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How to Restain Wood Fences? 

Whether you have an older wood fence that’s looking faded or a new one that’s been abused, restaining is an excellent way to restore it. Staining protects the wood from rain, sun and rot, while restoring its natural color and enhancing its beauty. Besides, many types of wood stain are guaranteed to last for two or five years. 

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Preparing for Staining

First, be sure to clean the fence thoroughly, and then let it dry at least 24 hours. The fence needs time to open up so that the stain can penetrate more deeply into the wood and absorb more of the desired color. A pressure washer is ideal, but you can also use a garden hose. 

Make sure the area is free of all vegetation and grass, as well as any other objects that could get in the way when you’re applying the stain. Then, lay down a tarp or old sheet to protect the area you’re working on from overspray and splatter. If you’re using a sprayer, be sure to wear safety glasses and a dust mask to avoid overspray in your eyes or accidentally inhaling it. 

Choose a Stain that Works for You

Before you can decide which stain to use, test it on a small, hidden section of the fence to see how it looks. Look for a semitransparent oil stain that contains ultraviolet inhibitors to slow down bleaching by the sun and a mildewcide to prevent fungal growth. Most stains come in a wide variety of colors and opacities to fit your fence’s overall design. 

Apply the Stain to the Fence Slats

Enlist a brush, roller or sprayer to apply the stain to the slats of your fence. For cedar, a 9-inch roller with a 3/4-inch nap is ideal for filling in the porous surface and fully saturating it with the stain. For a solid-color stain, a wide brush will allow you to cover uncovered areas and create an even coat. 

Work the stain into two- to three-foot sections of the fence at a time, taking care to back-brush or re-paint over any uncovered areas. Be careful not to apply too much stain at one time, as that can cause lap marks. 

Once the slats are covered, allow the stain to dry according to the stain manufacturer’s directions. You may need to apply multiple coats if you want to achieve the depth of color you desire. 

If you’re staining a wood fence that was painted, consider stripping the paint before starting the process. This will make the job a lot easier and less messy. You can use a stain stripper such as Thompson’s WaterSeal Maximum Strength Deck Stripper, which is designed to remove multiple types of fence paint and varnish. 

Applying the Stain to the Fence Slats

Depending on your stain, you should be able to apply the stain to your wood fence in a single day. However, if you’re dealing with a large fence, it can take a few days to do the whole thing.