Selecting and Applying Cedar Fence Stain

What You'll Need
Deck cleaner solution
Stiff bristle push broom
Large pail or tray enough for a broom
Scrubbing brush
Rubber gloves
Garden hose with spray nozzle
Wood stain and sealer

Whether you are installing a new cedar fence or you want to improve the appearance and protection from the elements, you will want to apply a cedar fence stain. With all the damaging UV from the sun and seasonal weather conditions, a cedar fence can lose its natural protection oils and will look weathered. An application of a stain will give your fence a newer look and be protected from the elements.

There are different types of products for fence staining; some have different oil bases and different UV protection. A linseed based stain will replace natural oils in the wood for lasting protection. Stain is also available in different shades and colors. A wood fence with a natural wood color is usually the most appealing look.

There are also stains with additives to prevent fungus and mildew growth. If the fence is in a heavily shaded area or faces north, this additive will help protect the fence due to the lack of sunshine to dry the surface.

Note: if this is a newly installed fence, it should be already clean.

Step 1 – Clean Fence

Mix the deck cleaner in the pail or deep pan per instructions on the package. Dip the broom into the solution and scrub the fence well to remove all the surface dirt. Use of the scrub brush is good for hard to reach areas.  Place the tarp over flower beds to protect from damage of the cleaning solution.

With a strong spray, rinse the fence thoroughly. Reapply deck cleaner on any areas that still show dirt or surface debris.

Step 2- Applying Stain

Wear a protective covering or old clothes and rubber gloves during the application. Stain pigment is very difficult to wash out and will also stain your skin and can take a few days to wash out. First lay down the tarp on the ground before starting to apply stain. This will protect your lawn or flower beds. Make sure the stain is fully mixed to incorporate the pigment with the oil base. During the application process, the pigments can settle so mix occasionally during application to keep the pigment evenly distributed in the base.

Make sure the stain is rated for outdoor use. With the use of the brush, apply an even coat of stain over the fence surface. Work in small areas to apply evenly before progressing to the next area. After you have completed staining the fence, the surface where started should be dry for second coat.

Step 4 – Reapply

If you want a darker color, you might want to apply a third coat. It is best for fence to have a natural color, so do not add too much stain to darken too deeply. If there are too many stain applications, the wood might saturate with the oil penetration and will not hold more additional stain. This will leave a wet stain covering that will rub off if touched.