Staining Our Fence Black!

How we stained our fence black! via Yellow Brick Home

This post is in partnership with Wagner

A properly executed fence is a mix of form and function. Privacy and (dog) security can work in harmony for a beautiful end result. The goal for our Tree House backyard fence was to utilize a simple, classic design that would fade into the background and provide contrast for the plans we had in store. We hired the pros to prep the yard and build the fence, but the finishing work was all up to us – with help from our friends at Wagner and the new FLEXiO 5000!



How we stained our fence black! via Yellow Brick Home


How we stained our fence black! via Yellow Brick Home

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. To get our backyard to a place where installing a new fence was even a possibility, we needed lots of assistance. Once our tree care team removed all of the overgrown shrubs and one giant tree, we selected a fence contractor who then recommended that we reach out to our adjacent neighbors prior to installation to make sure we were all on the same page and that no one was surprised by the work. He also mentioned that he’s worked on jobs where neighbors might split the cost of a new fence 50/50 when it benefits both parties. It doesn’t hurt to ask, right?

Unfortunately, neither of our neighbors were interested in contributing to the cost of the new fence (we weren’t too surprised by this), but they did each agree that we could replace the fence sections as they stood, with the “good side” facing inwards toward our property. The fence was completed ahead of schedule, which allowed for extra drying time for the pressure-treated pickets:

How we stained our fence black! via Yellow Brick Home

We had two new fence sections installed on the east and south sides of the property, and because they were so new, they didn’t need any more prep work than a quick hit with the blower to remove any random leaves that had built up on surfaces. The fence on the west side, however, was a few years old and didn’t need to be replaced, but it did need a quick weeding and cleanup prior to staining. For any painting or staining project to be successful, we find that the prep work is incredibly important – don’t skimp on this crucial step! (Not pictured: Me with a garbage bag pulled over my hand and all the way up to my shoulder, delicately pulling down poison ivy so I don’t die.)

How we stained our fence black! via Yellow Brick Home

With cleanup behind us, it was time to unveil the power of the FLEXiO! The 5000 model is different from other Wagner sprayers we’ve used in the past in that the entire motor assembly is housed inside this handy box that sits on the ground, as opposed to being completely hand-held. This makes the handle/nozzle combo much lighter and when used on a project of this scale, it made a huge difference in productivity.

How we stained our fence black! via Yellow Brick Home

The sprayer attaches to the motor case with a 12′ long flexible air hose, allowing for two entire 6’x8′ fence panels to be sprayed without having to move the box. Since the fence is around 40′ from the house, a 100′ extension cord came in very handy for this project. You can never have enough extension cords anyway, right?

How we stained our fence black! via Yellow Brick HomeHow we stained our fence black! via Yellow Brick Home

The instructions include a very practical chart outlining the proper air and and material flow settings for different types of paints and stains. We followed the instructions exactly for this Cabot Semi-Solid Deck & Siding Stain in black and used a ‘6’ for airflow and a ‘3’ for liquid flow.

How we stained our fence black! via Yellow Brick Home

Getting started was as simple as switching the unit on and pulling the trigger. After a quick test spray, I adjusted the spray pattern to find our ideal setting for coverage, which in turn provided us with the most efficient use of stain. Disposable gloves came in very handy for pouring stain into the reservoir and wiping up the occasional drip. I also wore a hat since the fence is taller than I am and I like the current color of my hair. Safety glasses were helpful later when the wind picked up a bit.

How we stained our fence black! via Yellow Brick HomeHow we stained our fence black! via Yellow Brick Home

When it came time to spray the fence near the house, we used spare cardboard panels to protect from overspray and brushed on the stain in a few small areas with tricky angles. Using the brush for just a few minutes made me wish I was back to using the sprayer. It’s impossible to understate how much easier and more enjoyable the FLEXiO 5000 made this job!

How we stained our fence black! via Yellow Brick Home

All told, we stained approximately 240′ of 6′ tall fence and used around 5.5 gallons of stain. I’m convinced that we would have used at least 1.5-2x as much stain if we had used a brush or roller for the whole fence. The FLEXiO is just that efficient.

How we stained our fence black! via Yellow Brick HomeHow we stained our fence black! via Yellow Brick Home

We love the way the semi-solid stain covers thoroughly, but isn’t opaque. It lets the grain of the wood pop through subtly and keeps things feeling slightly more natural than if we had used paint or an opaque stain. The stain also did a fantastic job of unifying the look of the new and old sections of fence. The FLEXiO provided even coverage on fresh and aged wood. One of our goals was for the fence to “disappear” at night and after a few nights spent around the fire pit, we’re confident that we achieved our goal. The before and after photos still shock us every time!


How we stained our fence black! via Yellow Brick Home



How we stained our fence black! via Yellow Brick HomeHow we stained our fence black! via Yellow Brick HomeHow we stained our fence black! via Yellow Brick HomeHow we stained our fence black! via Yellow Brick Home

chairs | cooler | blankets | fire pit

It’s not the most traditional choice (or is it? Black is classic!), but we absolutely love the look we achieved. Since the color might not be for everyone, we stained only our side of the fence. The FLEXiO 5000 sprayed evenly and without drips, and from our neighbors’ yards, it’s impossible to tell that our side is even stained!

