DIY/ painting

10 Tips for Staining a Fence

Here are 10 Tips for Staining a Fence that are simple, practical and helpful!  I hope it helps to make the job of staining your own fence just a little easier! 

This paint project is not a glamorous one…there’s just no way to spin it…staining a fence is a practical project, not a pretty one.  But it is a project that can have a big impact on your yard!  I’m sharing some simple fence staining tips I learned along the way, I hope you find them helpful!  But before we get started I wanted to show you our fence before I stained it…

Before Staining

We’ve been in our current home for almost 12 years now, and it has reached that point in time where many things are needing a refresh.  Our backyard fence was one of those things.  It had grown tired, faded and in desperate need of a pick me up, and a fresh new coat of stain was just the thing it needed.

10 Tips for Staining a Fence: BEFORE

Painting a fence is one of those jobs that can suck the life right out of you…it’s back breaking work, and takes time.  But when it’s done, it is well worth the effort it took to stain it.  I mean seriously, with the state of our fence as it was, anything would look better!

10 Tips for Staining a Fence: BEFORE

I was determined to get this job done because I just knew the end result would be worth it, and it was!  I’m so thrilled with how it looks now…hopefully we won’t have to stain it again for many years to come!

After Staining

10 Tips for Staining a Fence

Staining is SO worth the effort!

We are SO thrilled with the results…our fence looks brand new!  And all it took was a few days, one coat of paint and a lot of patience.  I just put in my earbuds, listened to music and got it done…I’m really relieved to have this project completed.

10 Tips for Staining a Fence

Our fence looks brand new!  What a huge impact on our garden space.  Having a fresh coat of stain on the fence has made our entire yard feel refreshed again.  I love it so much.

10 Tips for Staining a Fence

Just look at that colour!  I especially love it in the morning…it looks more cedar-red, and in the evening it looks more brown.

10 Tips for Staining a Fence

Our yard in the evening hours

We’re so happy with how it turned out.  Even though this was a tough job, it was SO worth it!

a frontal view of a brown fence with a string of lights across the top

To help make your job of staining the fence just a little easier, I thought that I would share a few tips I learned along the way!

10 Tips for Staining a Fence

  1. Tip #1:  Get someone else to do it because it’s the worst job everrrrr.  Just kidding.  You can do it…and it’s worth the savings to do it yourself.  But it is still the worst job everrrrr.
  2. Tip #2:  Do the Prep Work.  Make sure you take the time to clean your fence before you stain it.  Trust me on this.  You need to get out the hose or pressure washer and clean your fence because you do not want to be painting over spider webs and smearing dirt all over the place.  I opted to use the garden hose because our fence is about 14 years old and I didn’t want to blast it away with a pressure washer.
  3. Tip #3:  Use a good fence stain.  We used CIL Woodcare Canadian Wood Oil, in the colour Canadian Cedar, to stain our fence.  CIL Paints asked me if I was interested in trying out this new stain, and of course I did!  I have used CIL paint in many other spaces in our home so I was interested in their new fence stain.  And I have to tell you I was very impressed…the stain was easy to apply, and the best part is that it only requires one coat!  Now that is my kind of paint project, because when I’m painting an entire fence, I do not want to have to do more than one coat. This stain also provides UV & waterproofing protection, has a mildew and algae resistant coating, as well, it is urethane fortified for toughness.  So basically it should last for a long time.  We’re super impressed with this stain…our fence looks brand new (and it held up beautifully through a really long, harsh winter…I stained the fence last spring).  UPDATE: It’s now been 3 years since we stained the fence and it still looks freshly painted.)
  4. Tip #4: Let it dry between coats. If you need to apply a second coat, let it dry first! The great thing about the paint that we used, I only had to apply 1 coat which is a HUGE win…no one wants to paint a fence 2 times.
  5. Tip #5:  Use a good paint brush.  Buy a good quality brush for your staining.  If you need to, ask the staff at the paint counter for their recommendations.  If you spend the money on a good brush then you don’t have to worry about it blowing apart on your second fence panel! 😉
  6. Tip #6:  Don’t try to stain the fence all in one day.  You’ll just get overwhelmed.  I gave myself a goal to finish 2 panels of the fence each day, and if I felt like doing more then I would.  But I had to do 2 at a time.  This small, but impactful goal, made it easier to get this not-very-fun job done!
  7. Tip #7: Lay a drop cloth underneath the area you are painting.  This ensures that you don’t drip paint everywhere.  Move it along as you go.
  8. Tip #8: Keep a drip cloth handy.  I had a wet old rag with me for when I needed to quickly wipe up drips.
  9. Tip #9:  Watch the weather.  You don’t want to go to all the hard work of staining, only to have it washed away by rain!
  10. Tip #10:  If you share a fence, be mindful of where you paint.  We share a fence, so I had to be careful not to let the brush go too far in between the slats, as I didn’t want to slap paint onto their side.  I did paint in between the slats though, because they were worn as well, and if they weren’t painted you would have been able to see the colour difference next to the new paint…I was just careful.

That’s it!  10 simple tips to a beautiful, freshly stained fence.  You got this.

10 Tips for Staining a Fence

In case you missed my other Outdoor Projects:

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More Paint & Build-It Project Ideas!

If you’re looking for more paint & build-it project ideas, I hope you take some time to check out these posts from my blogger friends! So many ideas for everyone.

