Summer weather brings with it sunshine and moisture, the quantity depending on where exactly you live. When you go out in the sun you’re advised to take precautions to prevent sunburn and maintain a healthy skin. The same applies to just about everything else that could potentially be damaged by the sun – and this includes your fence.
If we’re talking staining and sealing, we’re clearly talking wooden fences. Here are some useful tips.
Benefits of Staining and Sealing Fences
Staining and sealing wooden fencing not only keeps it looking good it also ensures it will last longer, particularly if a softwood like pine has been used for construction.
Even though pine is generally pressure-treated to protect it from infestation and rot, it can warp if it gets very wet, especially if it then dries out very quickly in the sun. This can be very damaging. Sealants not only prevent water from seeping into the wood they also protect the surface from the sun’s harmful UV rays, minimizing discoloration and the breakdown of fibers.
The problem though is that if the wood has been pressure treated the chemicals moisten the wood and prevent stains and sealants from penetrating – for a while anyway.
Hardwoods like cedar don’t need to be pressure-treated because they contain natural oils that stop bug infestation and rot. This means hardwood can generally be sealed right away. Sealing it won’t make a difference structurally but the wood will age visually and turn a dull gray color.
A question that customers sometimes ask is whether both sides of the fence should be sealed. Generally, this is the best approach, but it is not cast in stone. In reality, if one side of the fence faces a neighbor and they choose not to stain or seal their side will discolor and yours won’t, without this affecting the structural integrity of the structure.
When to Stain and Seal Fences
A good rule of thumb is to wait four to eight weeks after the fence has been installed before staining and sealing it. During this period of time, the moisture content of the wood will decrease. If the wood was pressure-treated you will probably have to wait longer. Generally, the drier it is the better the process will be.
Summer is an excellent time to stain and seal your fence because of the heat. You should not though apply these products in full sun.
How Often to Stain and Seal Fences
While you should always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, the general rule is that wood fences should be stained every five years and sealers should be applied every two to three. Of course, if you are staining and sealing it makes sense to seal after staining and vice versa. If you can do it in summer then do so.
Natural Enclosures Fence Company has a specialized staining service that will help to protect your investment. The stain we use creates a waterproof cover that stabilizes the color of the wood, protects it, and is both UV and mildew resistant. Contact us to learn more.