The fence, deck, pergola, cedar shakes, and other wooden structures on your property are worth protecting. They provide an outdoor living space, privacy, and aesthetic appeal. Staining and sealing your fence, deck, cedar sided home, pergola, or wooden outdoor structure offers a number of benefits to the homeowner, including preservation of the wood, protection from the elements and wear, and to restore existing structures to their original beauty.
If your fence or deck has recently been built, you might need to wait a period of time before staining it. Although there are discrepancies about when a fence or deck should be stained, there is a general rule of thumb. If the wood has a moisture level below 13%, the fence or deck can be stained. However, delays might occur in the event of rain, so it is best to stain when there are a few clear weather days in a row.
In general, there are no temperature or sunlight restrictions on our oil-based penetrating stains. However, the wood must be dry, with a moisture level under 13%. As a result, in some parts of the country, it is generally safe to stain year round.
We always recommend that you pick the one you like! Gone are the days of having to have the fence or deck color match the house color. Some stain colors tend to be a bit more popular than others due to variances in maintenance or appeal. Darker colors generally require less maintenance than lighter or natural tones. Dark stains and black stains have become popular for creating a bold look, and often produce a great contrast against homes or other structures, with the added benefit of requiring less maintenance. However, if you need a bit more guidance, there are a few things that you can take into consideration when choosing a stain color.
If you have existing wooden structures on your property, you might want to choose a stain that complements those existing colors. Another consideration you might need to take into account are any HOA regulations. Some HOAs require particular colors of stain or need advanced approval for stains. Keep in mind that colors appear slightly different in different lights. Just like how a paint color inside a house can look different at various times during the day, your fence or deck stain can appear slightly different in various lighting situations as well. It is always a good idea to stain a sample of the type of wood you are using so you can see it throughout the day to make sure it is the stain color you want.
When you stain your fence or deck, you are protecting the investment you made to build that structure. The cost of staining can vary slightly, but this is the general investment:
To have a fence stained, the price generally ranges from $0.7 - $1.25 per square foot on most projects. Because decks tend to have more details than fences, they are priced a bit differently. The floors range from $3.00 - $5.00 per square foot, steps range from $25.00 - $40.00 each, deck railings range from $10.00 - $20.00 per linear foot. Posts, beams, and undersides of the deck can be done for an additional cost.
Included in the service is a 3 year warranty on the stain, and 1 year warranty on the workmanship. Some charges might be applicable for additional services, including trimming the grass around the fence or deck, moving furniture, or removing lighting or decor from fences or decks. There are several other factors that can affect cost, including obstacles, pools, large landscaping, and ease of access.
In general, you want your contractor to be able to access the wooden structure with ease. Trimming back large landscaping such as shrubs and smaller trees from fence or deck lines will help your contractor be able to get to all parts of your fence or deck. Try to remove all furniture from decks, along with ornamental items or decor, such as hanging or potted plants, patio lighting (if it is against the fence or in the way of a deck structure), and outdoor rugs. Mowing the grass around the base of all structures is beneficial, along with weed eating along fence lines. Also, your contractor would appreciate that you turn off any scheduled sprinkler use.
Maintaining your outdoor space is just as important as maintaining your indoor space! Several times a year, it is best to clean stained decks and fences with a broom or leaf blower, to keep dirt particles and debris off the wood. A soft wash with gentle cleaning chemicals is recommended once a year to "sanitize" your wooden structures, and to kill any organic growth that your fence or deck might accumulate. Other than general cleaning, it is best to apply a maintenance coat of stain to your fence every three years to keep it looking perfect. For decking, this practice is best done every two years on horizontal surfaces and high traffic areas, and every four years on the vertical surfaces such as railings or spindles. This maintenance suggestion also depends on the color of stain you have chosen for your structure. Maintenance could be needed sooner for lightly pigmented colors or natural tones, while more heavily pigmented and darker stains tend to last longer between applications.
It is not too late to stain your fence or deck! Even an older structure can be cleaned and restored. If your fece or deck is not very old, a basic wash is usually needed prior to staining and sealing. If your fence or deck is a bit older, a full restoration might be necessary before staining. This would include a cleaning and a wood brightener application. For decks, the wood usually needs to be sanded smooth after the cleaning process has been completed and before the staining begins.