When Should You Stain a New Fence?

The hand of an older gentleman using a paint brush to stain a wood fence

After installing a new wooden fence, you want to do everything you can to make the fence last and maximize your investment. Maintaining a wooden fence includes cleaning off dirt and grime, inspecting it for damaged or loose boards, and staining the fence when needed. Staining keeps the fence looking new and helps protect the boards from moisture that can cause damage or the growth of mold and mildew. But before taking on any fence staining project, it’s essential to know when to stain a fence to get the best results. 

Here are the best times to stain a new wooden fence:

After Installation

Sometimes, you can stain your fence right after it is installed. Other times, you may need to wait weeks or even months for the wood to dry. How long you should wait to stain a new fence after it is installed depends on the type of wood used to manufacture the fence. A fence should be dry before stain is applied, and some kinds of wood take longer to dry than others. But if you wait too long to stain the fence, weathering may create more work for you before you can stain it. 

Generally, fences made of pine, spruce, other softwoods, or pressure-treated woods need more time to dry completely. You should wait at least 4-6 weeks before the initial staining for these types of woods. Redwood and cedar fences can usually be stained within a few days of installation once the wood has dried sufficiently. Fences made of hardwoods, like oak, teak, and mahogany, can usually be stained immediately.

After It Has Dried

Gauging how much water is in your fence’s wood will also let you know when to stain a new fence. A wooden fence must be thoroughly dried before you can stain it successfully. Stain is designed to penetrate wood fibers and bond with them. If the wood is wet, the stain will not be able to penetrate the wood and bond with its fibers, potentially leading to the stain peeling or flaking off the fence or a blotchy, uneven stain. Therefore, you want to ensure the wood is dry before staining and wait a few days after it rains to give the fence time to dry. You can also use a moisture meter or a water test to see if your fence is dry enough for painting.

To perform a water test, drop a quarter-sized amount of water onto the fence. If the fence is still wet, the water will not be absorbed within a few minutes. However, if the fence is dry, the water will be absorbed within a few minutes, indicating that the fence is dry enough for staining. 

Every 2-3 Years

A good rule of thumb is to stain a new fence every 2 to 3 years, but several factors impact how quickly the fence may be weathering, and that can determine whether your wooden fence needs to be stained more or less often. Some of those weathering factors include:

  • The type of wood used to make the fence — Different types of wood have different levels of resistance to weathering and decay, influencing when you should stain a new fence. Fences made of more durable wood will naturally require less maintenance and can go longer without restaining.
  • Mold or mildew that might be growing on the fence — A properly stained fence will reduce the amount of water absorbed by the wood, helping to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. If you see signs of mold and mildew growth, it could be time to stain the fence again.
  • Climate exposure — How the fence is holding up to sunlight, rain, humidity, and snow will impact how often you will need to restain it. Fences installed in milder climates or areas of a yard with less exposure to UV rays may not need to be stained as often.
  • Quality of the stain — Higher quality stains can last longer and provide more protection against weathering. Additionally, correctly applying the stain will impact how long it lasts. 

If you’re unsure when to stain a new fence, it’s best to consult the manufacturer’s instructions for specifics on caring for it or have it inspected by a professional fence company, like Everlasting Fence Company. 

Let Us Install, Stain, & Maintain Your Fence

Whether you’re looking for custom wood fencing, wood fence supplies, or help to restore old wood fences, Everlasting Fence Company should be the first place you call. Our dedicated technicians provide expert craftsmanship that is guaranteed. In addition, we can give you insight on when to stain a fence, and our professional wood staining service can give you the confidence in knowing that you have a high-quality job done right. So contact us today for a free estimate on your fencing project. 

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