How to maintain a cedar fence

You want your beautiful cedar fence to last as long as possible and to look good. Unlike other materials, wood is organic and therefore requires more upkeep. There are several things homeowners can do to prevent issues and maintain a cedar fence. This article will go over:

  • How to maintain a cedar fence
  • How often to clean your cedar fence
  • How often to stain your cedar fence

General cedar fence maintenance

Cedar fences will last longer than other types of wood used, like spruce or pine. A quality cedar fence should last you 15-30 years, on the longer end if it is taken care of properly.

Here are a few tips on keeping your fence in good condition so it lasts as long as possible.

  • Replace rotting or broken boards ASAP. If they are not taken care of right away, they could damage the structural integrity of your fence.
  • Keep excess water away from the fence. Though its impossible to keep your fence away from the elements, make sure that water from other areas is not around your fence, like a sprinkler system. Excess water will cause rot.
  • Stain or paint your fence the moment that you notice wear. While you should do this regularly, if you notice wear before you typically would stain, break out the paint brush.
  • Always prep your fence when you apply wood treatment. This is vital for your fence to last.
  • Clean and stain your fence regularly. Details on how to do so are below.

Related: Why does my fence have green or black streaks?


How often should you clean your fence? Fences should be cleaned annually, both for aesthetics and to keep off anything that may cause mold. However, when you see fungi or algae on your fence, clean it off immediately. Homeguides also gives an alternate method to cleaning the fence.

How to wash your cedar fence:

  1. Wear protective eyewear and gloves.
  2. Protect nearby plants by tying and covering them. Remove other items that could be damaged by washing.
  3. Prepare a mixture of 3 quarts warm water and 1 quart oxygen bleach. Add ¼ cup non-ammonia dish soap.
  4. Using a garden sprayer, saturate the fence with the solution.
  5. Wait 10 minutes.
  6. If stains remain, use a scrub brush to remove them.
  7. Rinse with water.

You can also clean your fence with a power washer. Follow steps 1-2. Set your machine on a low setting. Stand a few feet away and clean with slow, steady sweeps. Follow the power washing with spot cleaning of any remaining stains.

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Picture of staining a cedar fence

Photo by Pixabay:

How often should you stain your fence?

It is recommended to treat your fence with paint or stain every 3-5 years. We recommend using stain, since it works better with wood than paint. Staining your fence will prevent rot by sealing out moisture and preserves the look of your fence. It will also prevent your fence from drying out, warping, cracking, and splintering.

How to stain your fence

  1. Inspect your fence. If there are pieces that are broken or damaged, you may have to repair them before moving forward with staining.
  2. Clean your fence. Get rid of any and all mold or mildew so your stain will set properly. All stain that was applied beforehand must be removed.
  3. Once clean, wait 24 hours before applying your stain so the wood can dry. After staining, let it dry for 48 hours, though this will depend on the weather.

Learn more

Cedar vs vinyl- what type of fence should I buy?

My fence or deck was damaged- now what?

Why choose metal posts for wood fences?

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