How Do You Stain an Old Wooden Fence?


Quick Answer

There are many ways to stain an old fence, but the Family Handyman recommends renewing the fence with a power washer and semitransparent exterior oil stain. This project takes multiple days and requires a power washer, a paint roller, a paintbrush and oil stain.

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Full Answer

  1. Power wash the fence

    Use a 1,500 or 2,000 PSI power washer to spray the fence approximately 18 inches away from the wood's surface. The Family Handyman recommends making two or three passes until the fence no longer changes color due to surface stripping. Use caution during this task; wood can erode and get damaged if too much pressure is used.

  2. Make basic repairs

    Replace or fix loose or damaged boards as necessary. Split boards can be fixed with waterproof glue, and loose boards can be pulled together using corrosion-resistant screws. Use a wood preservative to cover areas that are prone to rotting, such as the posts near the ground.

  3. Allow the fence to dry fully

    Give the fence at least 24 hours to dry. If the weather is cool or humid, an additional day might be necessary.

  4. Apply the stain

    Use a semitransparent oil stain to seal the wood and preserve its natural grain patterns. The Family Handyman recommends using a stain that contains ultraviolet inhibitors to prevent sunlight damage. Apply the stain with a covered paint roller, and use a paintbrush to work the stain into corners and areas the roller cannot reach. Allow the wood to soak in as much stain as possible. Stain generally needs to be reapplied within three years.

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