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The Home Depot

Fence Painting and Staining Guide

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Painting > Fence Painting and Staining Guide
Fence Painting and Staining Guide

Wood fences make effective barriers in a landscape, preventing the escape of kids or animals or keeping trespassers off your property. Although wood is a common fencing material, wood does require ongoing maintenance to keep the fence attractive and in good condition.


If you do not check the condition of the fencing regularly and take steps to seal it from moisture, your fence will not last as long as it should.


With a fence painting and staining guide, you can keep an effective barrier on the fence to ensure that the wood does not suffer moisture damage.

  1. Decay and rot are the two main threats against a wood fence. When conditions are moist, fungi causes wood to decay and break down.

    1.The Importance of Protecting a Fence

    Decay and rot are the two main threats against a wood fence. When conditions are moist, fungi causes wood to decay and break down. Decay often attacks a fence at the parts of the fence that contact the soil – the fence posts and the bottom slat of the fencing. This is because moisture is higher at this point and oxygen is less.


    Rot may occur on fence parts that are above the ground but it doesn’t occur as quickly or to the same degree. Rot can occur when the wood of the fence doesn’t have effective protection and moisture enters the wood. The best way to protect a wood fence from rot is to keep the wood surfaces painted or stained.

  2. 2.How to Paint a Fence

    The first step to painting a fence is preparing the surface for the new paint. Clean off every nook and cranny of the fence to remove dirt and debris. Wash the fence with soapy water and allow it to dry. Scrape off any loose flecks of paint and sand the surfaces with medium-grit sandpaper to ensure that the surface is smooth and ready for paint.


    Apply exterior paint to the fence with a paintbrush, covering the surfaces in a thin and even layer. Add paint to the ends of the boards also to seal these surfaces as well.


    Allow the paint to dry completely and then apply a second coat.

  3. 3.How to Stain a Fence

    To stain a fence, prepare the wood in the same fashion, cleaning off all dirt and debris. If the wood has weathered, bleach the surfaces of the fence carefully to eliminate all mildew spores.


    Apply the stain to the fence with a paintbrush and allow the stain to dry.

  5. 4.Preventing Painting and Staining Problems

    It’s important to apply paint or stain to a fence when the temperature is between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Dry weather is also important for the time that you are applying paint or stain. Wait to paint or stain until you have a block of time when no rain will fall within 24 hours of application.


    Renew the paint or stain surface on the wood fence any time you begin to see flecks of paint falling off or you notice that the wood appears to be weathering.


    Although fence painting and staining takes effort, the renewed appearance of your fence will be worth the time and energy you spend.

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