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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.

Three years ago we installed new cedar pickets onto our fence. Then shortly after, I used a paint sprayer to stain the fence. But after three years, the fence looked like it needed a fresh coat of stain. So I am sharing how I am restaining a cedar fence with a roller because I wanted to see the difference.

the process of staining a fence with a roller

How often should I restain a fence?

Now you may be wondering how often should I restain a fence? And to be honest, the answer will differ depending on your location and the stain you use.

But as a general rule of thumb about every 3 to 5 years a wooden fence should be restained.

Make sure you pay attention to the wood, does it look dried out? Is the wood not repealing the water like it should if it’s waterproofed?

Both of these two things is what I noticed in the third year and why I decided it was time to restain my fence.

Notice the pictures of the fence in this post. The darker side is the restained fence then see how dry the wood looks on the other side.

So ask yourself, how does the wood look?

Can I use a roller to stain a fence?

This is another question you might wonder, can I use a roller to stain a fence? Yes you can but you will want to use a certain type of roller plus have a brush on hand for some areas.

When I first started rolling the stain on my fence, I tried the rollers I had on hand. The regular roller, for painting walls, didn’t work because slivers got stuck inside the nap but it didn’t roll the stain on very well.

The small foam roller was even worse because the foam was braking everywhere.

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

roller with stain for wooden fence

Is it better to spray or roll the stain onto a fence?

I was wondering, and you might be too, is it better to spray or roll stain on a fence? So I decided to try out both and here is want I discovered.

• It takes less time, quicker
• Easier to stain every angle of a board
• Overspray, make sure to cover everything you don’t want sprayed
• May have drips, depends on stain & sprayer settings
• Lighter coats


• Gets a better coverage (heavier coat)
• only cover ground to protect from drips
• You don’t need a fancy machine
• Takes longer
• Need a paintbrush to stain between boards

I actually didn’t mind either option and I would base my descission on what amount of time I have or if your hiring someone, your budget.

If I have very little time and a small budget to hire someone, I would spray the stain on my fence.

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

But if I had time, I would recommend rolling the stain onto the fence because I felt it had better coverage then when I sprayed.

Now let me share how to restain a fence.

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Restain a fence with a roller



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

You can print the material list and instructions below.

Before starting the staining process be sure to check the weather. You want no rain in the forecast for about 3-5 days. Plus the ideal temperature to apply stain is 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Plan your project when you have ideal weather.

STEP 1: Wash the fence

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 will determine if you need to do more then just washing it. If your fence has a different stain then you are applying or it is chipping its finish, you will want to look into a stain stripper.

Let the fence dry for 24 hours before appling stain.

STEP 2: Protect areas

Lay down a trap 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.

STEP 3: Stain the fence

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

supplies to stain a fence with a roller

Start by shaking or stirring the stain depending on your stain. With the type of stain we used, we just unscrewed a cap then 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 then dip your paintbrush into the stain.

SIDE NOTE: Gloves are nice to protect your hands from getting stained.

Apply the stain to the fence wherever a roller can not reach. This would be 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 manufacture.

Want a How-To video?

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.

how to restain a fence