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When to Stain a New Cedar Fence & How to do it

Updated: Jun 23, 2023


when to stain a new cedar fence

Whether planning a fencing project for your property or a client, you must know when to stain a new cedar fence.


Staining a fence is significant in fence maintenance. It not only enhances the overall appearance of the fence, but it also protects the wood from potential damage from exposure to the elements. An untreated fence is susceptible to rot, discoloration, and deterioration.


In this article, we’ll show you when to stain a new cedar fence and how to do it properly so that you can get the most out of your new cedar fence.


G&B Quality Cedar can meet all your cedar board needs. This blog is informational only and not a replacement for expert advice. Please consult a professional before starting any building project as your needs and specifications may vary and it may not reflect the most current building codes, regulations, or industry standards.


Do You Need to Stain a New Cedar Fence?

Is staining a new cedar fence a requirement? No, but it can be constructive in protecting your fence to maintain its quality. Keep reading to learn about the natural properties of cedar and the benefits and drawbacks of staining cedar fencing.


Understanding the Natural Properties of Cedar

Choosing the wood for your new fence is difficult, but deciding between the type of cedar, whether white cedar vs red cedar, then selecting the western red cedar grading that conforms to your specificities for your project can be a process. But, in the end, it is a worthwhile one because of the powerfully appealing natural properties of cedar.


Cedar is one of the world’s most durable wood, with a natural resistance to decay even when exposed to the harshest environments. But how long does a cedar fence last? A Western red cedar can last up to 30 years with quality maintenance and care.


Western red cedar’s long-last properties make it a highly sought-after wood. Its low density makes it a naturally outstanding sound barrier, the best type of fence for sound barrier building to block raucous sounds like traffic.


Our blog has a dedicated guide showing beginners how to build a sound barrier fence using Western red cedar. In detail, we show the differences between a cedar fence vs pressure treated fence in detail. Unsurprisingly, cedar is the winner due to its natural properties that offer a desirable appeal, including its low maintenance requirements and low-environment impact.


Wait - is cedar fencing sustainable? It is! One of the most sustainable materials you can use, cedar is a low-emission low-energy wood that can be reused for other projects.


Benefits and Drawbacks to Staining Cedar Fencing

Cedar’s natural properties make it an ideal wood for staining. This wood is free of resin and pitch, often found in softwoods. These natural substances are non-water soluble extractives that can bleed through the surface of the wood and harden after the solvent evaporates, a process called extractive bleeding.


This process can result in an unappealing look to your wood and discolor the finish. Cedar is exempt from this frustrating occurrence that could otherwise ruin the appearance of your new fence. Another example of how cedar’s natural properties make it an ideal wood for fencing, staining, and many other projects.


One drawback of staining cedar fencing is that the western red cedar lumber cost can be hefty. With the addition of having to buy equipment for staining the lumber, it can raise the price tag of building a cedar fence, especially if you have a large area that needs to be fenced in.


Whether staining a cedar deck or a cedar fence, the stain will protect the wood from elements that could otherwise damage the wood. For some, regular cedar fence maintenance can be a drawback as it will require time, energy, and money. However, staining your cedar fence will be worth it, as it will expand its lifespan while maintaining its appearance and quality.


When to Stain a New Cedar Fence

There are so many factors that come into staining a fence. For example, how long to wait to stain a new cedar fence, or what is the ideal climate for staining? Let’s discuss when the perfect time to stain a new cedar fence below.


Allowing the Wood to Weather and Dry

Regarding how long to wait to stain a new cedar fence, you should wait 4-8 weeks after installing a face before staining it. The wood needs to dry in the sun so that the moisture content of the wood decreases. Wood needs time to adjust to its new environment as it expands and contracts while it settles.


Once the wood has settled and dried, the time is right to stain your cedar fence.


Ideal Climate Conditions for Staining

Climate conditions play a significant role in the staining process. The best temperature to stain your cedar fencing is anywhere from 10°C-32°. The early morning and late afternoon are the best time of day to apply the stain to your fencing so the sun is not affecting how the stain absorbs into the wood.


If you stain the wood when it is too hot outside, the stain will not adequately evenly soak into the wood. This will result in the stain peeling off within the first month. On the other hand, if the stain is applied when it is too cold outside, it won’t absorb into the wood evenly and, therefore, not cure appropriately.


Check the weather forecast to ensure that there will be no rain. The stain needs 24 hours to cure and set in.


What is the Best Stain to Use on Brand New Cedar Fences?

