DIY vs Professional

There are many products out on the market at your local home improvement stores that might entice you to go out and tackle your outdoor project on your own. Having a fence stained by a professional will ensure the fence is properly prepped, the right product is used for the job, and will cut down on re-stains needed by ensuring a uniform stain job is completed. Drive around your neighborhood and see if you can spot fences stained by the homeowner.  Here are a few that we found…

Power washed too closely, stain highlighting all those damaging divots.
Not properly prepped and uneven application of stain.
Overlapping stain in the middle.
Overlapping stain marks, unevenness.

How To Measure Off Your Fence

When you start to kick around the idea of staining your fence, the first thing you should know is how much stain you will need. To determine how much stain needed, you need to decide which fence lines you are going to stain and how long those fence sections are, also known as the linear footage.

At Stain & Seal of Fort Worth, we take it one step further and use the height of the fence to determine the overall square footage. Keep reading for three quick and easy ways on how to determine both the linear footage and the square footage of your fence. If you aren’t a big reader, no worries, just scroll to the bottom and watch the short video. 

Measuring Wheel

Using a measuring wheel to measure the linear footage of your fence is super simple! First things first, determine which fence line you want to measure off. Keep in mind that if you want both the front and back of a section stained, be sure and walk that fence section twice. Walk over to the start of the fence line and hit the button on the wheel that will zero it out. Once you verify the wheel is at all zeros, place it at the beginning of the fence run. With slight downward pressure, begin walking. The downward pressure will help ensure the wheel doesn’t skip over roots, holes, etc. in the grass. At the end of your fence run, if there’s another fence intersecting your fence, bump the wheel right into the intersecting fence. If you want to follow along with that new fence, pick up the wheel and place it up against the fence at your starting point and start walking. When you have walked the entire length of the fence you need stained, just look at the readout on the wheel and that gives you the total linear feet.

You can take it one step further and determine the square footage. To determine the square footage you need to know how tall your fence is. Most fences are 6’ or 8’ in height. Once you have determined the height, multiply the length (so the amount from the wheel) by the height and that gives you the square footage of your fence! Here at Stain & Seal of Fort Worth, we use square footage to determine how much stain we need to purchase to stain a fence. 

Counting fence panels

Simply put, counting fence panels means to count the fence sections between the post supports. If you want the front and back stained, be sure to count that panel twice (once to stain the front, once to stain the back). Once you know how many fence panels you have, you can determine the linear length by knowing the height of the fence. 

Here’s an easy way to determine the length between panels. Typically there are eight feet between posts on a six-foot-tall fence and six feet between posts on an eight-foot-tall fence. Once you know if your fence is 6’ tall or 8’ tall, you know how many feet are between post.  

So count the panels and multiply by the 6 or 8 (dependent on the spacing on your fence) to determine the linear footage. On short runs between houses that are not a full panel long, it’s best practice to just round it up as a full panel length.

If you want to calculate the square footage, just take the linear footage and multiply it by the height of the fence. For a 6’ fence, multiply the linear footage by 6. For a fence that is 8’ tall, multiply the linear footage by 8.

Example: 

I have 15 fence panels on a 6’ tall fence that are in need of staining. 

If my fence is 6’ tall, generally speaking, there’s 8’ in-between each post. 

So, 15 panels x 8’ sections = 120 linear feet

120 linear feet x 6’ tall fence= 720 square feet

Google Maps 

Desktop

  1. Go to Google Maps 
  2. Type in your address
  3. Choose the satellite view and zoom in as close as you can to your property before it adjusts to street view. 
  4. Center your fence line in the screen and right-click (PC) or two-finger click (Mac) on the START of your fence
  5. A drop down will appear — click “Measure Distance.” 
    1. A white dot will appear to indicate your starting point. 
  6. Continue to click along your fence line to obtain your linear footage.
    1. Remember if you are wanting to stain the interior and exterior portions, you will need to double the linear footage in those areas to account for the interior side and the exterior side.   

