Best Stain for Wood Fence

If you’re a homeowner, you are well aware that a fence around your yard provides several direct benefits.

Fences keep children and pets contained while providing a valuable layer of security and privacy. Fences can also add value to your property by increasing curb appeal.

Of course, these benefits are only reaped if your fence is solidly built and adequately maintained.

When properly cared for, wooden fences can last a long time. If neglected, they’ll rapidly start deteriorating. One of the simplest ways to enhance the longevity of your wooden fence is to apply the best wood fence stain.

Remember that new fences need time to dry out. New wood is green wood and contains a lot of moisture. Once your fence has been installed and dried out for a few months, you can prepare it for staining.

When you’re ready to get to work, how do you choose the best stain for wood fence?

With so many different options all proclaiming themselves as the best, it can be overwhelming and confusing.

Fortunately, we’ll help you choose the best fence stain the easy way while also outlining 3 of our favorite stains for wooden fences. After reading this guide, there will be no excuse not to treat your fence this summer.

Choosing The Best Stain For Wood Fence

When choosing your wood fence stain, be sure to think about your desired result.

Many people just grab the first can of stain and go with it. They end up being entirely dissatisfied with the result.

Time spent planning is not time wasted and, once you’re clear about what you want your fence to look like, you can focus on these elements to simplify your buying decision.

Wood Type

You need to give consideration to the type of wood you’ll be working with.

Cedar, and redwood panels have more natural oils and need some time to weather. As they weather, they dry out and are able to accept stain easier.

Also, has the wood been pretreated with anything? If so, you should be clear about how it’s been treated so you can choose the most appropriate stain. Pressure treated wood fences need a few months to dry out, but once they do, will easily accept most stains.

Oil-Based or Water-Based?

There are 2 main options when it comes to buying the best fence stain:

  • Oil-based
  • Water-based

Water-based stains dry quickly, and some of the better ones have zinc nano-particles, that are highly resistant to mold and mildew. With advancements in waterborne technology in the last decade, many water-based stains will outlast oil based stains. Plus, you’ll get no fumes and no risk of flammability with water based stains. The only downside is, they take a little more work on the front end. By prepping the wood properly, water-based stains will give you the longest lasting finish and a beautiful tone on your wood deck. If the wood isn’t properly prepped, you may see premature stain failure.

Oil-based stains will typically penetrate deeper into the wood, and they’re easier to apply. It’s easy to get a more even finish without lap marks showing. Oil-based stains require will usually require applications more frequently as they don’t last as long, but they’re easier to apply.  On the downside, oil-based stains take up to 48 hours to dry after application. They are packed with noxious fumes and flammable solvents, so apply with care. Additionally, they can be a food source for mold and mildew. If you see your deck turning black after using an oil based stain, then the mold may be feeding off the natural resins in the oil based stain.


In the end, do you want the stain color to hide the wood grain, or do you want the natural grain of the wood to show through?

The stain you choose will make a large difference in this.

Using a semi-transparent stain will ensure the wood grain remains visible while opaque stains will hide the grain.

Best Fence Stain Reviews

Here’s a brief breakdown of 2 of the strongest stains at your disposal.

1. #1 Deck Fence Stain

From #1 Deck, this stain is water based and is available as a semi-transparent fence stain.

Providing excellent wood protection and maximum lifespan, this fence stain has been formulated to deeply penetrate the wood and keep it safe from water damage and UV rays.

This stain is safe to use, and it’s remarkably easy to clean up once you’re done.


  • Easy to use
  • Beautiful color tones
  • Almost no odor
  • Eco-friendly


  • Semi-transparent has a very watery consistency  


2. DEFY Extreme Wood Stain

DEFY has always produced great products and this premium quality stain continues that tradition.

The stain is acrylic-based, and has added zinc nano-technology that repels mold and mildew. This formula delivers first-class waterproofing qualities, and it also helps to mitigate the damage inflicted by UV rays.

DEFY provides this stain in 6 semi-transparent colors and a clear, which is why we think it is the best stain for wood fences of any type.


  • Multiple colors to choose from
  • Lasts many years on fences
  • Easily applies with a pump sprayer


  • This stain requires you to clean and brighten the wood first. This makes more work on the front end, but to last, it’s necessary.

  1. […] treated wood is often the best choice for longevity and durability and is perfect for exterior projects. And when you use the best stain for pressure treated wood, your project will be protected from the […]

  2. […] over time and can be re-applied every year. It is the “tried and true” method from the past of staining wood and has been around for quite some […]

  3. […] we dig deeper into this guide, if you’re working on a fence project, then these ideas on the best stain for wood fences would surely interest you. Be sure to check them out, you won’t be […]

  4. pretty good stain choices here. I personally like DEFY brand.

  5. Great information on wood staining. Thanks

  6. I was very encouraged to find this site. The reason being that this is such an informative post. Thanks for sharing!

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