How To Stain A Cedar Fence

Stain your cedar fence the easy way

How To Stain A Cedar Fence

Q: How do you stain a cedar fence?

A: Having a cedar fence is an attractive add-on for any piece of property. In order for it to retain its beauty, a cedar fence needs to be cared for and protected from the environment. In many cases this just requires a simple application of a good wood stain. If you can paint, then you are more than qualified for staining a cedar fence, but it is best to first understand the proper way to prep and stain for your wood staining project

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Step 1 - Choose the Right Stain
Step 1 - Choose the Right Stain

Step 1

Choose the Right Stain

You will need to choose both the right wood stain color and finish for your project.

Wood stain finishes range from transparent to solid opaques, in many varieties of color. Choose a wood stain that compliments the look of your home, or helps bring a splash of vibrancy to your property.

Olympic has a great selection of exterior wood stain colors, available in a variety of transparencies.

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Step 2 - Inspect the Fence
Step 2 - Inspect the Fence

Step 2

Inspect the Fence

Look for broken fence pieces, rough wood, screws, staples or nails that protrude.

If you encounter any of these problems, you will need to repair them. This will provide a smooth surface for staining.

After completing any needed repairs, the fence will need to be cleaned.

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Step 3 - Clean the Fence
Step 3 - Clean the Fence

Step 3

Clean the Fence

Clean wood provides the perfect surface for staining. If the fence has any existing paint or stains, they will need to be removed.

Old and new cedar may benefit from an application of a wood brightener like Olympic Premium Deck Brightener & Wash. This is a gentle cleaner designed especially for exterior wood surfaces. It also removes some mill marks and glaze from new wood.

  • Allow the brightener to soak into the wood.

  • It may be necessary to gently scrub stubborn stains.

  • Rinse the cleaner away with water; this allows for an easy removal of dirt, mold, and mildew on older wood.

After cleaning the fence, allow at least 24 hours for the wood to dry.

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Olympic Staining Tip

Always test a small, hidden area, using the same number of coats you will be using on the fence and let it dry so that you can be sure to get the wood stain color you want. 

Step 4 - Stain the Fence
Step 4 - Stain the Fence

Step 4

Stain the Fence

Evenly apply the wood stain following the instructions on the can, using one or more of these: 

  • a straight-edged brush

  • roller

  • hand-pumped stain sprayer

Be sure to apply an even coat of wood stain to the fence. Cover the entire surface. You may need to use an angled brush for any places between the planks that need stain. 

Just like with interior painting, if there are any areas that are blotchy or if there are places where the stain puddles or bubbles, smooth these areas out quickly with a brush.

Let the stain rest for 24-48 hours. The drying period is dependent upon the weather.

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Please refer to the Product Label, Technical Data Sheet (TDS) or Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for safety and detailed application instructions.