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What Is The Best Stain For A Fence?

Beyond just taking advantage of your property's curb appeal, a wooden fence adds protection to your yard while keeping your children and pets safe off the road and away from harm. There are a lot of pros.


Cons? Maintenance work is needed first and foremost. Outdoor structures made of wood are very susceptible to damage from the elements—precipitation, of course, but also sun damage. Left unprotected against these environmental factors, the fence will dry, crack and discolor.


Adding a coat of high-quality stain goes a long way to prevent wooden fences from being weathered. For this reason—and because stain often exudes the natural elegance of wood—many homeowners stain and stain their fences every few years, or even every year.

External stains differ greatly in color and form. What is more difficult is that many are formulated for use on particular types of wood. If you're struggling to make sense of the choices available, keep reading our top tips on selecting the best fence stain for your needs and budget—and don't skip the favorites roundup below!


BEST ALL AROUND: #1 Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain

BEST WEATHER PROTECTION: Olympic Stain Maximum Wood Stain and Sealer

BEST LOOKS: Cabot Australian Timber Oil Stain

MOST ECO-FRIENDLY: Eco-Safe Wood Treatment


Before You Buy

It is necessary to take into account the type of wood when selecting a stain. Most wooden fences can and should be painted, but the type of wood will decide the type, color, and amount of stain needed, as well as the amount of time spent on prep work.


For example, walnut, cherry and mahogany are difficult to stain, but they boast natural resilience to the elements. The pores between their wood fibers are too small to absorb stains without extensive planning and sanding in advance. If your fence is made of one of these types of wood, staining might not be a good choice. However these types of wood usually have better inherent moisture protection and are attractive, even without stain.


Softwood fences, such as pine and cedar, absorb stains quickly and easily, but water-based stains can cause problems with these forests. Softwood has larger pores that trap more water than hardwoods. Due to this higher absorption rate, their use with water-based stains can lead to blotchy, uneven staining. Stop this by using softwood oil-based stains.


Hardwood fences have mixed reactions with staining. Alder wood, birch, and maple have a hard time absorbing stain equally. However other hardwoods, such as oak and ash, have much larger pores between wood fibers that easily absorb stains. For hardwoods, a water-based stain has a greater viscosity to be absorbed into smaller pores.

The type of wood used for your fence may also direct your choice in the color of your stain. To preserve beautiful grain patterns in wood, choose a lighter-colored single coat. It is best to cover the grain of wood with a darker color with a strong stain.


Additional Features

When it comes to shopping for stains, there are other choices available that may not be as technical as those we have mentioned so far, but they are no less relevant.


The typical stain brand provides four to eight different colors to help DIYers find the closest fit to their home exteriors. The opacity level affects the final product, allowing DIYers to select a single color that can be used in a solid, semi-solid or semi-transparent stain. The result of each of them produces a unique look, so choose carefully.

Do You Need a Fence Contractor You Can Trust?

Why pay more when you can restore? That's our motto and the way we approach every project. Fresh Coat Restoration specializes in new deck builds, new fence builds, deck repairs, fence repairs, arbor restoration, fence restoration, deck restoration, pressure washing and sealing/staining. If it's in your backyard chances are we specialize in it! When you call FCR you will be working with a licensed, insured, honest and reliable contractor with years of experience and thousands of satisfied customers.  We are the top Fencing contractor in the Vine Hill neighborhood of Martinez, California, serving the fencing installation and restoration needs of homeowners throughout Contra Costa, Solano and Alameda Counties. Contact us today to start your project!

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