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Six Best Stains For A Cedar Fence

While cedar is considered a perfect wood for building fences, exposing it to the elements may reduce its lifespan. Staining can beautify and help your wood fence last longer at the same time. If you are looking for recommendations on the best wood stains in the market, you’ve come to the right place. We have consulted experts to come up with a list of the best stains for your cedar fence.

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Here is a list of the best stains for your cedar fence:

  1. Ready Seal Natural Cedar Exterior Stain and Sealer For Wood: Best Overall
  2. Krylon Exterior Semi-Transparent Wood Stain: Best for the Budget
  3. #1 Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain for Decks, Fences, & Siding: Best for the Environment
  4. Thompson's Waterseal Semi-Transparent Waterproofing Stain, Woodland Cedar: Best for Wood Preservation
  5. Defy Extreme Semi-Transparent Wood Stain: Best Clear Stain
  6. Seal-Once Nano Penetrating Wood Sealer: Best For Pets

Since there are a lot of wood stains on the market, we have narrowed down the list for you to choose from. In the article, we will talk about these options in detail and more. Keep on reading to learn about wood stains and each one of these products. 

Cedar fence built in a newly built house, Six Best Stains For A Cedar Fence

What Is Wood Stain?

Wood stain is used to color the wood. Apart from coloring the wood, stain is also applied to bind the wood and make it stronger. Staining is permanent so you have to be careful in choosing the stain you’ll use. 

A man holding a paint brush while painting the cedar fence with wood stain

Best Stains For A Cedar Fence

Cedar is often used for fencing because it has natural oils that keep insects out. This type of wood is also resistant to rot. With that said, should you stain it, or let the natural color show?

Although cedar resists moisture and insects, other factors will contribute to fast decay. If you stain the wood, you are not only preserving its natural beauty but also keeping it protected from the elements like harsh UV rays. 

When choosing a wood stain, consider its ease of application, sealing properties, and moisture resistance. Here are some stains you can choose from:

professional painting the wood with exterior stain

1. Ready Seal Natural Cedar Exterior Stain and Sealer For Wood: Best Overall Stain

Ready Seal wood stain is good for exterior projects, especially fences. It is best known for its ease of application. According to the manufacturer, the priority during this stain’s formulation is ease of use.

Because it is easy to apply, contractors and homeowners save valuable time on their wood projects. As the name suggests, it is a sealer and stain rolled into one. The stain comes in one or five-gallon containers. There are 10 colors to choose from.

How to apply Ready Seal Wood Stain and Sealer

  1. You can use a roller, a brush, an airless sprayer, or a pump-up sprayer for application.
  2. Rinse the fence 48 hours before application. Let the wood dry completely.
  3. Apply the stain directly. There is no primer needed. It doesn’t require diluting or thinning. Back-brushing is also not needed. Moreover, Ready Seal is formulated to produce no laps, runs, or streaks.
  4. Unlike other stains, there is no required temperature range when applying this one.
  5. Spread and wipe the excess stain.

Click here to see this stain on Amazon.

2. Krylon Exterior Semi-Transparent Wood Stain: Best For Your Budget

Because Krylon comes in a can, this one is best for convenience. It is also best for your budget. A 12-ounce can cover 25 square feet of non-porous surface.

This wood stain is good for all outdoor wood projects. It has UV protection and is water-repellant. It is good for quick repairs or retouches on your fence. Its drying time is 24-48 hours. 

Click here to see this wood stain on Amazon.

3. #1 Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain for Decks, Fences, & Siding: Best For The Environment

This wood stain can be used on fences. Like the first two options, this stain also protects wood from UV Rays. It also defends fences from damage caused by water.

This wood stain contains less than 50 grams per liter of volatile organic compound content. Moreover, it is odorless and safe to use. This makes #1Deck Stain best in being environmentally friendly.

This wood stain is also easy to apply.

