How to Apply Fence Stain


Wood fences require protection because they are exposed to sun, rain and wind. These elements cause rot and corrosion over time. A stain protects the wood and extends the fence's life. Staining a fence is a simple task that anyone with basic home improvement skills will complete in about a weekend. There are several ways to stain a wood fence. The most effective is to use a roller and outdoor stain.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Stiff-bristle brush
  • Household cleaner
  • Plastic tarp
  • Paint or stain roller, 3/4-inch nap
  • Metal roller tray
  • Clean the fence surface thoroughly with water, using a garden hose. Remove all dirt from the surface of the wood. If necessary, use a stiff-bristle brush and household cleaner to clean tough stains. Rinse the fence with clean water after using any chemical or soap.

  • Spread a plastic tarp along the ground near the fence where you will begin painting. Place a roller tray on the tarp and fill the tray with your choice of fence stain. Do not thin the stain with paint thinner or water.

  • Roll the roller through the stain in the tray several times, covering the entire width and surface of the roller. Apply the stain to the fence by rolling the roller over the surface of the fence. Make long strokes with the roller, overlapping each to blend the strokes together. Reload the roller as needed to stain the entire fence. Allow the initial coat of stain to dry completely for 12 to 24 hours or as instructed on your stain label.

  • Apply another coat of stain to your fence, using the roller. Cover the entire fence and repeat this process until the wood is thoroughly protected. Two to three coats are usually required to complete a fence-staining project.

Tips & Warnings

  • Stain your fence during sunny weather where there is no threat of rain.
  • Allow up to two weeks for the fence stain to completely cure.
  • Temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit are best for applying most stains.
  • Wood fences that are more porous will require more stain.

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  • Photo Credit Wood fence image by palmer530 from
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