Your Wood Fence: How to Enhance Its Beauty and Life
Not only are wood fences a visually attractive addition to your home, they also provide the family with privacy and help to keep children and pets safe. Restoring the beauty and durability of your wood fence is a fairly simple process. Applying a quality stain will ensure your fence is able to withstand the damaging effects of sun, rain and snow.
Most fences are made of pine, fir, cedar, spruce, or redwood. Prior to staining, it is important that the fence be clean, dry, and free of dirt and mildew. In addition, make sure to replace any broken boards and pound in or replace loose nails and other faulty hardware. You will want to cover hardware such as gate handles with tape and cover any concrete, plants, grass, and other areas with plastic to avoid getting stain on them.
Prepare your fence by cleaning it with a wood cleaning product. The cleaning product can be sprayed on using a common garden hand pump sprayer. Apply it directly in an up and down motion, with the grain of the wood, beginning from the top down. This is a perfect job for the fall, as summer heat may make the cleaning solution evaporate too quickly. Rinse with a power washer at a low psi or use a brush and garden hose to rinse. Again, use an up and down motion, following the direction of the boards.
Applying a brightener brings out the original wood beauty and removes unsightly tannin staining and rust stains from corroded fasteners. Apply brightener in a similar fashion as the cleaner and rinse. Brightener may not be required, but for redwoods and some cedars, it will really make the natural colors come out.
Of course, if your fence is brand new there is no need to use a cleaning or brightening product. Simply make sure the surface is free of dirt and dust by rinsing it with a garden hose. Allow the wood to dry before applying a finish.
Finally, finish your wood with a product that both stains and seals the wood. A quality finish will protect the wood from the sun and water, and will contain a fungicide. You can spray, roll or brush the finish on. Using a combination of these tools, such as a roller and a brush, will help you reach cracks and crevices a roller alone may not cover. Apply enough stain to saturate the wood; most fences will need a gallon for every 100 to 200 square feet of wood surface. After about 15-30 minutes, look for shiny areas indicating over application, and brush out any excess product on the fence.
In all cases, read and follow the label directions of the products you select. Dispose of roller covers, brushes and other waste in a water-filled container and dispose of it appropriately.