The key to a long-lasting and attractive fence is all in the finish. Wood is prone to weathering, which fades the color and will eventually cause the wood to rot and break down. By staining the fence boards regularly, you provide a protective coat that prevents moisture from penetrating into the wood and destroying it. Further, the stain evens out the color of the fence boards so they always look attractive and newly installed.

How Often Should a Fence Be Stained?

Staining frequency depends on two factors: how exposed is the fence and what is the local climate. The stain will fade more quickly on a fence that is fully exposed to wind, sun, and rain. The stain is also more likely to wear away in hot dry climates or in areas with high humidity. The best way to determine when to stain your fence is to look at it. If the stain is wearing off, looking patchy, or peeling, then it needs to be restained. Further, the fence requires staining if moisture soaks into the wood instead of beading up.

Does the Fence Require Preparation Before Staining?

You will need to fully clean the fence to make sure the stain soaks in properly. Pressure washing at a low-pressure setting removes dirt, old stain, moss, and algae from the fence boards. Once clean, inspect the fence for any damage. Replace any rotted or otherwise damaged pickets. This is also a good time to check hardware and nails. You can drive in loose nails, replace missing nails, and make sure gate hardware is lubricated and in good working order.

What Kind of Stain Must Be Used?

Any type of exterior wood stain is suitable, but for the best outcome opt for a stain formulated for use on fencing. These stains are typically designed to provide UV resistance, which will help extend the life of the fence. It's also a good idea to opt for a waterproof stain.

Are There Landscaping Concerns With Stain?

You don't want to get the stain on your landscape plants, so it's a good idea to cover the ground with a dropcloth. Plants growing right up against the fence can also get in the way of the process. Trim back plants so they no longer touch the fence, and use a trellis to hold them back as necessary. Not only will this make staining easier, putting space between plants and the fence will help prolong the life of the fence.

Contact a fence staining contractor if you have more questions.