Can You Stain An Old Wooden Fence

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Any wooden fence will show signs of deterioration. Inclement weather or even just normal daily sunshine will damage your wooden fence. The rows of nicely colored fences that all look brand new are treated with a wood stain so they can stay visually appealing.

It is also not difficult to stain wood, generally, you just have to do a good wash to clean the wood followed by removing debris and uneven surfaces, then finishing it off by applying a wood stain on the surface and then letting it dry.

This makes it a great choice for many people, but how much does it cost? Can you apply stains on a wet fence? What about a fence with pressure-treated wood? Find out the answers to your questions below! 

Our Pick

General Finishes Water-Based Wood Stain

Easy-to-use, low VOC (volatile organic compound), water-based stain that provides a durable finish for interior wood surfaces. It can be applied by brush or spray and features high-quality pigments for rich, dark colors. Formulated with GF’s proprietary technology to provide workability similar to oil-based stains.

Can You Stain A Weathered Wooden Fence?

A weathered wood fence should be stained. It is advisable to do so because it has been degraded by the environment. Rain, snow, heat, and strong winds all cause damage to the wood and cause it to look old.

Applying a wood stain would make it look new and protect the surface of the wooden fence from the elements and from further degradation.

Can You Stain Pressure Treated Wood Fence?

Yes, pressure-treated wood fences can be stained but only after it has dried completely,  including the inside of the wood. This is because pressure-treated wood has been subjected to high pressures to treat the wood with wood preservatives to make sure the chemicals have penetrated deep into the wood.

Waiting for a year after the treatment has been done should be long enough for even the inside of the wood to dry so staining can be done by then. 

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Can You Stain A Wood Fence After It Rains?

No, a wet wooden fence cannot be stained immediately after it has just rained. The wooden fence has to be dry first before applying the wood stain. Generally, you have to wait for a few days after it has rained, especially if an oil-based wood stain will be used because water and oil are immiscible.

So the oil-based stain will not seep into the surface of the wood as well as if the wooden fence was completely dry.

On the other hand, a water-based wood stain can be applied on a slightly damp wooden fence but it should still be almost dry. 

How Much Does It Cost To Stain A Wood Fence?

The costs of staining a wooden fence will depend on several factors:

Brand of Wood Stain

Wood stains sold on the commercial market can vary in price. The price range for wood stain ranges from $20 to upwards of $50 per gallon.

Height and Length of Wooden Fence

The greater the height and length of the fence, the greater the volume of wood stain needed to stain the whole fence. According to Olympic, a wood stain company, at 175 square feet, a gallon of wood stain is needed.

If the fence is larger at around 550 square feet then 2 gallons of wood stain is needed to get the job done.

For fences larger with a surface area greater than 700 square feet, then 3 to 4 gallons of wood stain is needed to finish the project.

A minimum budget of $10 per linear foot of wooden fence is a good assumption for planning the fence staining project. 


If you plan on doing this yourself then the only price is time and the opportunity costs of using your time to do this wood staining project and not any other thing you could be doing.

However, if one plans to hire a professional then a professional contractor will typically charge you based on the square footage of the fence that needs staining.

It would cost between $3 to $17 dollars per linear foot of the fence and the exact figure will depend on the cost of labor in your area. If the minimum wage is higher, then the cost of hiring professionals will also be greater.

After taking everything into account, a budget of $10 per linear foot of an 8ft tall wooden fence is a reasonable estimate to consider when planning your next wood staining project. 

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Final Thoughts

Wood staining is the go-to method for finishing a wooden fence, whether old or new, a wooden fence will benefit from the wood stain applied. It will make worn-out wood look new and will make it shine, and will offer protection to both old and new wood. Aside from not being too complex, applying a wood stain is a great choice for improving the aesthetics while prolonging the life of your wooden fence. 

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