How to Weatherproof Your Wood Fence and Keep it Looking New


Fences are investments for homeowners. Often costing thousands of dollars to build, wooden fences make for eye-pleasing property borders that not only help cut sound intrusion but add value to a home as well.

But, unlike steel fences, wood fences require a fair bit amount more TLC to keep them in tip-top shape. One preventative measure known as weatherproofing will ensure your the hard-earned investment doesn’t prematurely rot in the years and decades to come.

Know Your Wood

First thing’s first: you have to know what type of wood was used to build your fence. Most wood fences, especially those built up around new property homes, are made of either redwood, spruce, fir, pine, cedar, or cypress. All of the woods mentioned above are among the best types of fencing woods.

Redwoods and cedars contain natural oils that resist rot and mold, making them last quite a bit longer outdoors than most of the other wood species like spruce and cypress. For cedars and redwoods, they often don’t require a finishing lacquer, but occasional oiling instead. Other more vulnerable woods, like spruce and cypress, will last longer if coated with a water-resistant finish.

Power Wash on Occasion

For naturally finished woods, keeping excessive layers of grime off helps to let the wood “breathe” and look its best, year-round. Annual power washes, with a maximum pressure of 1,500 to 2,000 psi, will strip months of weathering from the fence and safeguard it from rot and mold.

Be sure to avoid more powerful machines, as they can scour too aggressively and cause gauges to form. Opt for both a 25- and 15-degree tip. While the 25-degree point is recommended for general cleaning, the 15-degree tip is for addressing problematic or hard-to-reach areas, like removing the discoloration around the fences latches and other hardware.

Fill All Cracks

Not treating deep, wide cracks in your wooden fence is a sure-fire way to let mold spores and rot run amok. Filling those crevices with epoxy is an easy fix that anyone can do.

Follow the instructions below to fill a cracked fence with epoxy successfully:

  • Clean the cracked area with a wood-safe cleaner
  • Mix the epoxy according to the directions on the box
  • Apply the mixed epoxy to the cracks in the fence
  • Let the epoxy set based on the recommended times in the product directions

Make sure you apply the epoxy on a dry, sunny day so that the mixture can adequately set and cure.

Avoid Applying Clear Sealer

Because wood fencing is a natural product, it contains a plethora of microorganisms, oils, and moisture levels that need to be exposed to keep the wood from decay. By sealing the planks of wood with a clear sealant, you’re robbing them of that need. A clear-sealed fence will decay far quicker than a properly treated and maintained one because it will prevent the wood from “breathing.”

To protect your wooden fence from UV rays without the risk of rot, consider painting with a breathable, waterproof exterior paint.

Choose a Correct Stain

Staining wood will help your fence look its finest while helping it to fight the elements. When applied correctly, the stain will repel water and protect the wood from over-drying

Always remember to start on the lighter side. You can always choose to darken the area with multiple, thinly applied layers. Applying several thin coats will ensure that the stain doesn’t appear darker than you anticipated

Wax Polish

Much like your car, a wood fence can benefit from a good ol’ wax-on, wax-off job. Aside from repelling water, dirt, dust, and grime, a well-applied layer of wax will keep the wood from fading. Apply a tinted wax for a splash of deep color.

Weatherproofing a wooden fence will protect one of your homeowner investments from prematurely decaying. With just a little know-how and regular maintenance, you can keep a wooden fence looking like new for years to come.