Home> How To Deck Tips> How to Stain a Cedar Fence




A cedar fence is a thing of beauty that can add value to any property. But without proper maintenance, the beautiful natural look of the cedar will take on a faded gray appearance. Staining a new cedar fence can help preserve its natural beauty while staining an older cedar fence can help bring it back to life. In either case, a cedar fence needs to have a protective finish to shield it from the harsh elements of Mother Nature.

When choosing a stain for a cedar fence, consider a semi-transparent penetrating stain. This type of stain will penetrate the cedar to block out moisture while the pigment will help block out damaging ultraviolet rays. The opacity of this type of stain will also help to enhance the natural beauty of the cedar.

The cedar fence stain will perform best when applied to a clean surface. Regardless of the fence’s age, strip away any dirt, grime, or surface graying using a wood cleaner. Wash the cedar fence with a scrub brush or pressure washer. Work in small sections at a time. Notice how the fence lightens up as you clean it. Once a section does not lighten up anymore move on to the next section. Do not use excessive pressure or the wood can be damaged.

After cleaning is complete, apply a wood brightener/neutralizer. This does several things to prep the surface for stain. It corrects the pH level of the wood, opens wood pores to accept stain, and brings out the wood’s natural colors. Brightening after cleaning is an important step that should not be skipped. Simply apply the brightener as directed then rinse. Allow the cedar fence to dry for 1-2 days before applying a weather resistant cedar fence stain.

Check the weather to be sure it is ideal for staining. Recommended air temperatures should be between 45-95 degrees. It should not drop below freezing within 8 hours after staining. No rain should be expected within 12 hours after staining. Try not to apply stain in direct sunlight. This can cause flash drying and give you an inconsistent finish.

Protect anything you do not want to get stain on such as plants, house siding, concrete, etc. Using a brush, roller, or type of sprayer start on one end of the fence. Apply only enough stain as the wood can soak up. Stain one board at a time before moving to the next. This helps to eliminate unsightly lap marks. Continue this method until the cedar fence staining is complete.

It is necessary to repeat this process every 3-4 years or as needed to maintain the look of the cedar fence. This will provide year round protection from weather and keep your cedar fence glowing with beauty. Learning how to stain a cedar fence is a good skill that can save you money and give you the satisfaction of maintaining your own investment.

Comments (6)

Subscribe to this comment's feed

Ask a Question or Write Review

smaller | bigger
security image
Write the displayed characters

Show/hide comments
cedar fence and deck
Hi, we have finally finished a cedar deck/fence project and are now ready for staining. We were told to let the cedar weather for a year but the fence is new this year. We are now in the fall and ready to stain but are concerned with it being so late in the year. Should we let the fence weather and stain all of it in the spring? Make a mad dash to stain it all before winter hits?...Looking at your article, you mention only needing to ensure it doesn't reach freezing temps for 8 hours. We live in Northern British Columbia.
Thank you!
Tracey Hannam , September 14, 2016
Look at the Armstrong Clark:


You can add to cart the amount needed and at checkout it will show the shipping cost and province taxes.
TheSealerStore , August 03, 2016

We have a 2 years old cedar fence which the contractor recommended to not stain for at least 1 year. We had many problems with that contractor and now there are 2 years and we did not stain our fence. We already cleaned it up (especially because of the gray color, using Penofin 2 and 3) and now it looks... close to new. We are completely confused on what stain to use. We would like something semi-transparrent, oil based, color cedar. What do you recommend? Weather is pushing us to finish the work fast and the only (better quality) stain we found around us is Sikkens Proluxe Cetol SRD. Is it very bad and if yes, what would you recommend instead and how much would cost per gallon, how much would cost transport/delivery, and how long will take to get it? We live in Coquitlam, BC. Thanks, Andrei
Andrei Tenea , August 02, 2016
drying after cleaning & before brightening
I have a fairly long cedar fence. Would it be okay for the fence to dry after cleaning and before applying the brightener/neutralizer? Or should the wood remain wet between these steps?
Carb Addict , March 21, 2015
All orders from Canada must be placed over the Internet. We do not take orders over the phone from there. For questions you can use 248-858-8900
TheSealerStore , June 11, 2014
do you deliver to Canada
can you provide a phone number that works from Ontario, Canada ? Looking to buy the Armstrong Clark Wood Stain / wood cleaner and wood brightener
kevin beitz , June 11, 2014



Join Our Mail List!

Subscribe for Product Tips, Info and Periodic Coupons!