How To Stain An Old Fence – Make It Look New Again

How to stain an old fence

Do you want to improve the lifespan of your old fence? Well, did you know that an ancient fence can gain a lot from applying a stain? Well, understand that adding stain will give you a fresh look and protect it from rotting.

A high-quality oil-based stain will help you boost the aesthetics of your home by giving your old wooden fence an impressive outlook. Note that oil-based stain slows down the growth of mildews and decreases the rate of rotting. You will, therefore, get a long-lasting fence that is always in style all year round.

How to stain an old fence, therefore, becomes quite a critical question. Today, I will walk you through the step by step process of adding stain to your old wooden fence. The good news is that the process is rather simple and straightforward with this guide.

Materials Required

Power washer
A stain sprayer
Garden hose
Painters tape
Clear wooden sealant
Oil-based stain
Rubber gloves

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1: Deciding On the Best Day for the Project

Over the past decade, technology has greatly improved to make our lives easier. You can quickly check what kind of weather you will have within the coming days. Note that fringy weather is not ideal because the stain will take a long period to dry. Sweltering conditions are equally not advisable because the drying time will be greatly accelerated, therefore, leaving patches on the fence.

Look for days that fall within the 50 to 80-degree temperatures. These days should also have no drizzle or high humidity. You will get a more professional look when you choose your working days correctly.

Step 2: Inspect your Old Fence

Thoroughly inspect your old fence for any broken pieces or rotting. It would also help if you looked out for protruding things such as nails, staples, and screws. Note that you need to adequately repair all the affected areas on your old fence.

You need a smooth and stable fence before applying the stain. Carrying out inspection ensures that you have a sturdy fence that can guarantee long-lasting services.

Step 3: Prepare Your Wood

Once you have completed all the necessary repairs, you will need to strip or sand the entire fence. Note that it would help if you applied the finish stripper according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This is especially important in our case because we are dealing with an old fence.

Use your brush to scrub off the old fence and remove the old varnish paint from the wooden slats. Doing this will ensure that you get a smooth and professional finish. However, note that this step takes a little bit of time and you need to exercise patience.

Step 4: Clean the Old Fence

Use a power washer to clean the entire fence with high-pressure water. Simply attach a spray nozzle to your power washer and start cleaning your fence. Note that you can also use a garden hose power in case you don’t have a power washer.

Cleaning your old fence will eliminate all the dirt and sand from the wooden slats. Take your time during this step and ensure that every inch of your old fence is properly cleaned.

Step 5: Treat Your Wooden Slats with Diluted Bleach

Let your old fence dry for a couple of hours before starting the treatment process. This is especially important when your fence has mildews and mold on the slats. The treatment process will get you a long-lasting fence.

Ensure you use water to dilute the bleach to increase its efficiency. Use your garden sprayer to efficiently spray the diluted bleach on the entire fence. Ensure you wear your rubber gloves during this step to increase safety. Let the bleach settle down for about ten minutes before washing it down with your power washer.

Step 6: Cover Nearby Plants

It would help if you fully covered all nearby plants to avoid damaging them with the stain. Use the painter tape to cover all of these plants and any other parts that might be affected by the stain. Ensure that everything is fully covered before moving on to the next step.

Step 7: Apply Stain

When applying your stain, you can choose to use either a sprayer, brush, or roller. However, it would help if you picked a tool that you are familiar with and comfortable using. Note that a sprayer will significantly reduce the effort and time used during this step. The brush, on the other hand, is efficient since it ensures the stain permeates all the fence slats.

Dip your brush into the stain can and apply it on your fence horizontally. You will then need to apply your coat vertically on the slat. Work from left to right and top to bottom for a smooth and professional finish. Ensure that you work with one slat before moving on to the next to help prevent patches and a poor finish.

If you decide to use a sprayer, then stand at an adequate distance from your fence. Doing this will help you avoid the occurrence of patches or lad marks on your wooden fence surface.

Step 8: Apply Extra Stain Coats

Apply as many coats as you need depending on the color depth you want for your fence. However, ensure that you leave sufficient drying time between coats. It would also help if you applied a durable sealant on your fence to increase its longevity.

When choosing a suitable sealant, go for the clear and waterproof variants. You will get long-lasting services from your fence with the right sealant. Always use the best quality products for your fence for a more admirable and sturdy finish.


Applying a stain to your old fence is the best way of ensuring you get a long-lasting and attractive fence. You can significantly boost the curb appeal of your home by simply following this step by step guide. However, it would help if you used nothing but quality products during the entire process.

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