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The Best Wood Fence Paints of 2023

A wooden fence is pictured in a backyard.

A wood fence not only marks the boundaries of your property, it also enhances your home’s exterior aesthetics. However, over time, the elements can wreak havoc on this wooden masterpiece, which can lead to dullness and decay. The best solution? Staining.

Dive into this comprehensive guide to understand the best way to stain a wood fence and the incredible options available for the best wood fence stain.

Understanding the Benefits of Staining a Wood Fence

Preserve and Protect Against Weather Elements

When you use the best exterior wood stain for your fence, you’re providing a shield against sun, rain and snow. This protective layer prevents the wood from becoming gray and old before its time.

Prevent Rot, Decay and Insect Damage

The best stain for old wood fences or new ones acts as a deterrent for insects and prevents water from seeping into the wood to help reduce the risks of rot and decay.

Enhance the Natural Beauty of the Wood

By using the best wood stain for fencing, you not only protect but accentuate the wood’s natural grain and beauty.

Choosing the Right Stain

Different Types of Stains


ZAR® Deck & Siding Clear Waterproof Wood Sealer is a fantastic choice for those looking to protect and enhance the natural beauty of their wood fences. This premium quality product provides a clear protective coating that not only waterproofs but also resists UV light and mildew. Its advanced technology enhances wood’s natural grain and texture to maintain its color and prevent unsightly graying. 

The sealer is easy to apply and has a quick-drying formula, which makes it a practical and time-efficient choice for fence maintenance. Its versatility extends its use to decks, siding and other outdoor wood surfaces for comprehensive protection for your exterior woodwork. It’s a trustworthy stain that will help ensure the longevity and aesthetic appeal of your fence.


ZAR Deck & Siding Semi-Transparent Stain is another excellent option for those who desire a rich color in their wood fences while still showing off the natural grain and texture. This high-quality stain penetrates deep into the wood to provide exceptional adhesion and resistance to peeling and blistering. It offers robust protection against the sun’s UV rays, rain and snow to significantly extend the life and maintain the beauty of your fence. 

Easy to apply and fast-drying, ZAR Deck & Siding Semi-Transparent Stain is also resistant to mildew, which makes it an ideal, practical and durable stain solution for your fence, deck, siding or other outdoor wood surfaces.


ZAR Solid Color Deck & Siding Coating is the premium choice for those who wish to give their fences a solid color while providing superior protection. This high-quality coating conceals the wood grain but accentuates the texture to help ensure a beautifully uniform finish. Its advanced formula offers excellent adhesion to prevent peeling and blistering. 

It’s highly resistant to UV rays, rain and snow and can safeguard your fence from the harshness of the elements. The coating is also resistant to mildew and can be used on various outdoor wooden surfaces. 

Factors to Consider When Selecting Stain Colors

Choosing the right stain color is essential for woodworking and architectural projects. The correct shade can emphasize the wood’s natural qualities and match the overall design theme of an area. With so many options available, it’s vital to evaluate specific factors when selecting a stain color.

  • Wood Type: Different fence woods absorb stains differently.

  • Surrounding Landscape: Take into account nearby plants, flowers and overall landscape colors.

  • Climate and Weather: Local weather conditions can impact stain longevity and color retention.

  • Exposure to Sunlight: Fences in direct sunlight may require UV-protective stains.

  • Neighborhood Aesthetics: Ensure the chosen color harmonizes with the surrounding homes.

  • Durability Needs: Fences are exposed to elements. Consider stains that offer added protection.

  • Maintenance Frequency: Some colors may require more frequent reapplication than others.

  • Transparency Level: Decide between transparent, semi-transparent or solid stains based on visibility preferences.

  • Local Regulations: Some neighborhoods have restrictions on fence colors or finishes.

Preparing the Wood Fence

Thoroughly Clean

Before you dive into staining, ensure the wood is clean. Remove dirt, algae and old paint.

Sand the Surface

Sanding evens out the wood surface, removes old finishes and makes it receptive to the new stain.

Apply a Wood Conditioner (if Necessary)

Especially crucial for softwoods, a conditioner helps to ensure even stain absorption.

