Restaining a cedar fence with a roller

The process of restaining a cedar fence with a roller to restore the wood and protect it from the elements.

If you love the natural beauty of a wood fence, you should also know that it takes a little extra care to keep it looking fresh and prevent any decay.

Three years ago, we installed new cedar pickets onto our fence. But after three years, the fence was starting to look a bit dull. It was time for a fresh coat of stain to bring back its original glow. 

When we first built the fence, I used a paint sprayer to stain the fence. In this post, I am restaining a cedar fence with a roller because I want to show you the difference between the two techniques.

the process of staining a fence with a roller


Usually, it depends on where you live and what type of stain you use.

As a general rule of thumb, you should restain a wooden fence about every 3 to 5 years.

Check the condition of the wood. If it looks dried out or it is not repelling the water like it should, it might be time to restain your fence.

Notice the pictures of the fence in this post – see how dry the wood looks in the left section. (Ignore the very far left – that is just a shadow cast on the fence!).

So, ask yourself, how does the wood look?


Of course, you can, but you will want to use a certain type of roller and you will still need a brush on hand for some areas.

When I first started rolling the stain on my fence, I used the rollers I had on hand. The regular roller, for painting walls, didn’t work. The slivers of wood got stuck inside the nap, preventing it from rolling the stain on evenly.

The small foam roller was even worse because the foam was breaking apart everywhere.

The type of roller I recommend is a stain knit roller. It was perfect!

roller with stain for wooden fence


I was wondering, and you might be too: which method is easiest, fastest and gives the best coverage? After I tried both techniques, here is what I discovered.



  • It takes less time
  • Easier to stain every angle of a board


  • Overspraying –  make sure to cover everything you don’t want sprayed
  • May have drips; depends on stain & sprayer settings
  • Lighter coats



  • Provides better coverage (heavier coat)
  • You only need to cover the ground to protect from drips
  • You don’t need a fancy machine to apply it


  • Takes longer
  • Need a paintbrush to stain between boards

I actually didn’t mind either option and I would base my decision on the amount of time I have. 

If I have very little time, I would spray the stain on my fence. Otherwise, I would apply the stain on with a roller because I felt it had better coverage than when I sprayed. 

SIDE NOTE: If you are restaining with a sprayer, make sure you complete step 1 from the tutorial below.

Now let me share how to restain a fence.

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Restain a fence with a roller



You can print the material list and instructions below.

Before starting the staining process, plan your project for when you have ideal weather. You want no rain in the forecast for about 3-5 days and the best temperature to apply stain is 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. 


Clean the fence by attaching a high-pressure spray nozzle attached to a nose, or a power washer, to clean the fence.

SIDE NOTE: Pressure washing the fence is ideal.

Depending on the current condition of your fence, you may need to do more than just washing it. If your fence has a different stain than you are applying or the finish is chipping, you will want to look into a stain stripper.

Let the fence dry for 24 hours before applying stain.


Lay down a tarp or old sheet in the area where you will be staining the fence.

Cover any surrounding vegetation at the foot of the fence to protect it from drips from the stain.


Follow the instructions from the stain’s can on how to apply the stain. Here is the basic process:

supplies to stain a fence with a roller

Start by shaking or stirring the stain depending on the stain’s instructions. With the type of stain we used, we just unscrewed the cap and poured it from the spout on top.

SIDE NOTE: If you are wondering how to open a paint can be sure to see my full tutorial.

Pour the stain into a painting tray and dip your paintbrush into the stain.

SIDE NOTE: Gloves are essential for protecting your hands from getting stained.

First, apply the stain to the fence wherever a roller can not reach, e.g.the corners or where boards come together.

Be mindful of drips and uneven coverage; smooth these areas before the stain dries.

SIDE NOTE: The stain I am using is goof-proof so I don’t have to worry about drips or applying the stain continually. I would recommend a stain like this!

Next, use a roller to roll the stain onto the fence. It’s a good idea to work from the top of the fence to the bottom in two to three-foot sections.

Continue this process until the fence is all stained.

fence being restained

Allow the fence to dry and apply a second coat if needed or recommended by the manufacturer.


Does seeing the project on video help? Well you’re in luck, here’s my Youtube video:

rolling stain on fence with playback button

Now, clean up the area and enjoy your newly stained fence. But remember to keep an eye out for when you need to retain your fence in the next three to five years.

Yield: restained fence

Restain a Fence with a Roller

the process of staining a fence with a roller

Does your fence need to be restained? Here is the process of using a roller instead of a sprayer to restain a fence.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Active Time 4 hours
Additional Time 2 days
Total Time 2 days 4 hours 15 minutes
Difficulty Easy


  • stain (l used Natural Cedar by Ready Seal)
  • painting tray
  • knit paint roller
  • paintbrush
  • cardboard or old sheet
  • disposable gloves


  • power washer or hose nozzle attachment
  • ladder, if needed
  • safety glasses
  • face mask
  • ear protection (for power washer)


  1. Clean the fence with a power washer or a hose attachment, the power washer will clean the best.
  2. Lay down cardboard boxes or old sheets to protect areas from stain.
  3. Stain the fence with the roller then use a brush to stain areas that the roller cannot reach.
  4. Allow the stain to dry then apply a second coat if needed or enjoy your restained fence.


The cost of this project will depend on the size of the fence you are staining and the time will also depend on this also.