restaining staining a wood fence
August 11, 2005 8:36 PM   Subscribe

Restaining a wooden fence...

I am planning on restaining a fence at my home soon and have a couple questions. I beleive the wood is cedar. What's the best/fastest way to remove the old stain? sanding? chemicals? Do I even need to? Much of the existing stain has already faded.

I also understand it needs to be cleaned before staining, should i rent a power washer or just spray it off with the hose?

Finally, I'd like to know if I should apply something over the stain to perserve it, perhaps some type of UV protection?

I found some information on google, but it's been sparse and contradictory. Any other tips or suggestions will be welcome as well. Thanks!
posted by entropy to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I tried out something called "deck cleaner" that turned out to be a diluted solution of chlorine bleach. You spray it on, wait about ten minutes and hose it off. It actually worked wonders and took two years worth of raw wood oxidation off, leaving the cedar boards looking close to new.

Then I applied stain over that for a fresh look.

Be careful when you shop for the bleach stuff. I believe there are things called deck wash that are really lightweight, and I think it was deck cleaner that did the trick. Probably should read the ingredients and get the one that includes bleach of some sort.
posted by mathowie at 11:16 PM on August 11, 2005

Deck washes are usually oxalic acid. They remove the gray, dingy layer that's been damaged by the sun and restore much of the original color, but you have to wash them off quickly so they don't etch the wood. This is more important on deck floorboards and railings.

The second caution is a power washer. These, too, can damage the wood and create a splinterful situation if you're not careful. A fence isn't that critical, though. But a hose (and perhaps a deck cleaning brush, looks like a small push broom) may be all you need.

You don't need to do anything to remove the old stain, unless you want to lighten the color.

A good stain is its own UV protection; the darker the better. Coloration is more important than (say) price or brand.
posted by dhartung at 1:16 AM on August 12, 2005

Regarding the power washer -- when you rent one, it is likely to be a very powerful, gas-powered monster, and if you don't know what you're doing with it, you can easily cause a lot of damage to the wood. If you have a Home Depot nearby, they sell an electric power washer for about $125 that is great for washing decks, fences, and things like that, because it is powerful enough to get the gunk off, but not so powerful that it destroys everything in its path. You still have to be a bit careful, but it is nowhere near as risky in the hands of an amateur. Plus, at that price, if you use it twice, you've paid for it. Its a good thing to have.
posted by spilon at 7:05 AM on August 12, 2005

Good note, spilon, thank you.
posted by sageleaf at 7:26 AM on August 12, 2005

Also give your fence a good week to dry out after power washing, the stain won't be able to penetrate the wood if the wood is saturated with water. Using spilon's low cost electric, if you've got the fan spray covering a whole board at once your at about the right distance.
posted by Mitheral at 9:38 AM on August 12, 2005

« Older Cousin of tinnitus?   |   Opening html from an Enhanced CD in OS X... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.