Staining is a popular solution to maintain and keep a fence protected from weathering and looking its best. Not only does stain allow for color matching a home, but it also allows the natural wood grain to show through. Yet, many homeowners wonder, “How much fence stain do I need”?
After all, a good quality stain can be costly and extra trips to the hardware store are often frustrating. An essential step in a staining project is accurately estimating how much stain is needed.
Multiplying the length and height of the fence should be the first calculation before buying stain. This equation will provide the surface area of the fence in square feet.
But, if staining both sides of the fence, a homeowner must double the square feet for an accurate number. Square feet are an important indicator of the amount of stain required. Many stain brands will list coverage in square feet right on the can.
Remember that not all stain applies equally, and the coverage area will vary between brands. One can of stain often cover around 150 square feet, but some offer up to 200 square feet per gallon. Take the stain coverage and divide by the total square feet of fence to determine how much is necessary.
Another factor that could increase the amount of stain required is how weathered the wood appears. For example, if a homeowner has neglected a fence for a few years, the dry wood will soak up more stains.
Brand new pickets from the hardware store can still hold a bit of moisture and need to dry out before applying a stain. While many agree it’s essential to allow the wood in new fences to dry out a bit, going too long before staining can cause cracking. If the fence appears dry, consider purchasing an extra stain for full coverage.
The above equation works excellent if the fence in question is a typical design with dog ear pickets placed adjacently. But, several other designs of wood fences, such as shadowbox, need a change to the numbers. Shadowbox is a wood fence design with overlapped construction and alternating spaces.
One method to calculate for shadowbox multiplies the square footage by one and a half instead of two. Return the extra to the hardware store if left with unopened gallons of stain following the project.
One bit of preparation may help the stain last longer. To ensure the fence is ready for staining, consider a premium cleaner that will remove dirt, pollen, and mildew. Wood cleaning products designed for pressure washers work great for removing material that could hinder stain performance.
Once the fence is thoroughly cleaned and dried, it’s time to equip the brush rollers and get to work. A freshly stained fence looks great and helps protect a homeowner's investment.