Smartphone: 

  1. Go to Google Maps 
  2. Type in your address
  3. Use the satellite view and zoom in on your property. 
  4. Find a starting point of your fence and hold down on that point. 
  5. You should see a “Dropped Pin” notification at the bottom of your screen. 
    1. Pull up on that notification and you will see a ruler and “Measure Distance.” 
  6. From there you are can draw your fence line! 
    1. Remember if you are wanting to stain the interior and exterior portions, you will need to double the linear footage in those areas to account for the interior side and the exterior side. 
Quick Video to show using Google Maps on your Smartphone

Once you have your linear footage from Google, multiply the linear footage by the height of your fence to determine the square footage. 

VIDEO

**Using Google Maps not included in the video**

We hope this gives you a few ideas on how you can best calculate the linear footage and square footage of your fence line. Like always, if you have any further questions, shoot us an email or call!

How to Prepare for Staining Day

Finally! Stain Day has arrived (or will soon), now what? There are a few things that you as the homeowner can do to make the day go by as smooth as possible. 

Sprinklers 

The day before, be sure and double-check your sprinkler schedule and modify if needed. It’s recommended to not run your sprinklers the morning prior to staining or the night that stain was applied. 

Pets

If you have any outdoor pets we beg, BEG, that the droppings are picked up by the morning we are out there. Not only are we walking around in the backyard, but our spray hose is drug along the grass and one of the last things we want is it to be pulled through Fido’s poop pile! Speaking of pets, make sure you have accommodations for the furry little guys and gals to use the restroom throughout the day. If they need to go out while we are spraying, leash them up and accompany them to the front yard. After the staining is complete and we are gone for the day, you will still be best served accompanying them on the leash for the first 24-48 hours. There might be stain residue left on the grass along the fence line and we would hate for them to bring in paw prints of the stain inside. 

Fence Decor, Lighting, etc.

While fence decor is definitely an aesthetically pleasing addition to the backyard, it should be removed prior to staining. Some contractors won’t touch any decor, fence lighting, etc. attached to the fence due to liability and will just stain around those items with no guarantee of over-spray not getting on your items. Other contractors might charge a flat rate for removing said items. For the contractor to have to stop and remove those items it slows the overall process of cleaning and staining the fence. We would recommend waiting 24-48 hours before hanging the items back up. 

Foliage Along the Fence

Now, what about your fence line? Some homeowners don’t have any trees, shrubs, or bushes anywhere near the fence line and others have flowerbeds or trees right up against the fence. If you have a pretty bare backyard, you probably don’t have anything to worry about here, but if you have foliage in the back, you might need to do some trimming to save some money (most fence stainers will have a flat rate charge to remove any limbs or trim shrubs). We recommend to cut back any foliage 8-12 inches off the fence. The goal here is for the stainer to easily walk the fence line with not having any barriers to laying the stain. 

Neighbors

If you are buddies with your neighbors, it’s always good to give them a heads up when any contractor will be entering your property. If you share a fence line and they have pets, let them know to be aware before opening the back door to let the pup out. It’s not unlikely that if we aren’t staining yet, that we will be staining before the pup is let back inside. And with curious dogs, we would hate to start spraying and the pup run up to the fence line and get stain on their snout. 

Enjoy!

Other than that, sit back and get ready to have a fence the neighbors will be jealous of!

Prepping the Fence

Prepping the fence for stain effects the overall outcome of the stain job. Unless your fence was recently installed (1 month or less in most instances), it will need to be cleaned. At Stain & Seal of Fort Worth, we start with a soft wash to kill any mold and mildew present on your fence. We avoid pressure washing fences and will only do it in circumstances where we need to try and remove an older stain finish.

After your fence has been cleaned of mold and mildew, and has had time to dry out, we will come back with the stain and apply using high volume, low pressure to soak your fence pickets. We will ensure a uniform stain job that is done to your satisfaction.