10 Best Fence Stains 2021

If you spend a lot of time outside in your yard, you understand what an asset a good fence stain can be. Your backyard fence is a great way to extend your living space, enjoy the outdoors, and create a unique setting for entertaining. However, wood fences are constantly exposed to the elements.

Rain, sunlight, and extreme temperatures will quickly take their toll on unprotected wood. By applying a good quality fence stain to your wood fence, you will be able to enjoy it for years to come.

Staining your backyard fence is usually an easy, do-it-yourself job that will keep your fence looking great for years of enjoyment. The best fence stain will both look great and require minimum maintenance.

Pre-Shopping Tips

  • Time. You should wait at least three weeks after installation before you stain your fence; this allows the new wood to settle and open its pores allowing the wood to absorb the stain better.
  • Preparation. If you are applying stain to an old fence, first make sure it is free of all dirt, debris, and any mildew. It is best to clean the surface of older fences a few days before you plan to apply your stain.
  • Protection. Always wear protective gear such as goggles and latex gloves. Most stains contain toxic chemicals, so you’ll want to properly protect your skin and eyes.

Top 10 Fence Stains Comparison Table

PictureNameType of StainPriceRating (1-5)
Picture
Name
Type of Stain
Price
Rating (1-5)
1. Penofin F3MCLGA - Ultra Premium Stain Clear$$4.8
2. DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain Clear$$$4.4
3. Thompsons WaterSeal TH.043831-16 Solid Waterproofing StainClear$$4.5
4. Defy Extreme Wood Stain Cedar Tone 1-gallon Semi-transparent$$4.4
5. Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Wood Stain and Sealer Semi-transparent$$$$4.7
6. Woodrich Brand Timber Oil Deep Penetrating Stain for Wood Decks, Wood Fences, Wood Siding, and Log Cabins Solid$4
7. Bond One Time Wood Protector Solid$$$4.5
8. Eco Wood Treatment Wood Treatment and Preservative Clear$$4.6
9. Krylon K03604000 Exterior Semi-Transparent Wood Stain, Redwood, 12 Ounce Semi-transparent$3.9
10. THOMPSONS WATERSEAL 041851-16 Transparent Stain, Cedar Semi-transparent$$4.5

Buying Information

Don’t buy any stain for your fence without first reading this section.

Which product you choose to stain your fence depends on how much of the wood’s natural grain you wish to showcase, as well as how much time you are willing to invest in maintenance. There are three basic options when it comes to fence stains, each with its own pros and cons.

  • Solid Fence Stains. Generally lasting up to three to five years, a solid fence stain is a good choice if you don’t want the hassle of yearly reapplication, as this type of stain is the most weather-resistant. These opaque stains will hide the grain of the wood and may peel or crack like paint over time.
  • Semi-Transparent Fence Stains. Semi-transparent stains let a bit of your wood’s natural beauty show through. They are a great option for cedar fencing or any wood finish you want to showcase. Not as resistant to weather as solid fence stains, you will have to reapply semi-transparent stains about once a year.
  • Clear Fence Stains. Ideal for showcasing premium wood, a clear fence stain lets all of your wood fence’s natural grain shine through. You should expect to reapply clear stains every year. These stains provide only minimal protection from the weather and elements, so you should expect to see your wood fade to gray over time.

Top 3 Best Fence Stain Reviews

1. Penofin F3MCLGA – Ultra Premium Stain

Penofin Ultra Premium Stain is a favorite fence stain among do-it-yourselfers. It is easy to apply, simple to maintain, and incredibly affordable. It features built-in mildew protectors for an extra shield on your wood fence.

This clear fence stain is made with a Brazilian Rosewood oil base from sustainably harvested seeds, so if you are environmentally conscious, this is the stain for you.

As an oil-based wood stain, it brings out the natural look of the wood as well as provides protection.

This stain works well on a variety of woods and is guaranteed to bring out all the natural beauty and color of cedar, teak, redwood, mahogany, and even inexpensive pine. No matter what wood your backyard fence is made from, Penofin Ultra Premium Stain is the best fence stain for the job.

Pros
  • Easy to apply
  • Easy to clean up
  • Simple to maintain
  • Brings out the natural look of the wood
Cons
  • Color may turn black after exposure to the elements

2. DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain

Defy Extreme Exterior Wood Stain is an environmentally friendly option that is safe for both people and pets. It comes in 7 different colors such as butternut, driftwood gray, and redwood.

It cleans up easily with just simple soap and water, yet has all of the protection against mold, mildew, and weather that more conventional methods offer.

This stain goes on easily, with a slightly milky appearance, but dries crystal clear in under an hour so that you can enjoy your backyard fence almost immediately.

It holds up well, even through cold, wet winters, and doesn’t fade or yellow through the intense sun exposure of harsh summer heat. It is a great natural stain option for any climate.

Pros
  • Safe for pets and humans
  • Easy to clean
  • Color holds up well
  • Extremely durable
Cons
  • It may require two coats for durability

3. Thompsons WaterSeal TH.043831-16 Solid Waterproofing Stain

Thompsons WaterSeal TH.043831-16 Solid Waterproofing Stain offers low sheen protection for your wood fencing.

It creates a waterproof barrier so strong that you’ll be able to see the water bead right up on the surface of the wood. It works great on both chemically treated and untreated lumber.

Clean up is easy with just simple soap and water. It applies to either damp or dry wood in just one coat, dries clear, and allows the natural grain patterns of the wood to shine through.

Offering great protection against sunlight, mildew, mold, and water damage, this product will leave your wood fence looking great under even the harshest of conditions.

Pros
  • Easy to clean up
  • Dries clear
  • Works on treated and untreated lumber
Cons
  • Does not prevent UV graying

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Better to Paint or Stain a Fence?

We recommend that you stain a fence rather than paint it. If you stain a new fence, it will last longer and it is easy to maintain. Stain enhances the natural beauty of the wood.

How Many Coats of Stain do I Need For a Fence?

For solid-color stains, you just need one coat. For semi-transparent penetrating stains, you need two coats to protect the fence. After applying the first one, wait one hour before applying the second one.

Is it Better to Spray or Roll Stain on a Fence?

When it comes to staining new or previously stained wood decks and fences, not only is there a variety of stains to choose from but there are multiple ways to apply the stain.

You can use rollers or rollers with extension poles, brushes, or brushes with extension poles and one of the newest tools is airless sprayers.

Both roll-on and spray-on stains work for a fence, your choice depends on the look you’re going for. If you’re looking for a very natural finish, use a brush or roller. If you need to quickly stain a fence, it’s best to get an airless sprayer.

How Long Does Stain Last on a Fence?

It all depends on the type of wood and the brand of oil-based stain you are using. Most semitransparent stain lasts two to five years on fences. Solid-color stains last longer but are harder to renew when they become dirty.

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