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    How to stain a fence

    Summary: Learn how to prepare a fence, stain a wood fence and protect a fence from bad weather.

    Wooden fences require maintenance every 2 or 3 years to keep them in a reasonable state. Over time the elements will break down the structure of the wood, and decay will set in. Protection for the timber is widely available and will increase the life of the fencing hugely.

    Staining a fence

    The wide variety of branded wood stain with the extensive colour range can make choosing not quite as simple as you may have anticipated. Do not forget that wood stain is firstly there to protect wood; looking good is of less importance.

    • Before embarking on this DIY project, check the weather forecast for the next 48 hours as the fence will be vulnerable for this time period. If poor weather is expected, do not start.
    • Your choice of application method is up to you and may depend on what tools you have access to. The three common approaches are to stain using a brush, roller or spray gun. Although a spray gun is a more recent method and may seem like a novelty, it is not always as thorough as using a brush in hand.
    • Prepare the area around where you will be working, first. Protect any plants, grass or areas you do not want stained with old sheets or tarps.
    • Any damaged or rotten fence parts should be replaced as wood stain will not rectify or make the timber stronger. It only protects from future weather damage.
    • Once you are ready to begin, wash the fence thoroughly. Use a power washer to remove initial dirt if you can. Alternatively a stiff brush and water will suffice. Any remaining dirt can be cleaned with warm water and soap.
    • For any parts of the timber affected with mould growth (the green or black soft patches) you should mix equal parts of water and bleach. Using gloves, scrub the timber in the required areas.
    • The last preparatory job before applying the wood stain is to sand the timber completely. It is best to use a power sander as this is quicker and easier than sanding by hand.
    • Now you can coat the fence with the stain of choice. You may want to test the wood stain you have purchased on a small patch of the fence before you start fully to check if the colour is desirable.
    • Now apply the stain, brushing (if using brush or roller) in the direction of the grain. If using a brush, use small, even strokes. You will need to use 3 coats before your fence is fully protected. Wait for the stain to dry before applying each coat.

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