Wooden fences are exposed to all forces of weather. The sun, wind, and rain all beat on the wooden fence. As time goes by, the effect of the weather on the fence becomes visible. Mold and mildew grow on your fence and it starts to rot and decays. You can protect it from all these with a simple solution. Sealing.

Yes, you should seal your wood fence. Sealing protects your wooden fence from the effects of water and the weather. The sealant seeps into the wood and makes it waterproof. Thus, the wooden fence will not decay or rot. Sealing keeps your fence attractive and extends its useful life.

Make sure that your wooden fence is sealed before it is installed. When you do this, you will protect your fence from the first day and enhance its appearance.

Should I Seal My Wood Fence

Extend Its Life

Wood fence sealant helps to extend the life of your wooden fence. Wood swells when it is wet since it absorbs water that falls on it and from the environment. When the sun is up, the wood dries, and it contracts.

These reactions to the various weather patterns cause the wood to wear and tear. You will see cracks start to appear on your fence.

Your wood fence should last for about 15 years. If you don’t seal the wooden posts that make the fence, you might end up replacing it in five years.

The sealing compound is a chemical infusion in the wood that makes it waterproof. Moisture in the atmosphere and water drops that land on the wood cannot be absorbed. Thus the wood doesn’t have to undergo the wet and drying processes that make it weak and cause damage.

Keep it Attractive

Sealing the wooden posts of your fence also keep your fence attractive for longer. A new wooden fence is attractive to look at. It looks fresh, bright, and shiny. You would wish for the fence to look like this for all its useful life. Sealing it will ensure that it does.

If you don’t seal the wood on your fence, the reaction to weather forces will force it to discolor. Absorption of water and rapid drying in the sun causes the wood to change color and age. Sealing the wood prevents these reactions to the weather from taking place. Thus, the wooden posts can retain their color for the rest of their useful life.

Save Money And Time

Sealing your wooden fence also ensures that you save time and money.

As part of the maintenance of your wood fence, you need to inspect it for damage and repair the damage immediately. Most of the damage on the fence occurs from rotting and decaying. When you seal your fence, it will not rot or decay.

As a result, there won’t be any damage to the fence. Hence, you will not spend your money to hire a pro fence fixer or waste time repairing the damage.

Additionally, your fence will live to its maximum end of life. You will not spend money installing a new fence every few years.

How To Seal A Wood Fence

Follow these steps for a quick and easy DIY sealing of your fence.

Step 1

You will need a long-handled brush and wood cleaner. You can also use dishwashing soap and water to clean the fence. If mold and mildew are growing on your wood fence, you can use a mixture of 1 part bleach and three parts water to wash the wood and remove the mildew. Wash and scrub then let it dry completely.

Leave the wood to dry for 24 hours. It is best to seal your wood fence in the fall when there’s less moisture in the air.

Step 2

Get your wood sealant, preferably a polyurethane sealant. Mix it with water and pour it into a garden sprayer and shake well.

Step 3

Spray the sealant up and down the wood, the back, and the crevices. You can also use a paintbrush to apply the sealant.

Step 4

Don’t just spray on the front, spray also on the back and the horizontal planks holding the wood fence together.

Step 5

Leave the sealant on your wood to dry. Do not pour water on your wood or let any pets or plants come into contact or shade the fence until the sealant dries completely. Then apply a second layer of your sealant for the best effect.

When Should You Apply Sealant On Your Wood Fence

When to apply sealant on your wood fence depends on different factors. One of the major factors to consider is whether your fence is new or old. The next is the type of wood used to make your fence.

Depending on the type of wood you use on your fence, apply sealant on your fence at least four to eight weeks after installing your fence. Applying at this time ensures that the wood on your fence is completely dry or its moisture content has reduced.

If you do it before the moisture content is completely dry, the sealant does not stick onto the wood as it should. It also seals moisture in the wood and may still rot.

Some types of wood, such as cedar, do not rot or decay. Thus, you don’t need to apply a sealant to them. Or, you can apply the sealant as soon as you install a cedar fence.

If your fence is pressure treated, you may need up to six months before you can apply a sealant to it.

Once you have applied sealant on your fence the first time, you will need to apply a sealant annually. It keeps your fence looking attractive and ensures that it doesn’t rot or decay.

When applying the sealant to your fence, make sure it is a high-quality sealant. Low-quality sealants can be affected negatively and broken down by sunshine. This will cause your wood to absorb moisture which causes it to rot and weaken your fence.

