how to restore a cedar fence

How to Restore a Cedar Fence

A well-maintained cedar fence adds timeless charm to your property, provides important security, and helps you turn your home into a private sanctuary. Over time, however, the ravages of weather can take their toll on even the sturdiest cedar fences. 

Time and exposure to the elements can leave a once-beautiful cedar fence looking a little bit weathered, discolored, and in need of some TLC. If you’re looking to breathe new life into your aging cedar fencing, you’ve come to the right place. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will share expert tips and techniques on how to restore a cedar fence, helping you transform your weathered wooden barrier into a revitalized centerpiece for your outdoor space. Read on to create a revitalized cedar fence that’s sure to turn heads! 

Can You Restore a Weathered Cedar Fence?

First of all, can you restore a weathered cedar fence? Is restoring a cedar fence possible even if your existing fence is in a pretty bad state? Before we discuss how to restore a cedar fence, let’s look at the factors that influence cedar fence restoration, and when replacement might be a better option. 

Understanding the Lifecycle of Cedar Wood

Before diving into the process of how to restore a cedar fence, it’s essential to understand the natural lifecycle of cedar wood. Cedar is a popular choice for fencing due to its inherent durability and resistance to decay, but it’s not invincible. 

Over time, all cedar fences will undergo a series of changes as they weather. When initially installed, cedar fencing exhibits its characteristic reddish or pinkish hue and a smooth surface. 

As the wood ages, it gradually weathers to a silvery gray color and may develop cracks, splits, and surface irregularities. This transformation is a natural part of cedar’s lifecycle and doesn’t necessarily indicate irreversible damage. 

In fact, many homeowners find the weathered look appealing and in keeping with the rustic charm of their outdoor spaces – just be aware that your fence may not last as long without proper upkeep. 

Factors That Affect Cedar Fence Longevity

How long does a cedar fence last? Cedar fences in regions with harsh weather conditions, such as extreme heat, heavy rainfall, or freezing temperatures, tend to weather more rapidly. Exposure to intense sunlight can also accelerate the graying process.

Regular maintenance practices, such as cleaning, staining, and sealing, can extend the life of a cedar fence. Neglected fences are more likely to deteriorate quickly.

Proper installation, including using high-quality materials and techniques, can significantly impact a fence’s durability. A well-constructed cedar fence is more likely to withstand the test of time.

Benefits of Restoration Over Replacement

So, can you restore a weathered cedar fence? Restoring a fence is often more budget-friendly than installing a brand-new one. It eliminates the expenses associated with purchasing new materials and labor for installation.

Also, weathered cedar has a unique character and aesthetic appeal that can be preserved through restoration. Many homeowners appreciate the rustic charm that an aged cedar fence adds to their property.

Restoring a fence typically takes less time than starting from scratch. With the right techniques and materials, you can revitalize your cedar fence in a matter of days, rather than weeks.

How to Restore a Cedar Fence: Bringing Your Old, Weathered Fencing Back to Life

Wondering how to restore a cedar fence? Here are some tips for restoring a cedar fence, allowing you to rejuvenate its appearance and extend its lifespan.

Cleaning Your Cedar Fence: Products and Techniques

Before restoring a cedar fence, it’s essential to start with a clean slate. Cleaning your cedar fence removes dirt, grime, mold, mildew, and old finishes that may have accumulated over the years. 

A pressure washer with a low-pressure nozzle attachment can effectively remove surface debris. Be cautious not to use excessive pressure, which could damage the wood fibers.

For stubborn stains or mold and mildew, a scrub brush or pad with a mixture of water and vinegar or oxygen bleach can work wonders. Scrub the affected areas gently, then rinse thoroughly.

For rough or splintered surfaces, sanding can help smooth the wood. Start with coarse-grit sandpaper and progress to finer grits until the surface is smooth to the touch.

Repairing Damaged Sections and Slats

Inspect your cedar fence for damaged or rotted sections, loose slats, or structural issues. Repairing these areas is crucial to ensuring the fence’s longevity. For rotted sections, cut out the damaged wood and replace it with new cedar boards. Secure them in place with screws or nails.

If you have loose or sagging slats, reattach them with appropriate fasteners. Ensure that all fasteners are rust-resistant to prevent future deterioration. Check the posts and support structure for stability. Reinforce or replace any posts that show signs of weakness.

Sealing and Protecting: Picking the Right Products

Protecting your fence from future weathering is essential. Cedar fences benefit from clear or tinted sealants that protect against moisture and UV damage. Penetrating oil-based sealers are often the best stain to restore cedar fences as they allow the wood to breathe while still providing protection.

Look for sealants with UV inhibitors to prevent graying and fading caused by sunlight exposure. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for reapplication, typically every 2-3 years, to keep your fence well-protected.

Staining Your Cedar Fence for a Fresh Look

While not necessary for every restoration project, staining can be a fantastic way to refresh the appearance of your cedar fence. 

Choose a quality exterior wood stain in a color that complements your outdoor aesthetics. Transparent or semi-transparent stains allow the natural grain of cedar to shine through, while solid stains offer more color coverage.

Apply the stain with a brush, roller, or sprayer, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Ensure even coverage, and don’t forget to stain all sides of the cedar slats and posts.

