How to Stain Fences With Sprayers

Written by robert howard
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How to Stain Fences With Sprayers
A good quality penetrating stain will prevent fence wood from ageing prematurely. (Old classic wooden fence image by Dubravko Grakalic from

A penetrating stain is a natural choice for finishing a wooden fence. The stain protects the wood from moisture and damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight. Both airless and pump-up sprayers can be used effectively to apply stain to a wooden fence. Whichever style of sprayer you choose must by properly adjusted so that the spray pattern covers the proper span and applies the right amount of product to the wood. The correct use of a sprayer also involves waiting until the appropriate weather conditions prevail. The temperature should be moderate, and the day should be completely windless.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Sprayer (airless or pump-up)
  • Wood stain
  • Dry paint brush

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  1. 1

    Wait until the weather is right. The temperature should remain between 10 and 32.2 degrees Celsius while you apply the stain and for 24 hours after the stain application. Wait for a day with no wind.

  2. 2

    Select and adjust your sprayer's tip. If you are using a pump-up style sprayer, adjust the tip so that the spray pattern covers the width of a single board or two boards. With an airless sprayer, choose a spray tip with a large orifice and a spray pattern that matches the width of the fence boards. Your goal is to apply a high volume of product at the lowest possible pressure.

    Don't atomise the product by spraying at too high pressure and with too fine of a tip. Atomised stain will tend to sit on top of the wood and not penetrate properly.

  3. 3

    Spray the boards. Work in the direction of the boards, spraying from one end of the board to the other. Maintain a wet edge as you spray, and apply as much stain as the wood will absorb.

  4. 4

    Back brush the stained fence. After you have sprayed the stain to the fence, allow it to soak in for 15 minutes. With a dry paint brush, go back over the fence to remove any excess stain that has not completely penetrated into the wood surface.

Tips and warnings

  • The UV protection in stain is derived from the pigment in the product. A darker stain will tend to last longer than a lighter one. If longevity is a concern, select a darker colour of stain.
  • Wear protective clothing when spraying stain, including long sleeves, gloves, protective eye wear and a NIOSH approved respirator.
  • Do not spray stain on a windy day. If you do, you are likely to end up paying for auto detailing.

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