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staining a fence

Two questions:

1. How often should a cedar fence be stained?

2. What type of sprayer is used with stain?


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Posted 2013-03-09T22:05:09+0000  by SteveDSharp SteveDSharp




"How often should a fence be stained?" The immediate answer is as often as it looks as if it needs it. Does it look dried out, dull ? Is the stain wearing away? Is there bare wood showing and is it turning gray?


How long stain lasts depends on several factors: What kind of stain is used ,whether it is verticle or horizontal wood, how exposed is it to the sun and rain, etc.


Verticle fence boards last  longer than decking boards. Obviously, water cannot stand on verticle surfaces, nor do verticle surfaces get walked upon.


Generally speaking, an oil stain will need more frequent recoating than water based stain. However, oils do not form surface films which might peel as do water based stains. It is a trade off of more frequent routine maintenance, or more extensive maintenance at a longer interval.


Stains with greater amounts of pigment will last longer than those with little or no pigment. It is the pigment which blocks the UV rays of the sun. It is the UV rays which break down the surface of the wood. Clear, transparent, semi-transparent and solid hide stains give the most protection in that order. Solid hide stains are like a thin paint, blocking any view of the grain of the wood. They allow texture to be seen, but no grain. Totally blocking the UV rays, they last by far the longest.


Repeated coats of even a transparent stain will eventually build up to where the grain starts to be obscured. 


As to spraying: The obtimum spraying  would be via an airless sprayer. These units compress the stain under a couple thousand pounds of pressure and atomize it by extruding it through a tiny hole in the tip of the spray gun.

 If large areas of fence are to be done, it would be advisable to borrow, rent or buy  an airless sprayer, such as those by Graco or Titan.


Smaller jobs may be done by handheld units by such companies as Wagner. These units are considerably slower and require frequent refilling of the quart size tanks (some will siplon directly from a paint can). Their tips are also prone to clogging. They also require meticulous cleaning if they are to operate in the future!


Another option is the use of pump sprayers similar to those used in gardens for spraying insecticides. These sprayers can be purchased in the paint department of Home depot. The main difference is that  they have a different tip to accomodate the heavier viscosity of the stain. They give a somewhat course spray and it is advisable to "back brush" the sprayed area to work the stain more evenly into the wood.


I hope this overview is of assistance to you.


Posted 2013-03-10T08:20:56+0000  by ordjen
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