A wooden fence offers an attractive border around your backyard while keeping it secure. However, natural wooden fences require ongoing maintenance and upkeep to keep them looking beautiful. Over time, exposure to rain, hail, snow, and extreme heat can cause a wooden fence to deteriorate and become unattractive. Additionally, dirt and mildew can begin to form which causes the wood to turn an unsightly gray color. Follow these steps to refinish your wood fence.
What to know before you begin:
• FOR YOUR SAFETY: When staining your wood fence, always wear goggles and gloves to keep chemicals, stains, and dirt away from your skin and eyes.
• Never try to refinish your wooden fence if there is rain in the forecast for your general area because stain needs time to dry and seal properly.
Choosing a stain and sealant:
• If you live in a wet or humid climate, you may want to buy a wooden fence stain with a quick application to avoid bubbles in the finish. Acrylic resin-based stains are good for longevity, so try and find a quick application version if you can.
• Make sure your wood stain has ultra violet protection to protect the wood from sun and water damage
• Sealant is another important additive that will make your fence last longer. The natural oils and fibers in the wood are leeched out by the sun’s rays unless the proper sealant is applied.
Once you’ve gathered all your materials, follow these steps for refinishing:
1. Use a pressure washer to remove the outermost layer of wood. Dirt and mildew build up on the fence over time, which can rot the structure if left untreated, and eventually cause structural problems. If you haven’t refinished your wooden fence in many years, then you may need to add chemical compounds to thoroughly remove the dirt and mildew. For the worst cases, you can use a sand blaster, but this should be a last resort. Reducing the width of the fence by sandblasting can lead to weakness and collapse. Also, be careful to sandblast the wood fence evenly so that it does not become top-heavy and more susceptible to wind damage. Without sandblasting, the old wood stain is nearly impossible to remove.
2. After cleaning the fence, make sure the wood has ample time to dry. If you stain your fence before the moisture evaporates from the wood, then the aging process will increase drastically. The extra moisture on the wood promotes the growth of mold and mildew while stymieing the absorption of the protective stain.
3. Inspect the fence for splintered or broken fence posts. You can use wood glue and corrosion resistant screws and nails to repair fence posts before staining. For parts that are too worn to patch with wood glue, remove the damaged panel and take it to your local wood supplier to get a replacement. Changing rotted or broken wood panels on your fence will help maintain its firm structure and beauty.
4. After fixing the splinters and broken sections, it’s time to prepare for staining. Cover the ground at the base of the fence with a tarp. This will prevent the chemicals from potentially killing the organic materials nearby. Also, place painter’s tape over the fence’s hardware and accents to avoid exposure to the stain. The stain should only touch the wooden fence panels.
5. Use a manual paint roller to apply the stain. Try to apply an even coat along the entire fence and maintain a perfectly vertical stroke if you can. Take your time! For the nooks and crannies, use a small paintbrush so you can protect every part of the fence. Missing a section could result in extreme decay.
Failing to evenly coat the wood fence with stain may result in a multi-colored fence. Portions that are over-stained will be darker in color and give your fence an unappealing look. More importantly, the under-stained portions of the fence will be more susceptible to future damage and will require additional refinishing sooner than others.
Learning how to refinish a wood fence is not a difficult task, but it takes hard work and diligence. Nonetheless, refinishing your wood fence on a regular basis will keep it looking beautiful, so it’s worth it!
This post was written by Dave C. from refinishingfurniture.net. Dave enjoys painting and refinishing and is always looking for ways to save a buck.
Looking to buy a new fence instead? Check out our Fences Buyers’ Guide for a list of reputable fence manufacturers and companies.