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When Should I Stain My Fence / Deck?

Fence Stained with SSE Chestnut

If you were to ask a group of 10 people when you are supposed to stain your exterior wood product, you would likely get 10 different answers.

So who’s right?

Answer: It depends…

When does Freedom Fencing of Ga say you should stain?

We follow the recommendations of the stain manufacturer we recommend. Stain and Seal Experts, or now Expert Stain and Seal.

When asked, the most scientific answer is to wait until the wood is below 14% moisture content. We carry moisture readers on our rigs to test the wood project to ensure it is good to go.

What happens if you stain sooner?

We love to stain as soon as we can so that the wood remains conditioned. As wood dries, it is most likely to expand and contract, leading to cracking, splitting, and warping. The sooner we can get in and condition the wood with the penetrating oils, the less effects you will see from the drying process.

It is reported that it has been observed that when staining a wood fence that still had some moisture inside, the water was “forced out” by the oils in the stain.

Another condition you will find with the oil-based penetrating stain is that the newer the wood product, the more tight the grain is in the product. This results in the wood not being able to absorb the stain pigment as well. For instance, it is not advisable to apply a solid stain such as Slate Grey to a new board. The resulting affect would have something similar to a “white wash” look to the board. The board is still being protected by the oils, but the pigment is not able to absorb. And the pigment is what protects from the harmful UV rays of the sun.

What if I waited too long to stain my fence or deck?

Time to stain is a recommendation, but it's not a definitive measurement.

No worries! Even if you wait long enough for the wood to take on a “grey” look from the UV damage of the sun, that damaged wood fiber can be removed with a proper cleaning bringing the wood back to a “close to original” appearance. Then stains can be applied and your fence remains protected.

In the time that the wood was unprotected you would likely see more warping, cracking, and splitting. Otherwise, it is never too late to protect your wood investment, unless it has deteriorated to the point that it is crumbling or already rotten.

I’m ready to stain my wood project! Where do we start?

Great! We would be happy to assist you with your project. Whether you are a DIY’er or you are looking to have professional assist you with your investment, we are here to help!

Give us a call and we will walk you through the next steps. Generally this looks like what we call a “Discovery Call” that lasts on average about 20 minutes, we will ask for photos of the existing product and status, and then we can work on a ballpark price if you are interested in having us perform the work for you.

Give Us a Call Today!


OK! Our wood project is stained and protected! How do we maintain it?

Set a reminder on your calendar to help ensure maintenance is not forgotten!

Great question! We are excited to let you know that if you provide the proper maintenance for your wood project your stain will carry a Lifetime Warranty!

A proper maintenance schedule looks like an annual light cleaning and a maintenance stain every 3 years.

If you are one who would rather not try to keep up with the timing, processes, or chemicals involved, we are here to help! We have a maintenance program that comes with a monthly payment. In return, you receive a free cleaning and your next stain, in three years, is already paid for when the time comes. No worries, no hassles, no thinking involved.

Many times we are asked “What happens if we decide to move in 2 years?” Another great question! We are more than happy to offer the same program to the new homeowner. They just need to pick up the monthly payments from you and we will maintain the same program. With this maintenance program, we also include gate services, picket replacements due to damage or extreme warping, and other maintenance services to ensure your fence remains as beautiful as the day it was built.

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