How To Keep Cedar Fence From Turning Gray

Are you tired of your once-beautiful cedar fence turning gray and dull? Western Red Cedar is a popular choice for wood fencing due to its natural beauty and durability, but without proper maintenance, it can quickly lose its vibrant color and even deteriorate.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent your cedar fence from turning gray and keep it looking great for years to come.

In this article, we will provide you with tips and techniques on how to maintain the color of your cedar fence and prevent it from turning gray. From choosing the right sealant to regular cleaning and maintenance, we will cover everything you need to know to keep your fence looking its best.

So, if you’re ready to learn how to protect your cedar fence from discoloration and damage, read on!

Understanding the Causes of Cedar Fence Discoloration

You’re probably wondering why your beautiful cedar fence is losing its luster – well, let’s take a closer look at what’s causing that discoloration.

Cedar wood is naturally reddish in color, but over time, it will weather to a light gray if left untreated. This is due to exposure to the elements, such as rain, snow, sprinklers, and UV rays. The sun exposure dries up the natural oils in the wood, allowing water to penetrate and causing gray discoloration.

Grayed wood is more susceptible to rot, decay, fungus, and mold, affecting fence integrity.

Choosing the Right Sealant for Your Cedar Fence

To maintain the natural beauty of your cedar fencing, it’s crucial to choose the appropriate sealant that can protect against UV rays and mildew growth. Stains are the most common type of sealant used for cedar fences, as they provide both color and protection.

When selecting a stain for your cedar fence, make sure to choose a finish that is transparent or semi-transparent, as these finishes will allow the natural grain of the wood to show through.

Apply the transparent or semi-transparent oil-based stain with a paintbrush or roller, making sure to cover the surface evenly.

Additionally, opt for an oil-based stain that contains mildewcide and can block UV light. This will not only prevent your cedar fence from turning grey, but also protect the surface from water damage and decay.

It’s important to note that the frequency of reapplication depends on several factors, such as the type of stain, the amount of sun exposure, and the texture of the finish. Transparent stains may need to be reapplied yearly, while semi-transparent stains can last up to three years.

If you prefer to paint your fence instead, use an exterior-grade acrylic latex or oil-based paint with a quality primer. Either way, be sure to reapply the finish every 1-5 years, depending on the type, wood, sun exposure, and manufacturer’s recommendation.

It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation and reapply as needed to ensure the longevity and protection of your cedar fence. With the right sealant, your cedar fence can maintain its natural beauty for years to come.

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance for a Vibrant Look

Maintaining the vibrant look of your cedar fencing takes regular cleaning and upkeep, ensuring that your investment stays protected and stunning for years to come.

Start by cleaning your fence with a mixture of 1 cup of bleach and 3 cups of water. Scrub the fence with a bristle brush and the bleach solution, then rinse it off with water. Finally, remove any debris with a pressure washer, using a maximum of 1,500 psi to avoid damaging the wood.

After cleaning, it’s important to reseal your fence as described above to protect it from water, mildew, and UV damage.

With regular cleaning and maintenance, your cedar fence can maintain its beautiful appearance year after year.

pressure washing cedar fence

Additional Tips and Tricks for Long-Lasting Results

For a fence that looks stunning and is protected from the elements, it’s important to take note of these tips and tricks.

First, when cleaning your cedar fence, avoid using high-pressure washers with more than 1,500 PSI. Pressure washers that are too powerful can damage the wood’s surface, causing roughness and splintering. Instead, use a garden hose with a spray nozzle attachment to rinse away dirt and debris. If you must use a pressure washer, make sure to keep the nozzle at least 12 inches away from the fence and use a lower pressure setting to avoid damaging the wood.

Another tip is to use biodegradable cleaning solutions when washing your fence. Bleach can be harsh on cedar wood and may cause discoloration or damage to the surface. Instead, opt for a wood preservative or a solution made from linseed oil or tung oil. These oils not only clean the fence but also provide additional protection against mold, mildew, and other types of wood damage.

Lastly, if you want to change the color of your fence without hiding the natural grain pattern, consider painting it instead of staining it. Painting your fence provides a protective layer on top of the wood that can last longer than stain, and it also offers a wider range of color options to choose from.


Congratulations! You now know how to keep your cedar fence from turning gray.

By understanding the causes of discoloration, choosing the right sealant, and regularly cleaning and maintaining your fence, you can ensure a vibrant look that lasts for years to come.

Remember, maintaining the color of your cedar fence is not only about aesthetics, but also about preserving its integrity.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you can enjoy the natural beauty and durability of your cedar fence for many years to come.

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