How to Stain a Fence: 5 Best Tips for Fence Staining

Many people believe that staining a fence is a challenging task. The truth is that with the right knowledge, you can stain any fence easily and beautifully. Once you come up with a plan and gather all the right supplies, the rest of the fence staining project will be straightforward to perform. As you are staining the fence, you just need to keep calm, stay organized, and be as prepared as possible.

While it is possible to stain a fence on your own, hiring professional contractors could be a good idea just to bring in an extra pair of hands. Either way, you should equip yourself with the basic knowledge and procedures on how to stain a fence.

To help you get started, here are the five best tips for fence staining:

1. Examine the wood closely.

Examine the wood closely.

This is the first step in the fence staining process. When examining the wood, be on the lookout for things like nails, screws, staples and broken fence pieces. When you find any of these items on the fence, make sure you either remove them or fix them. Doing this will ensure you end up with a smooth surface to apply the stain, thus giving it a uniform and finished look.

If the fence is old, the fence staining project could be severely slowed down, primarily if obstacles such as nails are not dealt with beforehand. This is part of why examining the wood is essential.

Also, be on the lookout for fence sections that are too rough. You should sand these sections until they are entirely smooth. Otherwise, they might end up causing issues during the application process. At the onset, make sure you thoroughly examine the fence and deal with any defects right away. This process will only take a few minutes, but it will save you plenty of time in the long run.

2. Clean the fence.

Clean the fence.

In general, you should clean your fence at least once a year. Regardless of your regular maintenance schedule, you should always take the time to clean up and prep your fence again before staining. You will want the fence to be as clean as possible. If you skip the cleaning part of this process, you might end up spreading dirt and debris all over the fence.

To clean the fence, make sure you are equipped with a pressure washer or garden hose, a wood cleaner, and a soft bristle brush. These items will help you avoid painting over things such as spider webs, grime and other forms of debris that may affect the quality of the stain. Start by applying the wood cleaner, then using a tender bristle brush, scrub away the grime and debris present on the fence.

After you are done scrubbing, make sure you give the fence some time to dry completely. Your last step is to rinse off the fence with water. If your fence has been around for a long time, it is advisable to use a garden hose instead of a pressure washer, since the latter might be too powerful and could potentially blast away your fence.

3. Know the weather forecast.

Know the weather forecast.

Before you start applying the stain to your fence, find out what the weather forecast for the entire week looks like. This will help you make a more informed choice on whether it is the right time to apply the fence stain.

Ideally, the best time to apply a stain to a fence is days when the temperature is between 10 to 25 degrees, and the humidity is low to moderate. You should also make sure no precipitation is expected on the day following the application of the stain.

If the prospects are discouraging, just remember the saying; “good things come to those who wait.” You need to wait for the right weather conditions, because extreme moisture or cold will cause the wood stain to take longer to dry, while extreme heat will cause it to dry out too quickly.

4. Stain the fence.

Stain the fence.

After prepping the wood, you can now start staining the fence. This process is quite simple, but it demands your attention. To apply the stain, you will be using either a roller or a hand-pumped stain sprayer together with a brush. Whatever method of application you use, always make sure the coats are even.

It is advisable to stain one fence board at a time since this gives you more control over the process. When staining, focus on doing it from the topmost part of the fence, down to the very bottom, and maintain this movement throughout the application. This will deal with the problem of uneven dripping.

Always remember to follow the specific guidelines for the wood stain you are using, since the coat and thickness requirements vary between manufacturers. The instructions for application are usually displayed on the product labels. If you feel like you need to apply more than one coat, remember to let the stain settle for about an hour before applying the next layer.

5. Let the stained fence rest.

Let the stained fence rest.

This final step is essential in the fence staining process. Letting the stained fence to rest without any form of interference allows the stain to penetrate the wood. If you have kids, let them know the fence is a no-go zone for the next few days. Typically, the resting period is 24 hours, but sometimes it can go up to 48 hours, depending on the weather and humidity of your area.

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