From Dirty to Dazzling: How to Properly Clean Your Wood Fence Before Staining

How to prep a fence for staining

In The Spring Time the Fence may look Old, Gray and Worn Out!

Learn How To Prep a Fence For Staining!

Step One – Prep a Fence For Staining

When it’s time to update or refresh your cedar or pine fence. Follow these steps to get the best results from your fence stain.

When a fence has the weathered look don’t just apply the stain over it for best results again it is in the prep work (that most do not want to do) that will give your fence the best opportunity to look like new.  Fence Restoration is what we do best find out why.

Repair Fence

  1. Visually look at all the areas of the fence from the bottom kick board to the top of the fence. Are there areas that may need attending to with any kind of repairs?
  2. Replace the fence pickets that are warped and leaning.
  3. Make sure if the fence was previously nailed make sure all the nail heads are not sticking out of the wood. Pound them all back in. Of course, add new ones in the areas that need them.
  4. There are three different types of nails for outdoor use to minimize them rusting and bleeding on the fence.

3 Types of Nails for Outdoor Use

Galvanized nails

Stainless steel nails (varies in grades)

Zinc nail that is hot dipped to coat the zinc

Step Two – Prep Fence A For Staining

Now that all the repairs or replacement fence pickets have been done. It is now time to cleaning the fence.

We will share how to do this properly so the stain will adhere the best and last a very long time.

Clean A Fence

  1. Clean the fence with a solution of bleach and water. If a pressure washer is used ONLY use a 40-60 psi. If the pressure washer is set higher it will damage the wood by scarring it, making it look fuzzy and it will look terrible.
  2. Clean both the inside of the fence and gates as well as the outside too.
  3. Let dry for approximately ½ day or 2-3 hours before applying any stain.
  4. Recheck the fence in all areas as some areas may be more prone to heavy green moss or black mold. In this instance a second or third time with the bleach and water will remove “Most” of the residue.
  5. Sometimes it may be best to go over any areas that have paint on the fence with a wire brush to remove the paint

Step 3 – Prep For A Fence Staining

Last but definitely not least every fence picket and section is rinsed off with a water through a hose to remove any last particles, dirt and grime.  This also is where someone can see if the fence needs to be bleached again for any missed areas or spots.

Rinsing Fence with water to remove any last dirt and grime

What A Fence Looks Like After The Cleaning

Not all fences after cleaning will look clean and fresh. Many have had lots of scarring from the weather, sun and sprinkler damage. In the videos below we share two instances where the fence had been cleaned twice yet the residue was lightened but never completely removed. Robert “Barnes” Gonzalez explains why this happens and what to do about it.

Here are some Before and After’s of the prep for a fence staining

Prep for a fence staining
Prep for a fence staining after
Prep for a staining before on gate

Now Your Ready For The Fence Staining Process!

Staining the fence is the next step after prepping, repair and cleaning. Do you use an oil based stain or a latex based stain?

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