How to Stain Your Fence: Tips & Tricks

how to stain a fence

A well-maintained fence is visible for your property and is vital to guarding your outdoor space. Staining a fence is more than just a visual upgrade. Staining your fences is a reward that diminishes homes from their discoloration and rotting over time. 

Beyond the cosmetic benefits, staining is a crucial shield against the elements, protecting the wood from sunlight, moisture, and the wear and tear of time. Whether you’re looking to revitalize an existing fence or add the finishing touch to a newly installed one, the process of staining involves a series of steps that, when done right, can elevate the overall appeal and longevity of your outdoor structure.

What you need to stain your fence:



  • High-pressure Nozzle
  • Paintbrush or Paint Sprayer
  • Stir Stick or Stirring Attachment
  • Drop Cloths or Tarps
  • Paint Tray or Bucket
  • Paint Roller (optional)


  • Wood Stain
  • Wood Cleaner or Brightener
  • Sandpaper or Sanding Block
  • Protective Gear
  • Masking Tape or Plastic Sheets (optional)

When Is it Important to Stain Your Fence? 

When to stain your fences, mark your calendar for the late spring or early fall months. Why? Because when temperatures are medium and not very high, you can dry the stain evenly and rapidly. If you plan to stain in winter, drop it now. It is not recommended during winter because the low temperatures can interfere with the process. 

plan to stain on good weather days
  • Check the weather before the rain changes your plans! Always check the weather, as you can stain your fences unevenly. Also, it is essential to check the humidity as the stain can dry than expected earlier. Aim for a temperature of 50°F to 90°F and moisture that is around 60%. Staining in other weather conditions can affect the whole process of your fences. 
  • Avoid direct sunlight; it is better when the sun does not overheat directly on the fences. After applying the initial coat, be patient and wait until the afternoon to apply the second coat. Another important tip and trick is related to whether you have new fences. In this case, you must wait a few weeks before staining as the wood needs to acclimate its oil and settle. Then, you can stain your newly settled fences. 

If you have previously stained fences, and they are peeling or fading, then it is time for a new application. At the end of the process, remember to check the moisture content. Having 15% or lower moisture is recommended for optimal stain absorption.

Do not forget to check the manufacturer’s instructions on the stain product you like to use. It is a helpful tip because it provides specific guidelines for the drying and application temperatures and times. 

Necessary Tools for Staining Your Fences 

Staining your fences requires the right tools and materials to ensure practical application and a smooth process.

High-pressure nozzle

Pressure water with a high-pressure nozzle to clean your fences from old stains, dirt, and debris. This is the first tool you need to ensure proper stain adhesion. Use the bristle brush in case the pressure water misses the tough spots. Additionally, use the wood cleaner and mild detergent to clean the fences before staining. This will be finished after removing the pressure water, making the process smooth. 

Drop cloths

Drop cloths are essential to protect the surrounding areas. Covering grass, plants, and other surfaces from drips and splatters is vital. Start by covering the ground with drop cloths to protect the surroundings and have more accessible and faster cleanup. 

Painter’s tape

Painter’s tape is crucial for the walls and posts to protect structures from unintended staining. The paintbrush is an additional item for specific painting. Include the sandpaper for any rough spots on the fence to create a smooth surface. The type of sandpaper depends on the conditions of the wood. 

Roller & tray

The roller and tray are essential for evenly applying stain to a larger surface. It depends on how you apply to the fences. Also, wear protective goggles, gloves, and clothes to protect yourself from cleaning and staining. 

Plastic gloves

Plastic gloves are essential to protect your hands during the staining process of your fences. Use disposable gloves as they will not be needed for another efficient use. Use containers and buckets to hold the stain, make the application manageable, and protect the surrounding. Take the ladder. The ladder is essential for you if the fence is multiple levels or has a higher height than you, then you can use a ladder for complete coverage.

How to Stain Your Fence

Wood fences are popular for homeowners to blend beauty and functionality. The natural beauty of wood gives it an excellent material for crafting fences and makes it more visible. Wood fences are one of the most appreciated designs and fencing for making your home look beautiful. Start by exploring the diverse landscape of wood fence styles by adding more architectural fitness to your outdoor spaces. 

Step 1: Prepare The Surrounding 

prepare the surroundings before proceeding with stain fencing

Trim plants, mow the lawn, and pick debris before proceeding with stain fencing. 

By taking your time to prepare the surroundings, you ensure a successful fence-staining project. This preparation protects the area and contributes to a professional and polished result. 

Step 2: Remove Minor Repairs 

Check for any screws or nails that are on the boards. Use the necessary tools to replace any broken, loose or screws. By taking this step, you ensure that any broken or unmanageable boards are replaced. 

Step 3: Sand Rough Spots 

Sand the rough spots by using sandpaper to make the fence with a smooth surface. Ensure you use the tools to remove the stain or the top layer of the paint. 

Step 4: Begin Staining in Sections 

how to stain a fence

Start with applying the stain from top to bottom using a brush. If you use the roller, dip it into the tray with the stain and in the fence with long and even strokes. If you use a sprayer, always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and cover nearby surfaces. Wear appropriate protective gear. 

To make it easier, divide the fence into sections to ensure coverage evenly. Do not leave visible lines between sections. 

After the first coat is dry, you can apply the second coat for a more vibrant color. This is optional. 

Step 5: CleanUp 

In the end, check for any forgotten spots that need to be touched before the end of the process. After the staining of the fences, the process takes about two to three hours to touch and 24-48 hours for the complete cure. When everything is finished, clean up and remove the painter’s tape, drop cloths, and all other tools. 

When to Seek Professional Assistance 

Remember that staining the fence can be a DIY project, but it can be a complex procedure that needs the expertise of professionals. What can make you seek professional assistance?

Extensive repairs & damages 

Having fences with significant damages and structural structures causes your staining process to be consulted with a professional. Experts can assess the damage and recommend all the repairs before the procedure.

Larger Fencing Structures  

If you have a small fence, you can manage by yourself. In the case of larger and more complex fencing structures, you need professional skills in handling complete and ensuring even application of the stain. 

Limited Time & Budget 

Consider your schedule and time requirements for the proper fence preparation and staining. The budget for staining the fences professionally differs. Hiring a professional can save you time and money if you have a limited time and budget. 

Staining Techniques 

Having certain fence materials or designs may require professional expertise. Professional expertise can bring the necessary skills if you are dealing with a specific type of wood or design. 

Long-Lasting Finish

Achieving a professional-grade finish demands experience and skills. If you want a long-lasting finish for a flawless and immaculate result, do not hesitate to hire a professional to execute the job with expertise and precision. 

Staining the Perfect Fence for Your Property

Remind yourself that there is no shame in seeking professional assistance. Knowing when to ask demonstrates your capabilities and interest in your property. Always prioritize the safety and long-term integrity of your investments. The first step in staining fences is selecting the exemplary service. 
Contact Dakine Services to discuss your preferences and requirements with experts to ensure the right choice.

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