Preventative Measures: Protecting Your Cedar Fence from Future Wear

While learning how to restore a cedar fence is valuable, it’s only worthwhile to go through cedar fence restoration if you also know how to protect your fence from future wear. So, after restoring a cedar fence, how do you keep it in peak condition? Let’s take a look. 

Regular Maintenance Tips and Schedule

After cedar fence restoration, perform an annual or biannual cleaning using a pressure washer or scrubbing with a mild detergent. This removes dirt, mildew, and surface contaminants, preserving the wood’s appearance.

Regularly inspect your fence for signs of damage, loose fasteners, or rot, and address any issues you find. Reapply sealant or stain as recommended by the manufacturer. This typically ranges from every 2 to 3 years, depending on the product and environmental conditions.


Trim back vegetation such as vines and bushes near the fence to prevent moisture retention and improve air circulation. This helps reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth.

In regions with harsh winters, consider protecting your cedar fence by applying an extra coat of sealant before the cold season. This can help prevent moisture from seeping into the wood and causing damage.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls in Cedar Fence Care

There are a few mistakes that people commonly make when it comes to cedar fence care. First, skipping regular cleaning allows dirt and debris to accumulate, accelerating the aging process. Clean your fence as needed, depending on your local climate and environmental factors.

Also, avoid using abrasive or harsh chemicals when cleaning your fence, as they can damage the wood. Stick to gentle, wood-safe cleaners. Ignoring signs of rot or structural damage can lead to costly repairs down the road. Address any issues ASAP to prevent further deterioration.

Applying sealant or stain is essential for protecting your cedar fence. Neglecting this step can result in premature aging and graying of the wood. What’s the best stain to restore cedar fences? It varies depending on your region – talk to a local expert for accurate information.

Planting trees or shrubs too close to your cedar fence can promote moisture retention and encourage mold and mildew growth. Keep vegetation at a safe distance.

Signs Cedar Fence Restoration May Not Be Possible

While restoring a cedar fence can be a cost-effective solution to revitalize its appearance and functionality, there are situations where it may not be feasible or advisable. Let’s take a look at some examples where cedar fence restoration may not be possible.

Structural Concerns: When Safety is Compromised

Safety should always be a top priority when evaluating the feasibility of restoring a cedar fence. A fence that is leaning significantly or tilting in multiple directions may not be structurally intact. Attempting to restore such a fence may not address the underlying issues, posing safety risks.

If a large portion of your cedar fence exhibits severe damage, such as significant warping, splitting, or deterioration, restoration may not be practical. Attempting to restore it could result in an unsightly and unstable fence.

Extensive Rot or Pest Damage: Is it Worth the Effort?

Cedar is naturally resistant to decay and pests, but it is not immune. If a substantial portion of the cedar slats or posts has rotted, it may compromise the overall strength and stability of the fence. Restoring rotted wood may not provide a long-term solution, as the underlying issues persist.

Termites and other wood-boring pests can cause significant damage to cedar. If a fence has been infested, it may require extensive repairs or replacements. It’s crucial to address the pest problem before considering cedar fence restoration.


Balancing Cost of Restoration vs Replacement

One of the most critical factors to consider when determining whether to restore or replace your cedar fence is the cost involved. Restoration can be cost-effective, but in some cases, the expenses required for restoration may outweigh the benefits.

If the extent of the damage, required repairs, or the cost of materials and labor for cedar fence restoration exceeds the cost of a new cedar fence, it may be more financially prudent to opt for a replacement.

Consider the long-term value of your investment. A newly installed cedar fence may offer better longevity and aesthetics compared to a heavily damaged one, even after restoration. 

Plus, if you plan to sell your property soon, a new cedar fence may yield a better return on investment in terms of curb appeal and property value.

Start Fresh With the Best Cedar Fencing in Texas!

The key to cedar fence restoration is to start with the best possible materials. Whether you’re looking for cedar fence pickets in Austin, or cedar fence pickets in San Antonio, you’ve come to the right place!

At Viking Fence, we use top-quality western red cedar. You won’t find more visually appealing or durable cedar anywhere else. We control the quality of your product from start to finish to bring you the most value. Plus, we’re always ready to answer your questions!

With more than 50 years of fencing experience in Texas, we understand the local conditions and know exactly what you need in a cedar fence that can withstand the tests of time and weather. With exceptional quality control standards, we’ll ensure only the best cedar is delivered to your home. 

Wrapping Up Our Guide to Restoring a Cedar Fence

That wraps up our guide on how to restore a cedar fence. Restoring a cedar fence can save you significant time, money, and effort compared to installing a new fence, but it’s not always possible. If your fence is severely damaged, replacement may be a better option. 

Whether you’re looking for a few replacement posts or a brand-new cedar fence for your home, Viking Fence can help. We’ll provide you with premium cedar for a DIY restoration project, or fully replace sections of your fence for you. 

And, if you’re just looking for some advice on how to care for your cedar fence, or searching for the best stain to restore cedar fences, our experts are always eager to share their knowledge with you! 

Your fence is where your home starts. Elevate your curb appeal with stunning cedar from Viking Fence!