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How Do You Restore A Fence?

Make a gray, sagging wooden fence look new again. With a few quick repairs, a thorough wash with a power washer, and a nourishing coat of oil stain your fence will look just like it did on the day it was installed.

Tools Required:

  • Adjustable wrench

  • Cordless drill

  • Paint roller

  • Paintbrush

  • Power washer

  • Rain gear

  • Safety glasses


Materials Required:

  • Caulk

  • Exterior screws

  • Exterior wood glue

  • Semi Transparent exterior oil stain

  • Turnbuckle (if needed)

  • Wood preservative



Power washing makes the huge cleaning task easy

Power washers are as aggressive as a fence cleaner. They're going to strip the wood as well as clean the dirt and the grime, but you can also bleed the wood too deeply and ruin it. The trick is to use the tip and technique of the right sprayer. In any case, the spray of the power washer will slightly lift and grind the grain to smooth wood. That's actually a good thing—it helps more sealers to soak in and boost the finish.


Rent a power washer that works at 1,500 or 2,000 psi and prevents more powerful 3,000 or 3,500 psi systems. Make sure you get all 15-and 25-degree spray tips. Have the rental people prove the use of the washer. It's a very easy computer to run.

Begin the power washer

Do not run the power washer without first filling the pump and the hoses with water to prevent damaging the pump. To do this, mount the garden hose and the power washer hose to the machine, press the end of the wand in a 25-degree tip, switch on the garden hose spigot, and keep the trigger on the wand until the water flows out for a fast fence cleaner. Release the trigger of the wand and power the motor. If the starting cord is hard to pull, pull the wand trigger to release the water pressure. Clear the area along the fence by tying the plants that grow alongside it. Wear water-repellent clothing—you're going to get soaked with the spray.


The color of the wood will shine as the surface is stripped away. Monitor closely and avoid stripping when there is no color change. You don't have to strip too much surface to expose fresh wood, and continuing to spray will not enhance the color.


It takes a little practice to get to the right tip distance and pace of movement, but you're going to catch up quickly. It's easier to make two or three passes than to risk gouging the surface trying to get this job done in one pass.


Close up of sprayer tip

You'll need both a 25-degree (less aggressive) and a 15-degree (more aggressive) spray tip. You should turn to a 15-degree tip as you gain experience. The tip cuts more forcefully and operates better than the 25-degree tip.

Easy repairs add years to your fence's life

With the fence clean, it's time to repair or replace broken boards, rehabilitate loose boards and countersink any protruding nails. Using waterproof glue to patch any cracked and broken boards. Drive corrosion-resistant screws instead of nails to firmly pull loose parts together. If the gate is sagging, straighten it with the help of the turnbuckle. Cover the posts where they emerge from the earth or the asphalt with a wood preservative. It is the first place to rot.


Glue Damaged Pieces

Glue split and broken pieces after the wood has been dry for at least 24 hours. Apply waterproof glue and clamp or tape the bits closely together.


Tighten loose boards

Drive weatherproof or stainless steel screws to tighten loose boards. Place the head down 1/4 in. And cover it with a light-colored caulk.


Apply wood preservative

Brush the wood preservative in the posts around the base to help prevent rot in this vulnerable area.


Straighten gates and doors

Realign the sliding gates with the turnbuckle. You can spray-painted a glossy black turnbuckle to make it less noticeable.

Stain is making the fence look brand new

Using a semi-transparent oil stain on the outside to retain the natural color of the wood. It seals the wood while allowing differences in grain and color to show through. And its pigments add a full color tone. Make sure that the stain contains ultraviolet inhibitors that slow down sunlight bleaching and a mildewcide to slow fungal growth. Look for samples of cedar in a paint shop, or carry your own piece of wood to the test. A test sample is the best way to obtain a satisfactory result.


Brush out the fence stain

Brush the stain (back brush) into the grain of wood and all corners and gaps. Brush out some of the runs or drips. If the wood still appears to be dry, roll on the additional sealer. Work the seal in all corners and recesses. The roller uses the paint, but you need the brush to work well on the surface of the wood.


Roll a section of fence stain

Using a "medium nap" paint roller to add a soaking coat to the wood. Let the wood absorb as much sealer as possible. Roll a soaking coat of semi-transparent fence stain into dry wood. Coat about 3 ft. from the fence, then continue to brush the seal into the wood.


Stain all areas

Work the stain in small, tight areas with a trim roller and a 2-in. It's a brush. Keep the edges damp to avoid lap marks. There should be plenty of a generous coat. Most semi-transparent oil stains are guaranteed to last two to five years. (Solid-colored stains last longer but are more difficult to renew.) Fences usually face extreme weathering, so expect the finish to last no more than three years. Intend to cover the fence within this timeline to keep your fence looking new. Until painting, wash the fence with a garden hose sprayer and add a brush to sturdy soil deposits and stains. Enable the fence to dry and stain using the same process.

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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