Once the work was complete, I poured a small amount of mineral spirits into a bucket to clean up all of the disassembled sprayer parts, then let everything dry and packed it all back into the handy case – ready for the next job!

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  • Susan10.2.18 - 6:45 AM

    What does the other side of the fence look like? Did any stain spatters get through the spaces between the pickets? Did you do anything to protect the wood on that side?ReplyCancel

    • Kim10.2.18 - 10:06 AM

      It looks like our ‘progress’ photo, no stain spatters went through the other side! They are free to stain or paint the fence as they wish to suit their style and needs.ReplyCancel

  • Beth10.2.18 - 9:55 AM

    Just curious if your neighbors have plans to stain “their” side shortly. I would think the fence would need the protection of the stain? When we built our fence with neighbors that declined to help I painted both sides with what I wanted since it was technically “my” fence. And I was worried they wouldn’t do anything and my fence wouldn’t last as long.


    • Scott10.2.18 - 10:26 AM

      From what we’ve read, staining pressure treated wood isn’t necessary. The PT process forces preservative chemicals far deeper into the board than stain will ever reach. Staining PT wood is generally for color change and/or preservation as opposed to wood protection. Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah10.2.18 - 10:48 AM

    What kind of fence did you choose?ReplyCancel

    • Kim10.2.18 - 10:49 AM

      It’s a traditional 6′ dog eared pressure treated fence, which matched up nicely with the existing side.ReplyCancel

  • Sean Mahan10.4.18 - 3:49 PM

    You did a great job with the staining. It looks great!ReplyCancel

  • Laura10.6.18 - 6:57 AM

    Love this fence & your design style! Did you extend the fence all around your house? I’m curious what it looks like from the front of your house. Did you put the ‘good side’ facing the outside for the front of your house? Just curious, we have dogs & need to put up a fence in our new house. Thanks!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim10.6.18 - 9:01 AM

      We have the good face facing in, with permission from our neighbors, since that’s how the fence was before we had it replaced. But it was definitely a conversation we had to have with all of our neighbors! As for the front of the house, you can mostly only see the fence in the back, since it doesn’t yet completely connect in the front (except for where the dog pit area is).ReplyCancel

  • […] Have you ever thought about staining a fence? […]ReplyCancel

  • Jeasica10.11.18 - 5:52 PM

    What are the trees you planted along the fence? I’m looking for something similar for more privacyReplyCancel

  • DallasGuy1311.13.18 - 4:15 PM

    Interesting. I am in the last stages of a fixer upper and one of my partners decided to go with black stain. I am still a bit skeptical. However after looking in pintrest and seeing multiple pictures of black stained fences…I’m a bit less concerned. I may just go with it. The house is white colonial style with black accents and shingles….is a black fence too much?ReplyCancel

    • Kim11.13.18 - 6:46 PM

      That sounds like it would pair beautifully with what you have going on! Go for it!ReplyCancel

  • JB5.21.19 - 10:41 PM

    Very helpful article!
    Based on your recommendation, 
    I just bought Cabot semi solid black and tried it on one board of my brand new pressure treated fence. 
    It looks brown with black grain.
    Does this mean the fence isn’t dry enough to absorb the stain? Or I need to use more stain? Or …!
    Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Leo6.8.20 - 1:06 PM

      Yes, how do I get this exact color? What do I ask for?ReplyCancel

    • Monica6.30.23 - 2:49 PM

      Did you ever figure out why it looked brown? This is my fear with doing brown stain – some wooden fences/decks I look up that are black look dark brown to me. ReplyCancel

      • Kim6.30.23 - 2:50 PM

        The lighting, for sure, but the more coats applied, the more black it will appear.ReplyCancel

  • Maria1.14.21 - 9:56 AM

    Why did you use drain instead of paint?ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.14.21 - 11:42 AM

      stain allows the wood grain to show through, which is the look we were going for.ReplyCancel

  • Emily3.20.21 - 7:50 AM

    Long time follower on insta! Would love to know how often you have to retouch this fence? We have an old old fence around our home I would love to stain black, but worry it won’t take the stain due to the age. I also worry we live in Canada and it won’t hold up to our harsh winters! ReplyCancel

  • `Paula4.29.21 - 3:09 PM

    How long did you let the wood “cure” before staining? We just had a new green treated fence installed and were told to wait a year to stain… which feels like forever since we don’t like the current color.ReplyCancel

    • Kim4.29.21 - 3:13 PM

      It depends on how ‘wet’ the wood is. If you put a few drops of water on the fence and the water soaks in, you’re good to stain! If the water is still beading up on the top, it’s too wet to stain. The hardest part is waiting!ReplyCancel

  • Grace6.15.22 - 9:17 AM

    What kind of trees did you plant here? ReplyCancel

    • Scott6.15.22 - 10:30 AM

      These are DeGroot’s Spire Arborvitae. They’re growing like crazy!ReplyCancel

  • Lindsay2.21.23 - 2:07 PM

    What is the stain brand and color?ReplyCancel


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