Fixing Problems with Ready Seal Fence Stain

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Matt Stone

Recently I had a friend who had a problem with a customer. They had stained a fence with Ready Seal stain and the results were… less than ideal. Here was the situation:

They had built the fence and stained it like normal. Everything was great. Then the customer asked them to add cap and trim boards to the top of the fence and stain that. When they stained the new board some of the stain dripped down and made streaks in the fence below.

What happened? and how should he fix it? I’ll explain what went wrong and how you can avoid having problems with Ready Seal.

What went Wrong: Isn’t Ready Seal Goof Proof?

Ready Seal’s claim to fame is that it is Goof Proof. It is so easy to apply that you can’t mess it up. Well… this fence looked a little goofy when I first saw it. Even though Ready Seal is one of the easiest stains to apply there are still a few things you have to keep in mind.

One of the important steps to a good fence stain job is getting enough stain on the wood. This was the problem with this fence. When they initially stained the fence the coat was too light. The darker color you see on top is actually what the wood should have looked like all along.

When the new stain from the top board ran down onto the fence it effectively gave those areas two coats that darkened it up to the true color. Getting enough stain on the fence in the first place would have avoided this problem.

When I am planning a stain job at my company we figure on about 125 square feet per gallon with Ready Seal. If you’re familiar with stains you will notice that’s not a lot of coverage. When we apply the stain we want to see a little bit of it streaming down the boards. That’s how we know we got it on heavy enough.

Can you apply Ready Seal too heavy? Not really. At least not in a way that will hurt the fence. Any excess stain will simply drip off onto the ground beneath. The only thing that hurts is your pocketbook since you wasted money wetting the ground.

How We Fixed the Ready Seal Problem

My friend asked me what to do to fix this problem. I explained that the solution, fortunately, was simple. The lighter areas just needed to be stained again with a second coat. That would saturate them with the stain and darken them to match the top.

He didn’t need to worry about getting more stain on the top areas and darkening them further. That’s not how Ready Seal works. It will soak into the wood until it reaches the saturation point. After that, any additional stain just runs off.

He wound up having us stain it for him. We were able to get a fresh coat on the fence and it looked just fine when we were done.

The Moral of the Story

When you get ready to stain a fence, make sure to have enough stain on hand. With Ready Seal and other stains like it, you want to have plenty of stain to saturate the wood.

We have created a handy fence stain calculator to help you determine how much to order for your next project.

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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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