How to Stain a Fence With a Pump Sprayer– Complete guide?

By Marko Jankovic | Last Updated: January, 2021

How to stain a fence with a pump sprayer

There is no doubt that adding value to your property starts with the fence. Staining a fence is among the top repairs that you need to carry out often. When the fence is ignored, then your property becomes weather damaged, turns grey, and losses its beauty.

Staining your fence using a pump sprayer is among the surest way of protecting your property from the elements. The first step, however, is investing in a good quality pump sprayer that is meant for stain. Since the entire process of staining a fence can be rather complicated, we have put together a step by step guide.


  • Wood cleaner
  • Synthetic paintbrush
  • Quality sprayer
  • Stiff bristle brush
  • Sealer and stain

Staining a fence with a pump sprayer

Before we start working on the project, you need to understand that there are different stains to choose from in the market. Not all the wood stains you come across are the same. Some stains were explicitly created for use with a brush or roller, while others were designed for use with a paint sprayer.

When looking for stains, you need to consider those that are sprayable. As a rule, the spray stains are usually regarded as the best alternative. Some individuals refer to these stains as wood preservatives. Below are some of the advantages that you get when you purchase stains that can be sprayed.

  • They don’t peel with age. These stains won’t start to peel or flake as the years go by; instead, they tend to become lighter and fade.
  • You only need one coat when using wood preservatives. Because a single layer will do fine, you can complete the project quickly.
  • Various shades to choose from. These stains come in different shades giving you more flexibility. You get the option of choosing between dark and bright shades.
  • Easy to apply. These stains are both comfortable and easy to apply using a pump sprayer.

The semi-transparent stains, on the other hand, are usually applied to a cedar fence. You may consider using this type of stain if you are planning to conceal the wood look of your fence. Understand that these stains come in either a water-based or oil-based variety. An outdoor wood fence will need an oil-based stain since you want durability and longevity.

Preparation and cleaning

Step 1

You will have to clean your fence before you start staining thoroughly. You have to clear everything up if you want the best results. You also need to clear away any objects near your fence. Finally, remember that the wood stain will harm the flowers and bushes against your fence. You, therefore, have to cover all the vegetation near the fence with a cloth.

Remove all the yard decorations, lawn furniture, and patio stones to avoid causing any damages. You can store them in your garage or at a safe distance from the fence.

Step 2

Once you are done with the cleaning, you need to examine the entire fence. Be on the lookout for damaged boards that need repair or replacement. You also need to fix all the loose nails and screws, thus ensuring that your fence looks brand new.

Use a sanding box to smooth the surface of the wood after all the repairs have been made. Doing this ensures that all the flakes are removed effectively.

Step 3

You then need to pressure wash your entire fence to remove all dirt, grime, and mildew. You must wear protective clothing during this step to enhance your safety. You need safety glasses, rubber gloves, and old clothes for this step.

Use a 30-degree tip with your pressure washer to get the best results. Start at one end and work your way toward the other end. The color of your fence will brighten as you continue with the cleaning process. Remember that you have to clean both sides of your fence. This step will take up quite a bit of time, and you will need to exercise a lot of patience. Finally, you need to let your fence dry up for a minimum of 24 hours.

Apply stain

Step 1

Use a enamel paint stirrer to stir your stain keenly, thus ensuring that you have an even texture. You then need to turn the lid on your pump sprayer counterclockwise. The lid will come off, and you can proceed to pour the stain into your canister. You can then put the top back while turning it clockwise to secure the equipment.

You need to keep putting pressure on the canister during the entire step. Keep pumping the handle until you feel that there is no more resistance. You can then lock down the pump handle and proceed to the next step.

Step 2

It is now time to apply the stain to your fence. You need to start at one end while working from the top. Hold the tip of your pump sprayer at a distance of about 9 inches from your fence. Use slow and steady strokes to ensure that you get a professional finish.

Ensure that you spray the stain onto every board while working from top to bottom. Twisting the spray nozzle will ensure that you get the desired spray pattern that you need. In case the spray suddenly becomes weak and loose, then you have to apply more pressure.

The key to getting a quality finish is ensuring you move from one end to the other while working top to bottom. All the strokes need to be even with an overlay to ensure that you have the entire fence wholly covered.

Step 3

You need to brush off any drips or runs every time you are done with a five feet section. Use your paintbrush to get the job done quickly and effectively. A paintbrush is a crucial tool, especially at tricky areas such as the corners. Your sprayer won’t reach certain areas, and you will have to use a paintbrush.

You need to repeat this process until you are done with the entire project. You need to ensure that both sides of your fence are well stained.


Once you have your entire fence done, you can proceed to carry out back-brushing. It is a simple step that requires you to use a synthetic paintbrush to strengthen the stain. This step ensures that the stain penetrates the wood, thus giving you longevity and durability. Most experts will tell you that you need to alternate between brushing and spraying while the stain is wet.

Apply the second coat

Applying a second coat depends on the kind of stain that you purchased. As stated earlier, certain stains only require a single layer, thus saving you time. However, if you are on a budget, then you might have purchased a stain that needs you to carry out a second coat.

If you have to apply a second coat, then give the first coat time to dry. You can then proceed to repeat the entire process. Don’t forget to back-brush immediately you are done applying the stain. Since you are already done with the first coat, the second coat won’t be a problem for you.

Why stain a fence?

An outdoor or exterior stain helps to protect your fence from damage caused by moisture, dirt, and the sun. If your fence is untreated, then it will start to split and crack after a prolonged period. You will, therefore, find yourself replacing an entire fence after a few years.

The good news is that staining your fence is a simple and straightforward procedure. Following the steps above, you can have the entire project completed quickly and professionally. Most of the time, you won’t even need a ladder to complete the project.

Understand that there are two popular stain finishes that you could use; semi-transparent and solid. A semi-transparent finish gives your wood a new look while enhancing its natural beauty. A solid finish, on the other hand, masks a large part of the wood grain. The solid finish resembles a paint coating and is preferred when you need to protect the wood surface.

Is using a pump sprayer better than brushing?

Understand that using a roller or paintbrush can be somewhat daunting and time-consuming. With a pump sprayer, however, you can get the task completed faster and with reduced effort. The good news is that you don’t have to buy a pump sprayer since you can always rent one.

However, you need to pick a pump sprayer that works seamlessly with stain. Later on, you will use your brush to smooth out the rough edges and ensure that the stain penetrates the wood. You need to pay careful attention to both the stain and the pump sprayer before you start the project.


Staining your fence is the best way of ensuring that your home is aesthetically pleasing and beautiful. You also get to raise your property value, which is a huge plus. Take your time when conducting the project to ensure that you get it right. Finally, pay close attention to the type of stain that you purchase.

READ MORE: The Paint sprayer -Top Ten Secrets Nobody Knows About

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