How to Treat Cedar Fence Boards


It is said that good fences make for good neighbors, but a fence that is faded, peeling or falling apart is just bad. Cedar is one of the most popular fence materials, because it is naturally resistant to insects and wood rot. Cedar board fencing also tends to swell and shrink much less than other kinds of wood. Even so, it is occasionally necessary to treat cedar fences. Whether you are trying to maintain cedar boards or restore old cedar, you can have your fence looking new again in no time.

Things You'll Need

  • Twine or plastic zip ties
  • Power washer; 1500 to 2000 psi
  • 25-degree spray tip
  • Water
  • Trisodium phosphate de-greaser
  • Screwdriver
  • Corrosion-resistant screws
  • Waterproof glue
  • Wood preservative
  • Exterior semi-transparent oil stain
  • Roller
  • Brush
  • Use twine or plastic zip ties to tie back any plants or vines that are between you and your fence.

  • Fill a power washer that is no stronger than 2000 psi (pounds per square inch) with water. Add trisodium phosphate degreaser, diluting it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Plug in the power washer and turn it on.

  • Hold the power washer about 18 inches away from the fence and sweep it back and forth in gentle arcs. Work from the top down, and do not stay in one spot too long. Continue until the entire fence is clean.

  • Use non-corrosive screws to tighten any loose fence boards, because they will hold better than nails. Apply waterproof glue to any split boards, and treat the fence posts and the bottom of your fence boards with a wood preservative.

  • Let the fence dry completely for at least 24 hours. If you are treating cedar fence boards in a cold or damp climate, let them dry for 48 hours.

  • Use a roller to apply a thick coat of exterior semi-transparent oil stain to your cedar boards. Go over the area with a brush to work the stain into the wood, and to reach into any small corners and crevices.

  • Let the stain dry according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, and apply a second coat if you feel it is necessary.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clean and treat your cedar boards every three to five years to keep your fence looking new.
  • Do not place sprinkler heads too close to your fence, or you risk rotting the wood.
  • Don’t allow vines to climb the fence; place trellises between the fence and vines, or the extra weight can warp the boards.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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