How Long Does it Take to Stain a Fence?

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Matt Stone

If you are planning to stain your wood fence, you may wonder how much time you should set aside for your project. This will depend on the size of your fence and how you plan to apply the stain. 

Staining a fence can usually be completed in one day. Smaller projects using a sprayer may take a couple of hours. A large project applied with a brush and roller may take all weekend.

Knowing how long it takes to stain a fence can improve the look of your fence. Setting aside enough time to finish your project means you won’t be rushed. You can take your time and do a good job.

Also, many stains require keeping a wet edge. That means you don’t allow the area you are staining to completely dry so you are putting wet stain over dry stain. This can result in a darker area where the two overlap, making your color uneven.

Continue reading to discover what affects how long it takes to stain a fence.

How Long do Different Application Methods Take?

Paint Sprayer

a fence being sprayed with a paint sprayer

Applying fence stain with a paint sprayer will be the fastest method. It can also be the trickiest because sprayers need to be used correctly to prevent overspray. If you spend hours cleaning up stain overspray you aren’t saving any time using a sprayer. I recommend reading about staining a fence with a paint sprayer before you begin.

With a paint sprayer, a medium-sized project should be completed in several hours. Set aside an afternoon to complete your project.

Pump Sprayer

A pump sprayer will also be a quick method for staining a fence. It will not be as fast as a paint sprayer because you will spend more time refilling the pump with stain. If you have a large project, you may consider setting aside the whole day. 

A high-quality pump sprayer will be a little easier to use than a paint sprayer. Adjusting the spray pattern can help reduce overspray. Read more about how to stain a fence with a pump sprayer.

Brush and Roller

A Brush and roller will be the slowest method for applying stain. You should set aside the entire day for small to medium-sized projects and two days for large fences. 

While it may take longer to apply fence stain with a roller there are some advantages. You don’t have to worry about overspray. If you use drop cloths to catch any drips you may not have any cleaning at all to do when you are done.

Some stains require back brushing when they are sprayed. This means that after they are sprayed on a fence you need to go over the stain with a brush or roller to help push the stain into the wood fibers and even out the coating. By using a roller to apply the stain you are backrolling at the same time you are applying the stain.


Having a game plan can make your project go as smoothly as possible. Knowing you have enough time set aside from the beginning means you can take your time and do a good job.

Now that you are ready to begin, read our article on how to stain a fence.

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Author: Matt Stone
Matt has worked as a professional painter for over 10 years. This includes much experience with all types of wood stains. He loves to write about wood stains to help others make good choices to protect their homes and make them beautiful.

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