Applying the Stain

A person is staining a wooden fence with a paintbrush.

Select the Appropriate Weather Conditions for Staining

When planning your staining project, it’s essential to consider the weather conditions. Optimal staining occurs when the weather is dry and mild. Here are some factors to keep in mind:


The best temperature for staining is between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Stain can thicken in cold weather, which can make it challenging to apply, and it may not dry correctly. On the other hand, high temperatures can cause the stain to dry too quickly and prevent it from properly soaking into the wood.


Aim to stain your fence on a day with low humidity. High humidity can prolong the drying time and can even prevent the stain from fully drying, which can leave a sticky, unfinished surface.


While direct sunlight can speed up the drying process, it can also cause the stain to dry too quickly, which can result in uneven color and poor penetration.


Avoid staining your fence if rain is forecasted within 12 to 24 hours. The stain needs adequate time to penetrate the wood and dry before being exposed to moisture.

Use Brushes, Rollers or Sprayers for Even Application

Different stains may require different methods of application due to the viscosity of the stain and how it will be absorbed by the wood.

  • Clear stains and sealers can be applied with polyester brushes, stain pads or rollers.

  • Semi-transparent stains will benefit from an application with a synthetic brush or roller with a small nap cover.

  • You can apply solid stains using various methods such as a brush, roller, foam pad applicator or spray. If you choose to spray, it’s recommended to dry brush or back roll the coating for consistent color.

Stain One Section at a Time to Avoid Overlap Marks

Staining in sections helps to avoid overlap marks that may occur when the stain starts to dry in one area while still being applied to another. Start at the top and work your way down, making sure to complete each board before moving on to the next. Remember to use a consistent amount of stain and apply it evenly across the surface. 

Tips for Staining Difficult Areas

Handle Corners, Edges and Narrow Spaces Effectively

Use smaller brushes or detail tools for these tricky spots.

Stain Fence Posts and Caps for a Uniform Look

Don’t overlook these elements — they’re vital for a cohesive appearance.

Techniques for Staining Intricate Woodwork or Decorative Elements

Consider sponge brushes or artist brushes for detailed work.

Drying and Curing

After staining, allow ample time for drying to ensure that the stain sets well and provides maximum protection. The time to wait before adding additional coats varies from 30 minutes to 4 hours. As a general rule, 24 hours is required for complete curing. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specifics.

Maintaining Stained Wood Fences

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

To extend the longevity of your stained fence and keep it looking its best, regular cleaning and maintenance are crucial. Here are some steps to follow for effective upkeep:

Regular Washing

Dust, dirt, mold and mildew can accumulate on your fence, particularly in damp or shaded areas. Regularly clean your fence with a soft brush and a mixture of mild detergent and water. Rinely thoroughly with a garden hose. For deeper cleans, consider using a power washer on a low setting to avoid damaging the wood.

Annual Inspections

Perform an annual inspection to catch potential issues early. Look for signs of wear and tear such as peeling, flaking or fading stain, splintered or cracked wood and loose or missing hardware. Address these issues promptly to prevent further damage.

Quick Repairs

If you notice any damage during your inspections, take swift action to fix the issues. If the wood is splintering or cracked, sand it down and reapply the stain as needed. Replace any damaged boards or hardware.

Touch up any Worn or Faded Areas

With constant exposure to the sun and elements, you may need to touch up certain sections occasionally.

Restain the Fence Periodically to Maintain its Beauty and Protection

Even with the most durable stain, your fence will eventually need a fresh coat. On average, a fence should be restained every 2 to 5 years, depending on the climate and the quality of the previous stain job. Before you start, thoroughly clean the surface and let it dry. 

Discover the Best Stains for Wood Fences with ZAR

Experience the transformative power of ZAR wood stains on your fences and other outdoor wood surfaces. ZAR products provide an unparalleled blend of protection and beauty to help ensure the longevity and aesthetic appeal of your treasured outdoor spaces. 

Whether you desire a clear sealer to accentuate your wood’s natural beauty, a semi-transparent stain for a rich color that still showcases the grain or a solid color for a bold, uniform finish, ZAR has you covered. 

Contact us today to locate a retail outlet near you!