How to Make a New Wood Fence Look Old

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  • 2-8 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Wire brush
Water hose
Old rags
Gray stain
Clear wood preservative (for outdoor wood)

A new wood fence adds value to your home. To make it look as though it has been a long-time fixture, follow the steps below to make it look old. This does require some elbow grease, and the time it takes will depend upon how much fence you need to treat.

Step 1 - Rough Up the Wood

Use a wire brush and go over all of the wood surface. Be sure to do both sides so you get a uniform finish. Brushing the wood with the brush causes the wood grain to stand out. After you have done both sides—as well as the gate, if it is made of wood—get out your water hose and rinse the wood. This will remove any loose debris caused by the brushing. Allow it to completely dry, and you are ready to start applying the old and weathered-looking finish.

Step 2 - Apply the Stain

tab topped wood fencing

Shake the can of stain to be sure it is mixed well. Remove the lid and begin applying stain to one small area at a time on your wood fence. After you have applied the stain, take one of the old rags and rub the stain in, while removing a lot of it at the same time. This will give your fence a weathered, old barn-look once dry. Repeat this process on both sides of the fence.

While allowing the fence to dry, clean your paintbrush. If you notice the stain is too heavy on the wood, you can lightly sand it to remove the heavy areas. You will then be ready for the next step, which is protecting the wood stain finish.

Step 3 - Preserve the Finish

Again using your paintbrush, apply a coat of clear wood preservative to the entire fence, on both sides. This will protect the stain finish, and protect the wood from rain and other harmful elements. To keep your fence in good condition, reapply a preservative every one to two years.