Satori Design for Living | Vinyet Etc. | The Happy Housie | The DIY Mommy

PMQ for Two | Clean and Scentsible | Finding Silver Pennies | Casa Watkins Living | So Much Better with Age

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Have an inspired day!

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    Jamie
    May 24, 2018 at 10:38 AM

    This looks great, Jo-Anna! My fence needs re-staining too and I’m not looking forward to it. This gives me hope though. Did you have to do any prep to the wood before brushing on the stain?
    Hugs, Jamie

  • Reply
    ariel
    May 24, 2018 at 4:04 PM

    Now THAT is ambitious! My hat is off to you. I don’t think I’d have the patience! hahaha

    Looks fabulous!

  • Reply
    Shauna
    May 24, 2018 at 5:50 PM

    I did ours back in 2011 and it took sooooo… long! Now we need to do it again, but I have 2 helpers this time. Most of it still looks pretty good, but the hail we’ve had the past couple of summers did a number on some parts. Discouraging! I’ll be using your tips this time around. Your fence looks great! So happy you could join in the OE this year 🙂

  • Reply
    Shelley
    May 25, 2018 at 2:12 PM

    This looks fantastic! We have been in our place for 13 yrs and ours could use it. We are a corner lot and 3/4 of our side fence is a city fence. Should contact the city of Calgary and see if we can stain over it. ….

  • Reply
    Danielle
    May 27, 2018 at 12:18 PM

    It looks fantastic!

  • Reply
    The Furnshop
    May 29, 2018 at 3:24 AM

    I liked these amazing ideas to staining a fence. Thanks for sharing the post.

  • Reply
    Max Sayer
    May 30, 2018 at 11:04 AM

    My fence in my yard is starting to get pretty old so I wanted to look up some options. I really appreciated how this article talked about watching the weather so that all of the hard work doesn’t get washed away. I will have to keep this in mind when I hire a company to work on my fence.

  • Reply
    Krista
    June 3, 2018 at 8:59 AM

    Yes! What a difference! Fantastic, Jo-Anna! And I’m sure it did require some patience… would not be my favourite job either – but so worth it!

  • Reply
    Robert
    May 4, 2019 at 3:28 PM

    Great job! That fence looks great! You are exactly right, though. Fence staining can be the worst job everrrrr. In our part of the country, College Station, Texas, there are a lot of fences. Our guys will do the job with a lot less effort. It will be professional and beautiful. Thanks and be safe!

  • Reply
    Valentino Moretti
    May 10, 2019 at 10:33 AM

    A stained fence can do wonders! It looks great! We live in an area with extreme heat so we are looking into staining our fence too as it has been bleached in areas by the sun…. Now the fun part os to choose which color/shade of stain!

  • Reply
    Bryan Ramirez
    April 16, 2020 at 6:19 PM

    I especially like tip #1–hire a good company, look at some satisfied customers fences and see how they did. Tip #5 though–exactly! Use a very good brush for fence staining meant for the type of stain you have chosen. In fact, get 2 so your spouse can help!

  • Reply
    Leander Fence Builder
    May 15, 2020 at 1:38 PM

    Great ideas it’s amazing thank you for sharing this. It helps a lot.

  • Reply
    Catherine
    March 2, 2021 at 5:00 AM

    Thanks for the tips. I am having someone do it for me. First pressure washing and then stain. My question is what color stain should I use? The man I hired says to use a cedar color, but it looks so dark. I have had my fence up for about 4 years, and had it stained a few months after it was put up. I completely forget what color stain I used. I really dont think it was ever that dark. I am leaning toward the clear.My husband wants the cedar. It is a big decision. any ideas?

    • Reply
      Jo-Anna Rooney
      March 2, 2021 at 3:36 PM

      Hi Catherine! It is a big decision! We put in a new deck this year and we had the same dilemma…the cedar colour seemed too dark and orange and I wanted clear. But when we went to find a clear outdoor wood stain we discovered that there really aren’t any, they all seem to have a slight cedar tint which we ended up really liking. The problem we have found one year later though, is the clear didn’t seem to ‘stick’ to the wood well. As for our fence, we painted it the darker colour…it’s actually more walnut than cedar, and it has held up amazingly for these past 3 years. Anyway, good luck!!

  • Reply
    Mari
    March 6, 2021 at 11:08 AM

    Thanks for the tips. Our fence looks new again!

  • Reply
    DIYPD Peter
    May 29, 2021 at 4:15 AM

    I have done it and i totaly agree with you. The worst job everrrrr!!! 😀

  • Reply
    Nic
    June 12, 2021 at 8:06 AM

    Thanks Jo-Anna,
    the prepping of the wood and the cloth for drips, were essential tips.
    my wood had a green algae growing that seemed to be hydrophobic but very powdery and easily scubbed off.
    gloves and drop cloths essential and used card sliped behind the wood where post met wall.
    So glad I checked here before starting. two panels and I was hungry and tired.

  • Reply
    Nic
    June 12, 2021 at 8:10 AM

    Now the wood looks new, rather then 10 years old. It drank in the stain. Although it seemed very vivid, once dry it mellowed in colour.
    I don’t think its the colour that’s striking so much as the uniformity of the colour.

  • Reply
    Angela Kinsley
    August 5, 2021 at 7:59 AM

    I would totally go for staining. It apparently adds more life span to your wood fence!

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