How To Stain A Fence

How To Stain A Fence

Stress-free staining with this easy guide

How To Stain A Fence

How To Stain A Fence

Q: How Do I Stain a Fence?

A: Do you need wood staining advice? Staining a fence is a lot easier than you may think. If you follow these steps, you will quickly and easily learn how to stain a wood fence, and then enjoy the benefits it brings to your property. Not only will the fence look beautiful after the project is finished, but by following these stress-free fence staining tips, you are likely to enjoy spending time outdoors working on it.

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This first step doesn't take long. Closely examine the wood for things like broken fence pieces, and protruding screws, nails, or staples. These things need to be removed, or fixed, in order to end up with a smooth surface to which you can best apply the fence stain.

Sand* down areas that may appear too rough or you believe could cause issues with application.

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* WARNING! If you scrape, sand, or remove old paint, you may release lead dust or fumes. LEAD IS TOXIC. EXPOSURE TO LEAD DUST OR FUMES CAN CAUSE SERIOUS ILLNESS, SUCH AS BRAIN DAMAGE, ESPECIALLY IN CHILDREN. PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD ALSO AVOID EXPOSURE. Wear a properly fitted NIOSH-approved respirator and prevent skin contact to control lead exposure. Clean up carefully with a HEPA vacuum and a wet mop. Before you start, find out how to protect yourself and your family by contacting USEPA National Lead Information Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD or log on to www.epa.gov/lead. Follow these instructions to control exposure to other hazardous substances that may be released during surface preparation.

Closely Examine the Wood
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Closely Examine the Wood

How To Stain A Fence

Step 1

Closely Examine the Wood

This first step doesn't take long. Closely examine the wood for things like broken fence pieces, and protruding screws, nails, or staples. These things need to be removed, or fixed, in order to end up with a smooth surface to which you can best apply the fence stain.

Sand* down areas that may appear too rough or you believe could cause issues with application.

Explore All Exterior Stain Colors
* WARNING! If you scrape, sand, or remove old paint, you may release lead dust or fumes. LEAD IS TOXIC. EXPOSURE TO LEAD DUST OR FUMES CAN CAUSE SERIOUS ILLNESS, SUCH AS BRAIN DAMAGE, ESPECIALLY IN CHILDREN. PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD ALSO AVOID EXPOSURE. Wear a properly fitted NIOSH-approved respirator and prevent skin contact to control lead exposure. Clean up carefully with a HEPA vacuum and a wet mop. Before you start, find out how to protect yourself and your family by contacting USEPA National Lead Information Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD or log on to www.epa.gov/lead. Follow these instructions to control exposure to other hazardous substances that may be released during surface preparation.

Cleaning up the wood of your fence is very simple. Use a wood cleaner like Olympic® Premium Deck Cleaner on your fence prior to staining. It is important to apply the wood cleaner in an even and uniform way. After applying the cleaning agent, use a soft bristle brush or mop to scrub away all the debris and grime. You will need to allow the wood fence to dry before moving on to the next step.

The following video, while specifically explaining how to clean and prep a wooden deck, is also very relevant to how to prepare a fence for staining.

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

Clean the Wood
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Clean the Wood

How To Stain A Fence

Step 2

Clean the Wood

Cleaning up the wood of your fence is very simple. Use a wood cleaner like Olympic® Premium Deck Cleaner on your fence prior to staining. It is important to apply the wood cleaner in an even and uniform way. After applying the cleaning agent, use a soft bristle brush or mop to scrub away all the debris and grime. You will need to allow the wood fence to dry before moving on to the next step.

The following video, while specifically explaining how to clean and prep a wooden deck, is also very relevant to how to prepare a fence for staining.

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

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. 


Finally! Now that the wood is prepped and dry, you can get to the most important part, staining your fence. This process is very simple. Apply the stain using a brush, roller, or a hand-pumped fence stain sprayer.

No matter the method you use, make sure to apply an even coat of wood stain to the fence. Cover the entire surface. If you see areas that are blotchy or where the stain puddles, quickly use a brush or roller to smooth these areas out.

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

Staining the Wood Fence
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Staining the Wood Fence

How To Stain A Fence

Step 3

Staining the Wood Fence

Finally! Now that the wood is prepped and dry, you can get to the most important part, staining your fence. This process is very simple. Apply the stain using a brush, roller, or a hand-pumped fence stain sprayer.

No matter the method you use, make sure to apply an even coat of wood stain to the fence. Cover the entire surface. If you see areas that are blotchy or where the stain puddles, quickly use a brush or roller to smooth these areas out.

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

Allowing stain to rest is an essential step in staining a fence. The resting period should usually last for at least 24 hours but may extend to 48 hours, depending on the humidity and weather in your area.

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Allow the Stained Wood Fence to Rest
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Allow the Stained Wood Fence to Rest

How To Stain A Fence

Step 4

Allow the Stained Wood Fence to Rest

Allowing stain to rest is an essential step in staining a fence. The resting period should usually last for at least 24 hours but may extend to 48 hours, depending on the humidity and weather in your area.

View All Exterior Stain Colors

Now has come the time to enjoy your beautifully stained fence. You can kick back and relax. However, you will want to maintain the look of your newly-stained fence.

At least once a year, you'll need to clean the fence and provide any maintenance that is necessary. Use Olympic Premium Deck Cleaner to easily remove dirt and mildew stains so that your fence looks great for years to come.

Find Great Colors for Your Fence

Maintain Your Stained Fence
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Maintain Your Stained Fence

How To Stain A Fence

Step 5

Maintain Your Stained Fence

Now has come the time to enjoy your beautifully stained fence. You can kick back and relax. However, you will want to maintain the look of your newly-stained fence.

At least once a year, you'll need to clean the fence and provide any maintenance that is necessary. Use Olympic Premium Deck Cleaner to easily remove dirt and mildew stains so that your fence looks great for years to come.

Find Great Colors for Your Fence