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How to Choose the Best Wood Stain for Fences

As time goes on and your fence starts to age, the paint finish starts to wear off. There are a lot of ways you can refurbish a fence without spending too much money or hiring someone.

With simple staining or painting, you can restore that wood to its natural look. If you’ve looked at the variety of wood stains available, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. So many options! What’s the best one for you?

Stain types vary and you should think about how long-lasting they are, whether they’re easy to apply, and what color selection they offer.

For example, some stains include a sealant that needs to be applied before a final coat is added. But, to make things easier for you, Big Easy Fences put together the top list of products for staining your fence.

Ready Seal 112 Exterior Wood Stain & Sealer – Best Overall

There are 8 colors to choose from, and Ready Seal 112 exterior wood stain and sealer is our favorite. It also offers a great performance which saves you money and time!

The primer we bought didn’t require thinning or diluting, and it sprayed easily with our paint sprayer. In general, it was easy to apply with a brush too- there weren’t any drips or runs insight.

Despite all of the positive qualities, you’ll find that it’s also very affordable. And since it’s biodegradable, there are no problems when you wash off your paintbrushes and other tools.

You can give it a second coat of stain after 45 minutes, but if you want the best paint job this year we recommend giving it 48-72 hours to completely dry. If you don’t want to waste time, this is the best exterior wood stain and sealer this year.

Paint Brush and Old FurniturePROS

  • Biodegradable
  • Comes in 8 colors
  • 2-in-1 stain & sealer
  • Affordably priced
  • Does not require thinning or diluting
  • Can be used with a sprayer

CON

  • Needs 48 to 72 hours of curing time

SaverSystems Deck Premium Wood Stain – Best Value

Get a high-quality wood stain in different shades with 4 finish options. It’s water-based and VOC-compliant. It’s a sealer and stain that blocks mildew and mold and we think it’s great, but Ready Seal is better at sealing, so it’s here in our no.2 spot

To keep your softwood deck looking great for years to come, this durable formula is perfect. Not only does it resist fading, peaking, and graying but it’s also safe to use on any type of wood surface.

The 4 color finishes are easy to apply and look great. It has a nice consistency and isn’t too runny. We had success both with spraying and brushing it on, which is a huge plus in our book because we love less mess!

All in all, we believe this stain and sealer system is high quality, so if you’re looking to apply a stain and sealer to your deck or siding, then this is a great choice.

Water Drops on Wood FloorPROS

  • Will resist peeling, graying, and fading
  • Is water-based
  • Stain & sealer in one

CONS

  • Should only be used on softwood
  • Sealer isn’t very effective

Sashco Transformation Deck & Fence Stain – Premium Choice

If you’re looking for a deep and luxurious stain on your fence, the Sashco Transformation Deck and Fence Stain are one of the most beautiful lifts we tried. This product is semi-transparent, so with just one coat, you’ll see your wood grain coming through really beautifully.

This stain is a bit more expensive so it’s going to cost more than the average. It might sound scary at first, but it’s really easy to apply. Just make sure you get the thickness that’s right for your play yard depending on how you plan on applying it-brush, spray, or roll.

This is the most expensive stain, but it does not come with a sealant. Of course, this is going to cost you more money and time but as you can see by the rich finish it provides, it’s worth it. If you are willing to spend a bit more, we recommend this one. If you are looking for something cheaper, this one is your best option.

PROS

  • Rich, deep look
  • Hybrid formula with oil-in-water
  • A pleasure to apply

CONS

  • Very costly
  • Does not come with a sealer

Woodrich Brand Timber Oil Deep Penetrating Stain

This stain is pretty easy to use and gives you a beautiful and natural finish. We like how little dripping or running the stain does. It’s great that the stain can be used on new and aged wood because a lot of stains are only good for one type of wood. The finish looked awesome, too- we liked the brushes and sprayers best.

There are a lot of really great aspects to this product, but it’s not perfect either. With that said, the costs can be pretty high and it doesn’t have all of the features that our other two choices are also equipped with.

It is on the expensive side and doesn’t come with a sealant. We prefer products that have the sealer already built-in because they typically have a bunch of benefits. We like this stain, but we don’t think it’s as good of a deal if you take the price into account.

PROS

  • Doesn’t run
  • You can apply it to your new wood

CONS

  • Very pricey
  • Does not come with a sealer

DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Wood Stain

Painting Wood by CarpenterDEFY Extreme semi-transparent exterior wood stain is fortified using zinc nanoparticles. This means that the harmful UV rays from the sun are reflected, which protects your paint and wood.

This mixture of ingredients will make your fence last much, much longer. It not only improves the longevity of the fence but can also prevent mold and mildew from forming. This stuff is a stain and sealer in one so you don’t need to use two separate solutions.

It’s water-based, so it’s easy to clean up, and comes in 7 different colors. This makes it easy to find the color that works best for your style and taste.

Even though the finish is nice, the DEFY stain costs a lot. It’s more expensive than any of the other tested stains and doesn’t have anything more special to offer. We weren’t impressed with it.

The wood we used it on only stayed nice for around 6 months before it started absorbing water. But the biggest gripe was that the finish was quite patchy, which was a bit disappointing for the price.

PROS

  • Comes in 7 finishes
  • UV-resistant to protect the wood
  • Water-based
  • Sealer & stain in one

CONS

  • Very expensive
  • The sealant will only last around 6 months
  • Looks very patchy

Olympic Stain Maximum Wood Stain

You might have come across Olympic Stain Maximum Wood Stain and wanted to know what you think. It’s a 2-in-1 stain & sealer that comes in 8 different looks, but it’s not the most durable.

