Choosing the wood and stain for your fence

Picking out the wood type and paint or stain for your fence is one of the most important aspects of any woodworking project. This not only decides how it looks in the end, but how long it lasts. Picking out quality woods and stains will ensure your finished product both looks good, and will stand the test of time.

Picking out the wood

The first thing to consider is do you actually want real wood or not. Many people construct their fences out of plastics, which are made to look like real wood. As technology gets better, these plastic fences are starting to look more and more like the real thing. The obvious advantage here is durability. These will withstand any weather conditions as plastic is not susceptible to insects, weather, and other harsh elements of nature.

If you wish to take the wood route, you should first try and assess what other types of wood objects you have around your yard. You wouldn’t want to build a fence that contrasts the look of your shed or mailbox would you? If you were building shelves in your house, you wouldn’t design them with cheap wood that doesn’t match the surrounding trim would you? This is why it’s important to try and match up with the fence’s surroundings first.

If you want something that’s long lasting and bug resistant, pressure treated pine is the way to go. Through a series of chemical treatments, this lumber has excellent bug and water resistance that is unmatched by other wood types. However, many environmentally conscious people shy away from this option because it’s not all natural.

Western red cedar is another tough durable wood type, but it gets its resistance naturally. It has natural oils that protect it from mother nature instead of being chemically treated. Often times sheds and shelves are built out of this wood, so it’d be a great choice if you wish to match your other projects.

Tropical hardwoods are a great option if money isn’t an issue. This tough lumber imported from South America has unmatched beauty in the wood world. These hard, long lasting boards are sure to make your fence project look stunning.

Painting and staining

Once your shed, shelves, mailbox, and fence, or whatever your building is finished, you’ll need to stain or paint it. Staining is essential to long lasting wood that is exposed to the elements. For a fence, a convenient method to apply stain is to spray it on. For smaller projects like shelves or a mailbox, they make rub on stains which can be applied with a rag.

Whatever method you choose, you want to do it with as little contrast as possible. Your fence and shed should be very similar in color to each other. If one is light and one is dark, they won’t complement
each other like they could if they were the same color.

Because wood is natural, it is very susceptible to weather conditions. The sun and rain will wear away at your stain over time, requiring you to repaint your fence every few years. With wood’s natural beauty does come some form of responsibility and maintenance. However, given the right care, your fence will last for many years to come, and look good doing it.