Does a Wood Fence Need to be Sealed

By Mike

March 5, 2021

A wood fence adds definition, privacy, and curb appeal to any space, and knowing how to care for it properly will save you tons of time and money. There are a variety of wood fences you can choose from, but many wonder if their wood fence needs to be sealed.

Yes, it is recommended to seal your wood fence to extend its life and protect it against moisture. There are a variety of stains and seals you can choose from that are appropriate for your type of wood and will make your fence look beautiful. If you don’t seal your fence you could run into mold and mildew over the years which will be more work to take care of and remove than if you were to have sealed it to begin with.

We will break down why a wood fence should be sealed, how often you should seal your wood fence, and more. In this article, you will uncover why it is crucial to care for your wood fence, so you save money in the long run.

Does a Wood Fence Need to Be Sealed

An unsealed wood fence is open to a variety of factors that can cause deterioration over the years. An untreated and unsealed wood fence is left wide open to elements like water which can cause major issues.

When a thunderstorm rolls through your town, an untreated fence will soak up the water instead of repelling it. When this happens, you are left with a fence that begins to rot from the added moisture.

While sealing a wood fence is a major time commitment, it will save you from spending thousands on a new fence over the years. Many people recommend applying a seal with a paintbrush to make sure you hit every bit of your fence’s surface area. Applying sealant by yourself can be a tedious and time-consuming task.

Instead of spending hours by yourself sealing your fence, you can hire a professional service that will have it done in no time; or enlist your family to help with the process.

Your wooden fence may last a while in the elements, but over time the moisture will get the best of it causing warping and rot. Taking the time early on to apply a sealant will ensure you don’t have to worry about replacing your fence before it is time.

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When Should I Seal a Wood Fence

If your fence has been pressure treated to prevent bugs and other infestations, you cannot seal your fence right away. Pressure-treated wood is good to have for your fence, but it will not allow sealants to properly penetrate. If your fence is pressure treated, you should wait around eight weeks before you seal your fence.

The opposite is true if your fence is made out of any hardwoods such as cedar. Cedar fences are not pressure treated and can therefore have the sealant applied right away. You should still wait for around 4-8 weeks before you add sealant to allow the moisture from the wood to be minimized.

When sealing your fence, the sealant will be absorbed better the drier the wood is, so waiting until your fence dries out is crucial. Applying a sealant too early can alter the effects and deem it not useful. If you apply it too early, you will likely have to wait a while for your fence to dry out before you can apply sealant again.

Oftentimes the summer is the best time to seal your fence because the heat will absorb any moisture in your fence. Sealants should never be applied in full sun, so waiting for a cooler summer day is important.

What to Use to Seal a Wood Fence

Sealants with UV protection protect your wood fence from moisture as well as warping and fading caused by sunlight. The seal you want to use on your fence will be dependent on the type of wooden fence you have.

When it comes to staining your wood fence, you should use a paintbrush to ensure you get every single nook and cranny. Simply using a roller will leave many spaces untouched and, therefore, open to the elements. Some people have even resorted to rolling seal on and then coming back with a paintbrush to make sure every area was covered.

The best way to keep your fence looking new for years to come is to make sure to keep it clean from debris like branches and vines. Another step you can take is to clean it, let it dry completely, and then apply a waterproof and UV-resistant seal. Lastly, be mindful of repairs and fix them promptly instead of running into bigger issues down the road.

Consulting a professional on what stain is best for your fence will help you narrow down what will hold up against all types of weather. Another option is hiring a professional to come and seal your fence every 4 to 5 years.

What to Use to Seal a Wood Fence

It is often recommended to stain a wood fence first then seal it after it has been stained.

When it comes to stain, it can be applied every five years to stay effective and keep your fence looking good, whereas a sealant should be applied every two years. Sealant keeps moisture that can easily warp and destroy your fence at bay and minimizes fence repairs caused by moisture.

Staining your fence should always be done before sealing and therefore allowing the proper amount of time for the stain to dry before applying sealant. Stain adds visual interest and appeal, while sealant keeps out moisture and water.


Before sealing and staining your fence, make sure any vines or greenery is trimmed back. This can add moisture to your fence, which will prevent the stain and sealant from drying properly. Also, be mindful of anytime you water your yard while your stain is drying. Turning on your sprinklers can revert the process and keep the stain from drying correctly.

Conclusion

After you have your wood fence installed, many people wonder if they need to seal their fence or not. Sealing your fence is the best way to ensure the longevity of your fence and keep moisture at bay.

The best way to seal your fence is to make sure your fence is completely dry. Which means that after a fence is installed, you often have to wait 4-8 weeks before you can apply sealant effectively. Applying a sealant to your wood fence will offer a variety of benefits. You will keep moisture away from your wood fence, which will prevent rot. By utilizing a UV protectant sealant you will also minimize the sun’s effect on the color of your fence.

Many people will also stain their fence before applying a sealant to add visual appeal and added moisture-wicking ability. When it comes to sealing your fence you should plan to seal your fence or hire someone every 4-5 years.

About the author

Hi I'm Mike! I'm the owner, writer, and sometimes editor of Foundedproject.com. Being a new homeowner can be a little daunting, which is why I created this blog. I write about problems that a new home owner might run into. 

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