Surrey painters receive many requests for fence staining. With that in mind, we thought we’d provide an overview of stain choices and maintenance for cedar fences (the most common wood chosen for fences).
Western Red Cedar is the most popular choice for wood fences because it stands up best in our west coast climate and is still relatively plentiful. Cedar contains aromatic oils that act as a natural insect repellant and help resist rot caused by wet weather. Cedar fences can last 25 years or more if properly maintained, cleaned annually, and re-stained every 3-5 years.
Blue Chip Painting is one of the most experienced painters in Surrey, BC and our team has many years of experience staining fences. Often, when homeowners hire our team for exterior house painting, fence staining is also requested.
Stain Choices for Cedar Fences
Waterborne stains (latex) or hybrid stains (waterborne alkyds) are usually the best choice for cedar fences. Gone are the days when painters in Surrey would almost exclusively recommend oil-based stains for exterior wood.
These days, waterborne and hybrid stains are preferred, because:
They are quick drying
Quick drying times make the job go much faster.
Have better colour retention
Wood keeps its colour longer.
Come in solid colour or semi-transparent options
Waterborne stain and hybrid stain comes in both “solid colour” (opaque) or semi-transparent (which shows the wood grain).
Have low VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
Because there is very little “off-gassing” compared to oil-based stains, they’re safer for people and pets. Low VOC stains result in far less odour that dissipates quickly compared to the strong odour of oil-based stains, which can last for several days.
Don’t require harsh thinners or solvents for cleanup
In most cases, water and mild household detergent are all that’s needed for cleanup.
Penetrate wood as well as oil-based stains
Hybrid stains are formulated in such a way that they penetrate deep into wood fibres and offer the same protection from the elements as oil-based stains.
Waterborne and Hybrid stains can be painted on damp wood
There is no need to wait for the wood to be bone dry before it’s painted, which is the case with oil-based stain. In fact, the wood’s dampness can improve waterborne and hybrid stain’s ability to penetrate wood fibre.
Wood Fence Maintenance Tips
After you’ve hired a Surrey painting company like Blue Chip Painting to stain your fence, there is a lot you can do to keep that fence looking great while also extending its life.
Keep dirt, grass, and plants away from the fence
Ensure the bottom of the fence clears the ground and keep plants away from the fence. Keeping the fence clear of dirt, plants or grass prevents the wood from wicking up moisture, which can cause mold, mildew, and rot.
Pressure wash your fence annually
An annual pressure washing can add years to a cedar fence’s lifespan and keep the fence colour looking fresh. Many professional Surrey painters, including Blue Chip Painting, provide pressure washing services as part of exterior surface preparation. There is no need for a homeowner to risk personal injury to self or others by renting a pressure washer to do it themselves. Pressure washers can be very dangerous in inexperienced hands. The powerful jet of water can easily (and deeply) cut skin, or cause eye injury.
Clean stubborn algae, mold and mildew
There are many moss, mold and algae removers available on the market. While annual pressure washing is often enough to keep them in check, occasionally a little help from an algae cleaner is required. Oxygenated bleach powders (such as OxiClean) and water work well, too.
Fix leaning fences as soon as possible
Soil is alive! During rainfall, soil around fence posts erodes them slowly. Over time, the fence posts may become loose, causing the fence to lean.