How to use a garden sprayer for fence stain

Updated February 21, 2017

Liven up the appearance of your yard's fence or protect it from the outdoor elements by applying a coat of fence stain. Fence stains come in a variety of colours and help protect fence boards against damage from ultraviolet rays, water, humidity and mildew. Because fence stains have a thin consistency, using a garden sprayer is easier than applying stain by hand.

Wash the fence at least 24 hours before staining with a 1,500- to 2,000-psi power washer. Spray the fence with the wand positioned 18 inches away from the boards and work evenly from top to bottom.

Apply a wood preparation product to the fence when washing if stains from algae, mould, mildew or fungus are present. Follow the manufacturer's application directions. Rinse the fencing with clean water from the power washer after cleaning with the wood preparation product.

Allow the fence to dry completely before applying stain. Only apply stain on days with little wind, when the temperature is above 4.44 degrees C and when rain is not expected for at least 24 hours.

Stir the stain with a paint stirrer before pouring it into the garden sprayer. Stir each time before adding more stain to the sprayer.

Place a funnel on top of the garden sprayer's opening and pour the stain into the sprayer until it's full.

Pump the handle of the sprayer several times to pressurise it.

Hold the sprayer 6 inches from the fence and depress the trigger on the nozzle to release the stain.

Spray the fence evenly in smooth strokes, working in areas of about 6 square feet at a time.

Work the stain into the side of the fence boards by stopping after every section and brushing the fence sides with a stain application brush.

Clean the garden sprayer and brush when your'e done. If using a latex-based stain, wash sprayer and brush with soap and water. For an oil-based stain, use paint thinner to clean the garden sprayer and brush.


You may want to wear rain gear while pressure washing the fence. Before staining, lay out plastic sheeting over surrounding structures and landscaping to protect them from overspray. Apply a second coat if the wood colour does not appear consistent, allowing the first coat to dry as directed on the stain can. Most fence stains directions specify not to apply more two coats.


Wear a respirator when applying the stain to protect yourself from inhaling the fumes. Properly dispose of paint thinner and cleaning rags according to the directions on the paint thinner can.

Things You'll Need

  • Respirator
  • 1,500- to 2,000-psi power washer
  • Wood preparation product
  • Paint stirrer
  • Funnel
  • Garden sprayer
  • Fence stain
  • Stain application brush
  • Soap
  • Paint thinner
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Sommer Leigh has produced home, garden, family and health content since 1997 for such nationally known publications as "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "Midwest Living," "Healthy Kids" and "American Baby." Leigh also owns a Web-consulting business and writes for several Internet publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in information technology and Web management from the University of Phoenix.