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Supplement to “Fancy Fences”

According to the experts at Thompson’s Water Seal, when restoring a wood fence to its former glory, one critical step is the application of the protective coating once the fence is thoroughly cleaned.

Consider these finishes—or a combination of them—to create a unique look:

• Clear waterproofers protect without adding color.

• Tinted waterproofers (or toners) add natural, wood-like color while allowing you to see most of the wood grain.

• Wood stains come in 100-plus colors, including wood tones and more adventurous shades like black, white, blue, or green.

• Semi-transparent stains allow you to see some of the wood grain.

• Solid stains cover the wood grain.

The rule of thumb: The more pigment the product has, the more time will elapse before you have to reapply it. Clear waterproofers have the least pigment and are the easiest to clean and recoat. Solid stains have the most pigment, but are more difficult to clean.

Consider treating your fence with different colors/shades of a waterproofer. Give most of the pickets a natural wood tone or a more neutral look, and then accent supporting posts or rails in a bolder color. Use colorful stains to stencil flowers, vines, or other designs along the fence.

Clear or tinted waterproofers can be applied to the fence with a pump-up garden sprayer, but go back over the wood with a brush and smooth the coating into the wood. To apply wood stains, a paint pad on a long pole is an excellent tool. It works the product into the wood and eliminates a lot of bending on the homeowner’s part.

Creating a one-of-a-kind fence doesn’t have to be extremely expensive and you don’t have to start from scratch. You can clean and treat a wood fence just like you would a deck. In fact, fences are often easier to treat than decks because there are no railings/spindles and, since the fence is vertical, it needs only to be done every few years.

To read the Kentucky Living March 2007 feature that goes along with this supplement, click here: Fancy Fences

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