A Fence
How often should I stain my fence?
The timeline is dependent on a few factors. Does your fence get full sun exposure for the majority of the day? What condition is the fence in overall? After my first round of stain, it is still holding up well after about three years. This fence is north facing and does not get a ton of sun at all. The wood is cedar and in good condition to begin with.
My south facing fence may not fare as well. Stay tuned…
Should I paint, stain or leave my fence natural?
This is partially a personal preference. A lot of historic homes look so charming with a painted fence. Hello white picket fence!
Other things to consider are maintenance and costs. Paint will be more labor intensive, especially the repaint process which will require scraping the old paint.
If you like the aged natural look, this works best on high quality woods like a cedar or spruce. Power washing will be needed to clean off moss, dirt and the like.
Does paint/stain protect a wood fence?
Yes, either will help to protect against rot, insects and wear and tear.
Old and new fence panels side by side.
The panel on the right was stained a few years ago. The panel on the left is the newer panel. Is the difference very apparent? Would you have noticed if I didn’t point it out?
Pin 5 Tips For Staining A Fence to save for later!
Thanks for reading! Hope you found these tips helpful! Hope you visit our casa again soon
Check out more of our outdoor projects!
Try out a DIY Easy espalier trellis.
Speaking of fences, you have to see how a picket fence was upcycled and repurposed.
Before starting a garden, read this post.
Your stained fence looks so good!
Thank you! We have to replace one more so I’ll be doing more staining in future 💪
Great tips Marie! The color you chose is gorgeous! I love the plant you are training on the fence too 🙂 Pinned!
Thank you! So glad you like. The plant is a jasmine 😊 So happy you stopped by!
Such great tips. You did a great job on your yard.
Thank you so much! I appreciate your comment. Happy day to you!
My partner literally mentioned staining our fence yesterday, great timing!
Ha ha! Fall is usually a great time for staining, as long as no rain is headed your way. Thanks for reading!
We don’t have a fence yet but I’m totally saving this for later!
Great tips, thank you for sharing what you learned!
It looks so good! Thanks for the tips!
Thanks so much! Happy you stopped by!
I love the stain color you chose. And especially the vine you are training.
Thank you so much! Have a great day!
Wow, that looks amazing! I’d never guess it was the same fence. Love how you trained the greenery on the lattice; was that hard to do?
Thank you so much! Even just the power washing made a big difference, but the stain really made it look different. No, the jasmine vine is very pliable & easy to twist on to the trellis.
The fence looks incredible!
Thank you! We have legnth of fence to replace but I need to muster the energy first ha ha .
What a difference! You did such a great job.
Thanks so much! Glad you stopped by!
Oh wow, your fence looks beautiful. You’re so industrious over there. Looking out the window at my fence … shame shame shame. I really like how you’re training pretty vine to grow across the fence. It’s beautiful. xo
Thanks Juliet! Oh your outdoor space and landscaping is so gorgeous! Happy you stopped by 🧡
Pingback: Reader's Favorite Top 10 Blog Posts of 2021 - This Dear Casa
Marie, we rebuilt one of the long fences and stained by hand in 2020. Your tip on a paint sprayer would have been so helpful!
Thanks for sharing at the FWF link party.
Goodness that sounds like a big job! Next fence I stain I’m definitely using a sprayer! Always happy to link at FWF. Thanks for hosting ❤
Pingback: How To Make A DIY Privacy Screen From Salvaged Fence Pickets - This Dear Casa
Pingback: Outdoor Fall Decorating: Potting Table Refresh - This Dear Casa
What color did you choose to stain your fence with?
Hi Lindsey, we used Valspar Canyon Brown from Lowe’s. Thanks for reading 😊
Your fence looks great, I love the shade of stain you chose.
Thanks Cara! Happy Monday 🙂