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.