As wood ages and weathers, the finish of your fence will begin to suffer. Staining is an excellent way to completely revitalize your wooden fence without hiring a professional or breaking the bank. If you’ve recently checked out your local home improvement store and seen how many wood staining products were available, you likely felt overwhelmed. With so many products available, which one should you choose?
Color selection, durability, and ease of application should all be considered when choosing a stain for refinishing your fence. Does your stain include a sealer? If not, you’ll need to apply one before beginning the staining process. While there is a lot to keep in mind, we’ve simplified the process for you with the following ten reviews of the best fence stains on the market right now.
|Model||Price||Available Shades||Editor Rating|
|Ready Seal Exterior Wood Stain|
|Sashco Semi-transparent Wood Stain|
|Woodrich Brand Timber Oil||3 Shades||4.10/5|
|DEFY Semi-Transparent Wood Stain||7 Shades||3.90/5|
With over eight different shades to choose from, it’s hard to beat the selection that the Ready Seal 512 exterior wood stain and sealer provides. Better than the color selection though is the performance. This product saves you time and money by combining sealing and staining into one step and one material. On top of this, it requires no diluting or thinning and can be used in a paint sprayer. In our experience, it was a pleasure to use with the sprayer. That said, there were no drips or runs when applying by brush.
Despite all of these positive qualities, the Ready Seal 512 is actually very affordable. It’s also biodegradable, so you don’t have to worry when you wash off your tools afterward. Although you can add a second coat after only 45 minutes of drying time, for a full cure, you’re going to need to wait 48-72 hours. This is the only drawback to this product, though. Every material will require curing time before it’s ready for use. For us, all of this adds up to the best fence stain overall.
This premium wood stain from SaverSystems is the one we believe packs in the best value for the price. Available in 1-gallon and 2.5-gallon containers, this stain gives you four finish options to choose from. It’s water-based, so it’s VOC-compliant and easy to clean up. Since it’s a stain and sealer in one, it does resist mold and mildew. That said, we didn’t think it was quite as effective at sealing as the Ready Seal 512 in our first spot, which is why the SaverSystems’ product is relegated to second place.
This formula is durable, resisting fading, graying, and peeling, which helps it to last for a long time when used on softwoods. It’s not recommended for use in hardwoods. The four different color finishes available all look very nice and apply well. The consistency was great to work with and never felt too runny. We had good luck using brushing it as well as spraying it. In all, this is a very high-quality sealer and stain system that we think is the best fence stain for the money.
Looking for a deep and luxurious finish for your fence? The Sashco Transformation deck and fence stain gave us one of the most beautiful finishes of any stain we tested. Semi-transparent so the wood grain shows through, this stain is available in six different color variations for you to choose from. Expect to pay a premium for the rich look of the Sashco stain though. It’s one of the most expensive ones we tested. Of course, it’s also a pleasure to apply this material. It’s not runny, though it’s also not too thick. We had equally great experiences brushing, rolling, and spraying this stain in our testing.
Despite being one of the priciest options, this product doesn’t have a sealer built-in. This means you’ll need to seal your deck first before applying the stain if you want to achieve the best results. Naturally, this will cost you more time and money, but we think that the rich finish this stain provides is worth the extra expense. If money is no object, this is the stain we recommend. For more budget-minded consumers though, we still recommend the Ready Seal 512.
The Woodrich Brand 10TO Timber Oil deep penetrating stain provides a rich natural finish that does help accentuate the natural beauty of wood. We appreciated the run-free application that made it a breeze to apply in any way we chose. Sprayers and brushes will both provide equally pleasing finishes with this product. Even better, this stain can be used on new wood. Many other stains require the wood to be aged first, so this is a big advantage for the Woodrich Brand stain.
Despite being an excellent stain overall, it’s definitely not perfect. For starters, it’s very expensive, priced between our top choice and our premium pick. Despite the extra cost, it doesn’t include a sealer to save you time and money. We prefer the products with a sealer built-in because it provides so much benefit. In the end, we liked this stain, but we don’t think it packs the best value for the price.
