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How to Stain a Fence

How to Stain a Fence
How to Stain a Fence

A wood fence can add beauty and privacy to your property, but it's important to properly maintain it to ensure that it lasts for years to come. One way to maintain your wood fence is to stain it, which can protect the wood from the elements and enhance its appearance. Here's how to stain a wood fence with semi-transparent, transparent, or solid stain.

Materials you'll need:

  • Stain

  • Brush or roller

  • Paint sprayer (optional)

  • Power washer

  • Sandpaper

  • Wood filler

  • Painter's tape

  • Drop cloths or plastic sheeting

  • Safety glasses

  • Gloves

Step 1: Clean the Fence

Before staining your fence, it's important to thoroughly clean it to remove any dirt, debris, or mildew that may have accumulated. Use a power washer to remove any loose dirt or debris, and then use sandpaper to smooth out any rough spots. If there are any holes or cracks, fill them with wood filler and allow it to dry before sanding.

Step 2: Prep the Area

To avoid getting stain on any surrounding areas, cover nearby plants, furniture, or surfaces with drop cloths or plastic sheeting. Use painter's tape to cover any areas of the fence that you don't want to stain, such as posts or hardware.

Step 3: Choose Your Stain

There are three main types of stain to choose from: semi-transparent, transparent, and solid. Semi-transparent stain allows the natural grain of the wood to show through and offers some UV protection. Transparent stain is similar to semi-transparent but offers less UV protection. Solid stain provides the most UV protection and can be used to cover up imperfections in the wood.

Step 4: Apply the Stain

Using a brush, roller, or paint sprayer, apply the stain to the fence in long, even strokes. Start at the top of the fence and work your way down, being careful to avoid drips or runs. If using a brush or roller, work in small sections to ensure that the stain is applied evenly. If using a paint sprayer, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions and wear safety glasses and gloves.

Step 5: Allow the Stain to Dry

Once you've applied the stain, allow it to dry completely before removing any painter's tape or drop cloths. The drying time will depend on the type of stain you're using and the temperature and humidity in your area. Be sure to check the manufacturer's instructions for recommended drying times.


  • Use an oil-based stain for increased durability, especially in areas with harsh weather conditions.

  • Use a water-based stain if you're looking for a low-VOC option that's easier to clean up.

  • Test a small area of the fence with the stain before applying it to the entire fence to ensure that you're happy with the color and finish.

  • Make any necessary repairs, such as replacing broken boards or tightening loose hardware, before staining the fence.

By following these steps, you can stain your wood fence to protect it from the elements and enhance its appearance. Whether you choose a semi-transparent, transparent, or solid stain, be sure to properly clean and prepare the fence before applying the stain and allow it to dry completely before removing any protective coverings. With proper maintenance, your wood fence can continue to be a beautiful and functional addition to your property.

Fence Staining & repairs

We offer over 80 color choices. We have listed some of the more popular choices here. We offer a variety of brands to suite our customers needs. Fence staining is a major part of our business. We offer stripping of old or unwanted stain to restore the wood back to its natural color. For gray fences we chemically remove the mold and mildew prior to staining. This makes for a much cleaner looking fence. Staining over a dirty fence is not recommended. We offer a variety of solid and semitransparent stains and we have been known to use other brand stains to accomodate our customers needs. Tell us what you want and we will get it done for you. We match or beat competitive quotes in most cases. Call us after you have your bids and let's talk numbers. We are very reasonable. Thank you. When is wood ready for stain? When it absorbs water. Place a drop of water on the wood, if it absorbs, call us. STAIN GUIDE * Clear - Used to waterproof. Lasts 6 mos if youre lucky. Not recommended. * Transparent - Wood grain very visible. Not much protection. Not recommended. * Semi-Transparent - Restores new wood look with medium color, showing wood grain and texture. Darker colors last longer. * Solid Color - Hides old, weathered wood with a solid color finish, such as paint. Click to View examples

Be advised that the finished results vary depending upon the manufacturer, the type, age, and condition of wood that the stain is applied to.

SEMI-TRANSPARENTS Ready Seal This chart contains colors for a very natural oil based stain, you will see all the wood grain. (Recommended on cedar. Excellent penetration.) 100 gold 012 natural cedar 005 light brown 015b medium brown 020 medium red 025b dark brown 030 dark red Wood Defender This brand is used well on reconditioned wood best with white wood, spruce, pine fences, etc. (Less opaque finish than the above brand.)







  • EXTREME CLIMATE FORMULA PLUS 10® Solid Color House & Fence Stain - An advanced exterior stain, combining the best features of oil and latex for superior color retention, adhesion, penetration and durability. It provides a film that is highly resistant to cracking, peeling, blistering, weathering, chalking and erosion. A transparent finish designed for exterior wood decks, fences, siding and patio furniture. Its penetrating oil formula with easy water clean-up combines the benefits of and oil-based finish with the ease and convenience of a water-based product. Silicone based technology enhances waterproofing protection and durability. BEHR PREMIUM WEATHERPROOFING WOOD FINISH offers UV protection, contains a mildewcide, and can be applied in temperatures as low as 40° F and to damp wood. When applied according to label instructions as described below, this product will protect wood from water damage for 4 years on horizontal surfaces, and 6 years on vertical surfaces. Color fading and slight natural graying of wood may occur during this period. A quality product that contains a mildewcide will assist in providing a finish that is resistant to mildew, provided that all existing mildew is removed prior to application. While this product does contain a mildewcide, it will not prevent mildew growth.


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