  1. Clean the surface. Rinse the wood thoroughly. There should be no traces of old stains, paints, or varnish on the surface. Sand the wood if necessary.
  2. Apply the stain with a sprayer.
  3. Coat vertical and horizontal surfaces twice. The interval between each coat should not be more than 20 minutes.
  4. Allow 24 hours of curing time.

Click here to see this wood stain on Amazon.

4. Thompson's WaterSeal Semi-Transparent Waterproofing Stain, Woodland Cedar: Best In Wood Preservation

This is also sealer and stain rolled into one. Because it is also a sealant, it is good for preventing water damage. It has advanced polymers which provide fade resistance. The finish is mold and mildew resistant.

Thompson’s WaterSeal is great for a cedar fence because it is lightly tinted. It will not overshadow the color of the wood. It also enhances the wood grain. Moreover, it protects wood from the sun's harsh UV rays.

How to apply:

  1. As with other stains, cleaning is essential before application.
  2. The manufacturer advises users not to mix this with other waterproofing products to avoid variations in the final appearance.
  3. Try covering a small patch before applying it over the entire surface. This is because the final color appearance is different from the initial application.
  4. Use a paintbrush, roller, or spray for application.
  5. Work from top to bottom at all times during application.
  6. Application should be one coat only. However, you can do a second coat if you need more color. The interval between the first and second application is two hours.
  7. Drying time depends on the temperature, but generally, the stain should be dry to touch in two hours.

Click here to see this sealant on Amazon.

5. Defy Extreme Semi-Transparent Wood Stain: Best Clear Stain

Defy Extreme Semi-Transparent Wood Stain is a clear wood stain that contains zinc nano-particles, which act as the wood's sunblock. It adds color and highlights the wood grain. It doesn’t only stain the wood but also seals it against moisture.

This wood stain can be used on fences, decks, and other natural wood surfaces. It provides a natural-looking flat finish.

How to apply:

  1. Clean the surface before application. Defy Extreme Semi-Transparent Wood Stain cannot be applied over old paint, old varnish, or old stains.
  2. After cleaning, use a brightener to neutralize the wood.
  3. Avoid applying the stain if it the weather is too hot. Do not apply in direct sunlight as well.
  4. Do a water test before application. After cleaning and drying, sprinkle a bit of water onto the wood. If it doesn’t soak in quickly, do not apply the finish. This means that the wood is not dry enough to absorb the finish.
  5. Use a high-quality nylon hand brush for application. You can also use a car wash brush, pump spray, staining pad, or paint roller for application. Back brush  to guarantee uniform application.
  6. For vertical fences, start from the bottom up.
  7. Allow 24 hours for curing time.

Click here to see this wood stain on Amazon.

6. Seal-Once Nano Penetrating Wood Sealer: Best for Pets

Some stains and sealants are not pet friendly. In addition to preserving, protecting, and enhancing your cedar fence, Seal-Once Nano Penetrating Wood Sealer is also good for your beloved furry friends. Because it has low VOC levels, it is non-toxic and won’t harm plants, people, or pets.

Application

  1. Before sealant application, wood preparation is necessary. Let the surface dry completely after cleaning.
  2. Apply the sealer if the surface temperature is between 45 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. If the forecast calls for rain in the next 12-24 hours, postpone application .
  4. You should test a small area to check its appearance and penetration before fully applying the product to your fence.
  5. Back brush for best results.
  6. You can apply a second coat even if the first coat is still wet, but make sure the sealant has penetrated the wood already.
  7. When you are applying the Seal-Once Nano Penetrating Wood Sealer under direct sunlight, you need to spray water and apply the sealer immediately to the surface.
  8. Do not use this with other water-sealing products.
  9. It takes two to three hours for the surface to dry after application. Curing time is 24-48 hours.

Click here to see this wood stain on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

Cedar fence built in a newly built house

Choosing the best stain for your cedar fence depends on the product's capability to resist moisture, its sealing properties, how easy it is to apply, and its eco-friendliness.

All the products covered here have the capability to protect your cedar fence from the elements. You can pick the one that's suitable to your needs.

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