How to Apply Water Seal to a Wooden Fence


Water sealing a wooden fence is an easy way to make your home more attractive. A fence that has had water seal applied will look better and last longer than an unprotected fence. Even pressure treated wooden fences can benefit from being water sealed. According to Ron Hazelton, host of TV's HouseCalls, sealers come in both clear and tinted varieties, allowing you to create various effects. Apply water seal to a wooden fence using a basic paint roller and brushes available at any hardware store.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper
  • Water seal
  • Paint roller
  • Paintbrush
  • Sand all splintered areas of the fence until smooth. Remove all stamps and grade marks from the wood. The inks used in marking the wood will not absorb the water seal correctly, and failing to sand off these marks will leave areas of the fence unprotected.

  • Dust off the fence using a broom. Dirt and sawdust that remain on the fence will cause problems when you start to apply the water seal.

  • Open and stir the water seal. Stir the sealer thoroughly, but try not to form bubbles in the sealer if possible. Never shake a can of water seal, as this will always cause bubbles to form.

  • Apply a thin coat of sealer to a small section of the wooden fence using the paint roller. Be sure to watch for drips and work the sealer into the wood well. Apply the water seal in small sections to make sure it absorbs correctly. Use an extension handle on the paint roller to reach difficult areas.

  • Use the paintbrush to fill in edges between boards of the fence where the roller cannot reach. You can also use the brush along the top of the fence where the end grain of the wood is exposed. Be aware of drips and runs in the water seal here as well.

  • Allow the fence to dry. Apply additional sealer to sections of the fence where the seal appears to be thin.

Tips & Warnings

  • Apply a second coat of sealer to the entire fence if necessary. Two thin coats absorbed into the wood correctly are better than a single thick coat.
  • Don't apply water seal to a wooden fence in direct sunlight if possible. If the seal dries too quickly, it won't absorb into the wood correctly.

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  • Photo Credit wooden fence image by sparkia from
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