Is It Too Late To Stain My Fence?

Serving Bastrop county and other surrounding areas in TX since 2015 and helping homeowners get closer to the perfect vision for their home.

You may have found yourself with a fence that is old and gray and you’re not sure what to do in order to preserve it. Staining a fence is always a great way to extend the life of your fence, but is it too late? The answer is no, it’s never too late to stain your fence as long as the wood and materials are all in good shape.

The first thing that must be done before staining the fence is cleaning it. A popular method of cleaning a fence is to simply pressure wash it, but there are additional products and processes that should be done to properly prepare the wood before staining.


We at Butler Contracting use specific cleaning agents to successfully remove all of the algae, dirt, mold, mildew, moss and whatever hindrance that might be hanging onto your fence. Even pressure washing the fence can make it look almost as good as new, but we use methods that open the pores of the wood back up so that it can properly receive the stain.

What If My Fence is Not Old, But I Would Still Like To Stain It - When Should It Be Done?

If you have a newly installed fence, the timing of when you should stain it depends on the type of wood the fence is made out of. If it is pressure treated pine, you’ll need to wait until the wood fully dries out. Pressure treated wood often comes wet with the chemicals it was treated with and if staining is attempted under those conditions, the wood is not likely to absorb the stain adequately. The recommended wait time for drying can vary based on season and weather from 3 weeks to 6 months. You can also use the water test – sprinkle some water on the wood and wait 10 minutes. If the water is absorbed, the wood is dry enough to stain, but if the water beads up, the wood is not yet dry enough to stain.


You can apply the same test with cedar. Cedar pickets are not treated with chemicals, but they still have natural oils that need to dry out in the sun before the fence is ready for staining. It could take several weeks for a cedar fence to dry out enough to be ready for staining.

Plan Around The Weather

This may be easier said than done depending on where you live, but you should plan on doing this project during a run of sunny days. If possible, plan around having 2 or 3 sunny days after you’re done with the project so that the stain will completely dry. The temperature during staining should not be lower than 50 degrees for most products.  However, some products will allow application at nearly freezing temperatures.

New Or Old, You Will Still Need To Clean Your Fence

If you’ve waited the time for the chemicals in treated wood to dry out or for the oils of cedar wood to dry out in the sun, you will still need to clean the fence. As mentioned in this article it’s often done with a pressure washer, which may sound counter intuitive, but you can still wash your fence and it will dry out with a few sunny days.

Butler Contracting Can Restore, Stain and Seal Your Fence

If you’re wondering if it’s too late or if you might need to tear the whole thing down and start over, give us a call, send us some pictures and we’ll have a conversation about what we can do to beautify your fence. Talk to us directly at (844) 628-8537 or send us your pictures through our website.