Wood fences need periodic maintenance and staining to maintain the structural integrity of the wood and to keep it looking attractive. Because of the porosity of wood, fence stain wears away over time, leaving the wood a dull gray and unprotected to the elements. Dirt, pollen, mold spores and other undesirable microscopic materials can become embedded in a wood fence(s), causing the structure to break down more quickly and necessitating frequent replacement.
Applying fence stain is a preventative maintenance measure that will increase the life and the beauty of your wood fence. Before staining, check the fence for any rotted, broken or weak boards and replace them. Once this is accomplished, use a pressure washer or a garden hose to clean the boards thoroughly. Fence maintenance for extremely weathered wood can include sandblasting to restore some of the original color.
Let the fence dry completely before applying stain. Dry, warm days are ideal for drying wood and then applying stain. Staining the boards before they have a chance to dry out will seal moisture in, eventually causing the fence to warp, split or rot.
Most fences can be stained over one or two days. Avoid extreme temperatures and windy, cool weather for the best results. Apply with a sprayer, roller or brush in thin, even coats. Up to three coats may be necessary to get even coverage. Fences will last even longer when staining is followed by a coat of sealant. Some sealants are even mixed in with stain to further save time and money.