How Do You Know When To Seal A Wood Fence

Before you apply sealant on your wood, you need to test it for readiness. Pour some water on your wood. Depending on how it responds, you will know if your wood is ready for sealing or not.

If the wood absorbs the water, then it is ready for sealing. However, if the water beads up, then the wood is not ready for sealing. You can check after a few weeks to a month for readiness.

How Do You Know When To Seal A Wood Fence

How To Take Care Of Your Fence

Installing a wooden fence on your property is a major financial investment. Consequently, you need to take good care of your fence to avoid wasting money by having to replace the fence too soon after installing it.

Here are some tips on how to take care of your fence to extend its useful life and to keep it looking attractive.

Wash Your Fence Regularly

To keep your fence looking good at all times, wash it every year. You can scrub the wood or use a pressure wash to remove dirt and organic matter growing on the wood.

A proper wash ensures that the fence reverts to its natural look. Sometimes, when washing your fence, you may scrub off the stain and sealant. If it does come off, strip it off, wait for the fence to dry then apply another layer of stain and sealant.

Regular Inspection And Repair Of The Fence

Regularly inspect your fence for damage and signs of wear and tear. Inspecting and repairing identified problems fast will ensure that your fence lasts long.

One of the necessary repairs that need to be done regularly is filling the cracks. Fill cracks on your fence as soon as you spot them. Clean the cracks to remove and rot and mold growing in them then let it dry for at least 24 hours. Then apply a wood filler to seal the crack completely.

Summer or fall are the best times to fill cracks and repair your fence since it dries up fast.

Apply Sealant On Your Wood Fence

Always apply sealant on your wood fence. Sealant waterproofs your wooden fence. Thus, your fence cannot absorb water or moisture which would cause it to rot and decay. Spray or use a brush to apply a sealant to your wood fence uniformly.

Wax Your Fence

Clean and wax your fence annually. When you clean your fence, peel off the wax. When your fence is dry, stained, and sealed, apply a coat of wax.

It ensures that your fence maintains its appeal and keeps it from fading. It also repels dirt and grime, water and dust from your wood fence.

Keep Plants Away From Your Wooden Fence

Although it may make your fence attractive, keep plants off your fence. Plants may transfer moisture and wetness to the wood and cause it to rot from the inside.

Also, make sure that water doesn’t pool at the bottom of the fence. You can lay gravel at the bottom of your fence to help with drainage.

Don’t sprinkle water on the fence when using sprinklers on the lawn.


A wood sealer is a clear and glossy substance that waterproofs your wooden fence. Apply when the wood is completely dry. Often a few months after installation, and preferably during fall.

A stainer is a coloring substance. It enhances the appearance of your wooden fence. Stainers protect your fence from the harmful effects of the sun. They also make your fence pests and termite-proof.

Apply the sealer and stainer together. Apply sealant and when it dries, apply a layer of stainer. You can also buy a two-in-one sealer and stainer product to apply at the same time.

A sealer is applied every two to three years while a stainer is applied every five years.

Apply sealant on your fence every two to three years. This ensures that your fence gets the maximum protection it needs from your sealant.

You can carry out the water test to find out if your fence needs a new layer of sealant. If the wood absorbs the water, apply sealant. If the water beads, the previous layer of sealant is still active.

What Is The Difference Between A Sealer And A Stainer

How you clean a sealant depends on what material it is made from. Usually, a good scrub with soap water is sufficient. For oil-based sealants, you will need mineral spirits to wash away the sealant easily. You will also need the mineral spirits to wash your brushes, pans, and roller frames when you finish applying the sealant to your fence.

Before you seal your wood fence, you need to ensure that it is dry. A dry wood fence absorbs moisture into it. You can use a moisture meter to measure the moisture level of the wood that makes your fence. To apply sealant, your wood should contain at least 12% moisture content.

If you don’t have a moisture meter, you can use the water test.

A wood fence will last for up to 15 to 20 years. Between the eighth and tenth year, your fence will start to lean based on how well you take care of it. It still has some more useful life to it. Apply sealant and stainer, repair any damage and provide it with the support it needs to maintain its strength. It will serve you longer and save you money and time.

Redwood, cedar, and pressure-treated pine wood fences will serve you the longest. When buying wood for your fence, you need to know the type of wood you are buying. The more durable the fence is the more expensive it may be. Besides durability, different types of wood require different standards of care.

Timothy Munene
Author: Timothy Munene - Timothy is a freelance writer and an online entrepreneur.