Wood fences periodically require staining to protect them from moisture and weathering. Staining also serves another purpose -- it renews your fencing so it looks attractive and new again. Stain can fix a lot of aesthetic problems with an older wood fence, as long as you use the right product and apply it correctly. The following can help with some common wood fencing issues.
Algae and Mildew
Algae and mildew growth on damp wood darkens the wood, typically to a green or black color. Before you can stain affected boards, you need to either scrub off the growth with a stiff brush or wash it off with a pressure washer. Once this is done, scrub down the boards a second time with a bleach solution. The bleach not only kills any remaining algae or mildew, but it also lightens the algae and mildew stains. You may need to opt for a darker stain color to help even out the fence board coloration due to some remaining dark spots.
Sprinkler marks typically appear as gray or lighter-colored "fans" across fencing panels. Using a bleach solution to lighten the unmarked sections of the boards will help even out the marks before you stain, which will then help ensure the color goes on more evenly. You will need to adjust your sprinklers so that they don't hit the fence; otherwise, the marks will reappear within a few weeks.
Holes and Cracks
Small holes or cracks in your fence boards don't mean you need to get a new fence. You can fill in these small damages with a wood filler. Opt for a stainable filler in a color close to the current color of your boards. Once the filler is applied and cured, you can stain over it just as you would any undamaged board. The filled area should blend in seamlessly with the rest of the fence.
Mixed Age Pickets
Sometimes a fence will require repairs before it is stained. If those repairs include the installation of new pickets, then you will have newer wood that isn't quite as absorbent as the older pickets. This means the older pickets will likely absorb more stain and appear darker compared to the newer pickets. Opt for a semi-transparent stain to help mitigate any color difference in the fence. Further, re-locate pickets if necessary so that the new pickets aren't grouped together in one section.
Contact a fence staining service like Rainier Fencing & Decking for more help.