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How Long to Wait Before Staining Your Pressure-Treated Wood Fence?

You want your new wood fence to look nice, but you’re also concerned about the long-term effects of its chemical treatment. Unlike natural wood, pressure-treated wood is vulnerable to mold, mildew, and other stains, as well as the sun’s UV rays that can cause discoloration, fading, warping, and other issues. 

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You’ll want to give your wood the best chance of resisting deterioration and protecting it from these problems, so you should wait a few weeks or even months before staining or sealing it. The length of time to wait can depend on the type of wood you have and the climate in your area. 

When to Stain Your Pressure-Treated Fence?

Before you begin your staining project, you need to ensure that the surface of your fence is free of fungi and other dirt. This can prevent the stain from sticking properly to the wood and give it a clean, even finish. 

To make sure that the wood is clean, use a deck cleaner on the surface of your fence, scrubbing it with a brush and rinsing it thoroughly afterward. If you have any painted or varnished areas, use a wood stripper to remove the old coating before reapplying the cleaning product. 

Once your wood is clean, it’s ready to be stained or sealed. You’ll need a good quality water-based wood stain, preferably one designed for use on pressure-treated wood. You can have the hardware store mix it for you, or just shake it well at home. Be sure to stir frequently as you apply the stain, as lumps can impede the application process. 

If you live in a climate where the temperature can be cold, you’ll need to wait longer for your wood to dry out. Typically, you’ll need to wait for the wood to reach a moisture content of 19 percent or lower before you can start working with it. 

When to Test the Moisture Level of Your Wood?

The most common way to determine if your wood is completely dry is to conduct a “sprinkle test.” Sprinkle a few beads of water onto a flat section of your wood and see if it absorbs into the wood immediately. If it beads up, the wood is too wet and needs to be dried out before applying the stain or sealer. 

You can also check the moisture content of your wood by using a moisture meter to get a reading. This is critical because moisture levels that are too low can lead to the formation of mold and other rot-related problems. 

How to Prep Your Wood Before Staining or Sealing It?

To ensure that your new wood fence is ready for staining, it’s important to give it plenty of time to dry out. Depending on the type of wood you have and the environment in your region, it can take several weeks or even months to fully dry out. 

When your fence is dry, you’ll need to stain or seal it so it can protect it from the elements and prevent rotting mold, and other problems. A good quality stain or sealer will enhance the look of your fence and prolong its lifespan, too.