Fence Staining Made Easy
Applying the Stain/Sealer
Movement is extremely important when using an airless sprayer. To avoid excessive stain accumulation, don’t pull the trigger unless the gun is in motion. Squeeze the trigger as you move into a spraying pass over the work surface. Keep your wrist straight and the spray nozzle parallel to the fence boards for consistent application (rather than flexing your wrist and swinging the gun, which causes overspray). Start at the top and work downward.
For applying oil-based stain, I recommend using a .011-.013-in. tip size for the spray gun.
Don’t forget to apply the coating to the end grain of the boards, which really drinks up moisture and requires extra protection.
Once the job is over, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and flushing the machine using the appropriate solvent. This is an absolutely critical step and ensures the airless sprayer will be properly stored without contaminants that gunk up the system, so it will be ready for the next job.
In the end, the project was a success. After a day of spraying Ready Seal’s redwood tone stain/sealer, the fence looked good as new. Not bad for a one-man job.
Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Ready Seal for providing the stain/sealer for this product.
The results were fantastic. Visit www.readyseal.com.
When prepping outdoor wood for refinishing, the most direct way to renew the appearance is to sand or pressure-wash the surface. However, sanding can be difficult and time-consuming for large areas, and pressure-washing must be approached with caution. The problem with pressure-washing is that too much pressure can damage the wood surface, removing the gray and green but causing the surface to fuzz or splinter. This can not only affect the wood’s appearance, but can pose a “touch” hazard for areas such as deck surfaces where people may walk barefoot. When using a power-washer, limit your pressure to no more than 1,000 or 1,200 PSI and carefully work in the direction of the grain—never against it.
For smaller surfaces that need a touch-friendly surface, such as chairs, swings and benches, sanding is the best way to go. Use a random orbital sander and start with an 80-grit abrasive for material removal. Gradually progress to finer abrasives until the wood surface is smooth enough for a new coat of stain/sealer.