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How to Stain a Cedar Fence? 

You can use wood stain to enhance the appearance of a cedar fence. Staining is a good way to preserve the natural beauty of cedar, and it also helps protect the wood from moisture, ultraviolet rays, and fungi. 

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Choosing a Stain for Your Cedar Fence

Whether you’re building a new cedar fence, or simply bringing an older one back to life, you’ll want to choose a color and type of stain that’s right for your needs. For example, oil-based stains offer better penetrating qualities than water-based stains and are also more resistant to wear. They can be applied on either red or white cedar, and allow the grain to show through. They are also more durable than other stains, so you’ll likely be able to restain them more frequently. 

When You Should Stain a New Cedar Fence?

If you’re building a new fence from kiln-dried wood, it’s recommended that the boards dry out for at least four months before you stain them. If you’re using treated lumber, it may be necessary to wait six months or more before applying a stain. 

Cleaning Your New Cedar Fence

Before you apply the stain, it’s important to first clean and brighten the boards. You can do this by pressure washing them or using a fence cleaner formula to remove surface dirt and debris. 

After cleaning, you should also be sure to dry the fence. This will help the stain to penetrate the wood fibers and protect them from moisture and UV rays. 

Start with a brush or roller and work from the bottom up, ensuring that you get even coverage over the entire fence. Avoid the temptation to apply too much stain or you will end up with unsightly lap marks on your fence. 

Spraying Your Cedar Fence

You can use a paint sprayer or a handheld HVLP (high volume, low pressure) sprayer to apply the stain to the fence. Hold the nozzle about 18 inches away from the fence and move it slowly, vertically, going with the wood’s grain. 

Be careful not to hold the nozzle for too long or it will overspray. A high-quality brush or roller will make the process much easier and less time-consuming. 

Watch the Weather Before Staining Your Cedar Fence.

If the weather forecast calls for a chance of rain during your staining, be sure to plan ahead and choose an alternative day or two to stain the fence. The stain will start drying as soon as it’s applied, but it can take up to 4 hours for the stain to be completely dry enough to withstand rain. 

Depending on the type of stain you’re using, the weather can affect its drying time and effectiveness. Some stains will dry faster in full sunlight, while others will take longer to completely dry out. 

If you’re not sure which stain is best for your fence, or if the weather will impact your staining project, consider buying samples of each type of stain and using them on a small sample piece of the fence before applying it to your full-sized fence. These samples are easy to bring with you and will save you time when you’re comparing different products.