Finding the best stain to use on a brand-new cedar fence can be a hassle when so many options exist. Continue reading for tips on selecting the correct type of stain color, and finish for cedar fencing.


Choosing the Right Type of Stain

Cedar wood does best with an oil-based stain rather than a water-based stain. This is because cedar has large pores that absorb the stain rapidly and can prevent the water-based from soaking in evenly. A quality oil-based stain works best with cedar wood and can actively protect the cedar from damage caused by mold, mildew, UV rays, and more.


Considering the Color and Finish

Picking the color of your stain can depend on many factors. For example, do you want your fence to match the color of your other yard appliances? Choosing a color that adds to the aesthetic of your home can wonderfully complement your property.


You can pick between a dark or a clear stain for an eye-catching finish that best pairs well aesthetically. For example, some of the most commonly used colors for privacy fences are dark brown, rich redwood, and warm cedar.


High-Quality Stains for Cedar We Recommend

Two of the best high-quality stains we recommend for your cedar fencing are Armstrong Clark Wood Stain and Defy Stains. These brands are some of the best in the market. Both offer diverse colors and opacities perfect for imploring a range of tastes and aesthetics for your finished fencing project while protecting your cedar fencing from damage.


How to Stain a New Cedar Fence: Step-by-Step Guide

In this next section, we’ll teach you how to stain a new cedar fence step-by-step. Follow this helpful guide below to start treating your new cedar fence.


Preparing the Fence for Staining

Use a cleaning solution of one gallon of hot water and four ounces of oxygen bleach to clean and prepare the cedar fence for staining. Ensure you are not using household bleach, as this product harms the wood and the environment.


Scrub the fence using a scrub brush and the cleaning solution to remove any dirt, mildew, or mold on the fence. Next, rinse the fence with water and allow 24 hours for the wood to dry before moving on to the next step.


Applying the Stain

Follow the instructions on the stain product you have chosen to apply to your cedar fence. Make sure to cover the entire fence and spread it evenly. An angled brush may be required to apply the stain to spaces between the wood planks.


If any spots on the fence bubble, puddle, or become blotchy, address these spots immediately with a brush to smooth them out.


Drying and Curing Process

The stain will require 24-48 hours to dry and set into the wood. The weather can affect how quickly or effectively the stain sets in.


Checking the weather forecast is essential so the conditions are ideal for the stain to soak into the wood properly. Avoid applying the stain to your cedar fence if rain is expected, as this can deter the stain from setting into the wood appropriately.


Follow Up Treatments

Does cedar need to be treated? Cedar wood does not require treatment unless you want to, but it is highly recommended to do so to help prolong the life and quality of your cedar fencing. Like cedar deck maintenance, your cedar fencing will require follow-up treatments to maintain its appearance and protect it from potential damage caused by UV rays, water, and mold.


We answer questions like, can cedar fencing be painted on our blog to provide more answers for any potential questions you may have in the cedar fence building and maintenance process. If you want the best for your cedar fence, read our blog for helpful tips and crafted guides on all things cedar.


Final Thoughts on When to Stain a New Cedar Fence

This article was dedicated to answering when to stain a new cedar fence to achieve the best application to treat your cedar fence for thorough protection and maintenance.


G&B is the #1 choice to order cedar lumber online for the highest quality cedar for your fencing. Our lumber is hand-picked, graded, and sorted to guarantee your satisfaction when our delivery truck drops off your selection of quality cedar. We offer wholesale lumber for those looking to buy in bulk and cedar fence posts and boards for an impressive sound barrier fence.


Get your cedar boards from G&B today for a quality aesthetic and long-lasting fence!


G&B Wholesale Lumber Incorporated does not assume any liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information provided in this blog post. The reader is solely responsible for any actions taken based on the information presented. Any reliance on the information is at the reader's own risk. G&B Wholesale Lumber Incorporated is not responsible for any loss, injury, or damage that may occur as a result of following the suggestions, tips, or recommendations provided in this blog post. Building projects involve inherent risks, and it is essential to exercise caution, obtain proper permits, and engage qualified professionals to ensure safety and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. The inclusion of external links, references, or recommendations in this blog post does not constitute endorsement or guarantee the quality, reliability, or suitability of the linked sources. The reader should independently verify the information and assess its relevance to their specific circumstances. The author reserves the right to modify, update, or remove the content of this blog post at any time without prior notice. It is recommended to check for the most recent updates or consult with professionals to ensure the information is current and applicable. By reading this blog post, the reader acknowledges and accepts the above disclaimer and agrees to use the information provided responsibly and at their own discretion.

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