Fortified with Zinc nanoparticle technology, the DEFY Extreme semi-transparent exterior wood stain reflects harmful UV rays and protects your fence for improved weather resistance. Better yet, this also helps to prevent mildew and mold as well. This formula is a sealer and stain together so you won’t need a separate sealer application. It’s water-based for easy cleanup and available in 7 color variations so you can finish your fence in the hue that best suits you.
Despite being a nice finish overall, we think the DEFY is a bit overpriced. It’s one of the most expensive stains we tested, though there’s nothing about it that makes it stand out above the rest. We weren’t impressed with the sealer in this product either. In our testing, it seemed to last for only about six months before the wood started absorbing water again. However, this isn’t the worst thing about this product. No matter what we did, we ended up with a very patchy finish. It was very difficult to achieve an even coating with this product and our fence was left with dark and light patches all over.
The Olympic Stain maximum wood stain is an affordable product that comes in eight different finishes. It is a stain and sealant in one product, saving you time and money by allowing you to stain and seal at the same time. Despite this, we felt this product had pretty poor longevity overall. Within just one year, our fence was starting to show serious signs of weathering. The color had faded drastically and needed a new coat. Unfortunately, the finish was never that appealing to start. We were not impressed with the way that the color of this stain looks—sort of tacky and not at all luscious like we’d hope to see.
Restore-A-Deck wood stain offers same-day prep and staining. It does have sealer built-in to save you the separate step of sealing your fence first. With UV protection, this stain will keep your wood protected from the sun’s most harmful rays. Too bad it can’t be applied to new wood! Before applying, you’ll need to let your wood weather for a year.
This product is available in four finishes, though we’d like to see a better selection. However, the real drawback to this stain that’s keeping it from earning our higher recommendation is the exorbitant price. This stain is priced well and above many of its competitors, though we don’t think it offers very good value.
Affordably priced, the Wood Defender transparent fence stain is a solid product, though not one of our favorites. It’s only available in four different colors, a mediocre selection. While most of the stains at this price point have a sealant built-in, the Wood Defender does not. We did like the deep, even finish that it produced, and it’s safe for extreme climates. The two-year guarantee can provide some peace of mind, but we’d like to see it last longer than that.
While many of the other stains had a drip-free and run-free formula, we experienced quite a few drips with this product. We were able to clean them up for a great finished coat, but we still prefer the run-free formula that many other stains have.
The SEAL-ONCE nano-penetrating wood sealer and stain comes in 11 different tints, offering one of the most diverse selections of the products we tested. You’re going to pay a premium for the options though because this is a very expensive material. As a wood sealer, it works excellent and helps stop moisture from getting into the wood. However, it’s lacking the crucial UV-protection that most stains at even lower prices include. The worst thing about this product though is how thin and runny it is. When we applied it, we experienced many drips and runs that required careful attention to smooth out before it starts to tack up. Overall, we’d suggest saving some money and picking one of the higher-recommended products in our top three.
What sets the Rust-Oleum redwood fence stain apart from the rest is its unique application method. Instead of using a brush or sprayer, you’ll hook your hose to the bottle and spray through it. While this is a novel idea, we didn’t think it worked very well in reality. It did provide a very quick way to apply the stain, but it also created a huge mess to clean up. There was a great deal of overspray and you have very little control over the application. To make matters worse, this is one of the more expensive products and you’ll be wasting a lot of it thanks to the interesting method of application.
After reading the reviews of the ten best fence stains in 2020, you should be ready to refinish your fence and breathe some new life into it. As a recap, we though the Ready Seal 512 exterior wood stain and sealer was the best option overall. Affordable, biodegradable, available in 8 colors, and with sealer built-in, this stain will cover all of your bases. We thought it had a beautiful finish overall that showed it can withstand the elements.
For the best value, we recommend the SaverSystems #1 Deck premium wood stain. It’s water-based and includes a built-in sealer, but the beautiful finish is what makes this product stand out. Finally, for a premium finish at a premium price point, we suggest the Sashco Transformation deck and fence stain. The deep rich look will rejuvenate your fence with a luxurious finish that’s a pleasure to apply. We’re confident recommending any of these options to help bring your fence back to life.
Featured Image Credit By: handymustache, amazon
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!