We stained our fence and it was looking great for about a year before it started to peel and chip away. At first, the wall color had faded so much that it was almost impossible to recognize the original. We had to paint the whole thing again.

Unfortunately, the second layer left a different kind of mark on it – it looked kind of tacky.

PROS

  • 8 great finish colors from which to choose
  • Price is affordable
  • Sealant & stain in one

CONS

  • Doesn’t last long
  • Color isn’t appealing

Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain

Fast-acting DIYers might want to check out Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain. This stain can be applied and sealed on the same day and has UV protection to help it weather the sun.

Unfortunately, this product can’t be used on new wood. To prevent the wood from splitting apart, you should wait for it to weather for at least a year before applying anything.

This stain comes in 4 finishes, although we would like to see more. The biggest drawback is the high price. You will pay for the convenience of same-day sealing and staining and other products on this list have a better reputation.

Paint Brush on top of canPROS

  • Provides UV protection
  • Water-based

CONS

  • Only comes in 4 colors
  • Very expensive
  • Wood must be weathered at least a year before the application

Wood Defender Transparent Fence Stain

We left Wood Defender Transparent Fence Stain out of our favorites because it had a very limited color selection. A lot of other stains come with a broad range of colors, so this one feels lackluster compared to them.

The finish is durable and even, so you don’t have to worry about it wearing off sooner. It can be used in extreme climates too, which is a huge plus.

We did notice some drips when applying this stain, yet we had no trouble cleaning them up to create a finish coat. We also want to avoid any runs in the future.

PROS

  • Affordable price

CONS

  • Only 4 color choices
  • Doesn’t have a sealer included

SEAL-ONCE Penetrating Wood Sealer & Stain

It’s reassuring to know that we’re providing a sealer and stain that has 11 different colors. This might seem like a good deal, but it is expensive. We’re also confident in the product because it can help to prevent mold or decay on the wood as well.

The product lacked UV and was runny and thin. But we just didn’t like the consistency of it. It would have so many runs and drips, that we had to keep an eye on it to keep things smooth. We recommend the top 3 stains before choosing this one.

PROS

  • 11 colors
  • Great sealer

CONS

  • Extremely expensive
  • Doesn’t provide UV protection
  • Thin and will drip and run
  • Rust-Oleum 321637 Fence Stain Redwood

Rust-Oleum 321637 Fence Stain Redwood

Professional Wood Spray PainterFor such a hardy wood, redwood is rather prone to rotting. Those living in wet climates will have to clean and stain their fences annually. Redwood is extremely hard – which is why we have a lot of competent brands for it. Unfortunately, not all well-known companies do too well with redwood products.

We can’t say enough great things about the Rust-Oleum 321637 Fence Stain. It’s not like other stains, which you spray onto or brush on. You attach a garden hose and start spraying. Although we like the idea of this product, it just didn’t work as well. It would apply stain quickly but also left a big mess that took a while to clean up.

The oversprays were a little too much and the spray pattern wasn’t in our control. It is also too expensive when buying the product only for redwood fences. If your fence is of another type, then this item will not be what you need

PROS

  • Fast application

CONS

  • Messy
  • A lot of material is wasted
  • Costly

Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Fence Stain

Now that you’ve looked at some of our recommended options, you might be wondering how to choose the right one for you. We’re glad to give you some advice on choosing a fence stain.

Match or Compliment the Colors on Your Property

Think about the colors of other features around your garden. You want to compliment them rather than clash with them. Do consider the pattern, patio stone, or shed’s color. The one you choose should harmonize with its design theme.

Consider Your Fence Type

If you’re considering the colors for your privacy fence, we recommend a classic option like rich redwood, dark brown, or warm cedar.
Staining a fence can sometimes be tricky. If you’re staining a rail fence on a ranch, it might be best to choose something like white that won’t stain from cows. For modern-looking fences, colors staggered with two colors of stain or grey might work well.

Think About Your Neighborhood

Make sure you’re aware of any rules that might restrict the fence type you choose before you make your final decision.

Don’t Allow the Fence to Compete

When it comes to your fencing installation, you want to make sure it’s able to complement the best parts of your property. For example, if you have a pool that is the main point of attraction on your property then choosing a fence or gates that complement this upgrade would be best.

Conclusion

Painting Wood DIYAfter reading through our top 10 reviews of fence stain, we hope you’re ready to pick the right one for your home.

To sum up what we’ve said so far – our favorite choice is Ready Seal 112 exterior wood sealant. We like that we got 8 colors, it’s biodegradable and has a built-in sealer. It also has a smooth finish and can stand up to the elements well.

Most people are on a tight budget when it comes to buying new fence stains. SaverSystems 1 Deck Premium Wood Stain is great because the water-based stain seals the finished product and leaves a beautiful, long-lasting color.

We recommend Sashco Transformation Deck and Fence Stain. This product is a standout highly-priced stain that has a rich and deep color.

It will also revitalize your fence as well as most other types of wood you’re looking to apply it to for long-lasting results.

The finish of our new paint is luxurious and great for fences. All of these choices would help transform your appearance and liveliness, so pick any one you want!

MORE FROM BIG EASY FENCES

How to Clean Wood Fence without a Pressure Washer
5 Signs that It’s Time for a Fence Repair


Big Easy Fences has been serving residents in New Orleans with different fence products and installations. We offer wood fences, metal fences, as well as gates in different styles.

For more information contact us now!

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