Maintaining wooden fences is a common challenge for homeowners.
After all, fencing is a significant investment, and you want it to look good and last as long as possible.
Staining your fence is a great option to do this, especially given Alberta’s harsh winters.
There are several key things to know before staining your fence.
Here are some tips and insights so your wooden fencing continues to provide curb appeal and increase your property value for years to come.
What to Know Before Staining Your Fence
Before staining your fence, it’s important to realize this shouldn’t be a spur-of-the-moment project.
Instead, you’ll want a clearly defined plan of action to achieve the best results.
1. Before Beginning Your Staining Project
Due to weather and temperature variations, wooden fences gradually deteriorate.
While stain has a higher initial cost than paint, it is more durable.
Plus, if you want the “white picket fence” look, you can use a white stain.
Before you stain your wooden fence, you’ll need to prep and clean it.
Identify and replace any missing wood and broken or extruding screws, nails, or staples.
Then, after sanding down any rough spots, use a wood cleaner to ensure the most effective stain application.
2. Checking the Forecast Before Staining
Staining your fence during the right weather conditions is key.
Before you apply any stain or sealer, your fence needs to be free from moisture for at least 24-48 hours after cleaning it.
The best temperature range for applying stain is 10-32 degrees Celsius with 21 degrees being optimal.
Don’t stain wood when the temperature is over 32 degrees as it will dry too quickly and create splotches.
If the humidity is below 30%, each application of stain will require roughly 12 hours to dry.
If the humidity is 60% or higher, it could take 24-36 hours for each coat to dry.
3. Choosing the Right Stain
There are four basic types of stain for wooden fences:
- Solid colour
- Clear toner
Depending on what kind of wooden fence you have such as redwood, pine, cedar, birch, oak, or pressure-treated lumber, these are the questions to ask when buying stain:
- Is it oil- or water-based?
- How many coats will typically need to be used?
- How often will it need to be reapplied?
4. Deciding on a Sealer
You may want to apply a sealer by itself or after staining for greater protection.
Both options have the same goal: wood preservation.
A clear sealant will look particularly good on cedar fencing and maintain its natural colour.
Questions to ask when buying sealer include:
- Does it use lacquer, polyurethane, or shellac?
- What level of ultraviolet (UV) protection does it provide?
- How frequently will it need to be reapplied?
5. Setting Goals For Yourself
As you can see, staining your fence is not a one-day project. Here is a general timeline to follow:
- Day 1: Repair and clean fence.
- Day 3: Apply 1-2 coats of stain.
- Days 4-5: Apply additional coats of stain as necessary.
In addition, before beginning a fence staining project, you’ll need to consider any applicable homeowner association guidelines.
Being a good neighbour also means letting the neighbours you share a fence with know your plans ahead of time.
Need Some Help?
You might decide that staining your wooden fence is more than you want to do on your own.
Nonetheless, it’s still important to ensure the longevity of your fencing.
In the end, using fencing professionals for this could be the right choice.