How to Stain and Seal Your Wood Fence


If you want a long-lasting and attractive fence, staining and sealing is a fantastic alternative to painting since it is less time-consuming and cost-effective.

Staining and sealing your wooden fence, whether it’s years old or brand new, will help it look better and improve the look while also extending the life of your fence. 

Here’s one of the best ways you can stain and seal your wood fence:

Step 1 – Find the right day for the job

Thermometer Sun Sky 40 Degres. Hot summer day. High Summer temperatures in degrees Celsius and Farenheit

Plan before you act, don’t be impulsive. Observe weekly weather forecasts for rain and storms. Monitor temperature and select a day between 50° and 80° f without rain for at least 3 days.

Weather can play a major role in the result, if the weather is too cold it will take a long time for the stain to dry and if the weather is too hot the stains will dry too quickly which can create lap marks on the fence.

Step 2 –  Preparing the wood

Precious wood texture. Of rustic aspect and dark, ocher, brown, toasted, black tones. The veins and knots are appreciated.

This step is one of the most important parts of staining and sealing. In this step, you will prepare the wood for staining:

Examine the wood

Here you will look for any imperfections in wood like cracks, nails holes, deformations, etc. Sand down any places that look to be excessively rough or that you feel may produce application problems. 

Take the time at the start of the job to thoroughly check the wood and deal with any damaged parts as soon as possible.

Previously stained or finished wood

If your fence is previously stained or finished, using a finish or stain stripper and stiff bristle brush remove the old coating. Apply wood stain or finish stripper according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Test if the stain will penetrate the wood

Lightly spray water on the fence. If water is not absorbed, sand the surface lightly. If the wood absorbs water, it indicates that the stain will properly penetrate the wood. 

Cleaning the wood

After the testing step you can use a pressure washer to clean the wood, this will remove mild to moderate dirt buildup and finish the job of the wood stain stripper in removing any old varnish from the fence. Make sure to let the wood dry out completely.

Repairing the wood

Look for gouges, cracks, or chips and fill them with wood filler.

Protect surrounding

Protect the surroundings that you don’t want to be dropped with stain and sealant. Cover plants with plastic sheets if you cannot find plastic sheets you can use cling film, remove furniture near the fence.

Step 3 – Staining the wood fence

Patio Steps Side View

You can completely stain wood with just a brush but, if you are not experienced with staining and painting generally have less dexterity with the brush, you can use rollers. You can also use a spray gun which will make this step very fast, using spray will also help avoid brush strokes marks. 

Things to remember:

  • For horizontal slats, use left to right brush strokes.
  • For vertical slates, use the top to bottom downstrokes.
  • When possible, always brush along the grains.
  • If you’re using a roller, apply the stain in two- to three-foot portions of the fence at a time, making sure to use a large brush to back-brush or re-paint over any exposed areas left by the preceding stroke. This will allow the stain to reach hard-to-reach crevices and nooks while also ensuring an even application without lap marks.
  • If you are using a spray, apply in two to three-foot portions and touch up with a brush when needed.

For recommended outdoor stains, check this article.

Step 4 – Let the stain dry

Allow the fence to dry according to the stain manufacturer’s recommendations once it has been stained all the way around. 

To obtain the required color depth, apply additional layers of the stain as needed. A single application should be adequate for a new wood fence or one that will also be sealed.
Depending on the humidity and weather in your location, the resting time should be at least 24 hours but might go up to 48 hours.

STEP 5 – Sealing the fence

Paintbrush in hand and painting on the wooden table.

While a good quality stain can protect your fence from everyday wear and tear, sealing it with a powerful sealer will assist to extend the finish’s life and your fence’s. Use a brush, roller, or sprayer to apply a single coat of clear, weatherproof sealant for best results.

If you are confused about which sealer to choose you can get some ideas from here.

STEP 6 – Maintaining your fence

Every year or two depending on the condition you will need to clean the wood to remove dirt, moss, and mildew.
After scraping off any dirt, mildew, and moss clean the fence with a pressure washer. You can also use
high-quality deck cleaners to quickly remove grime and mildew stains.

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