Staining and painting are not the same, and it is therefore necessary to choose suitable equipment. Are you are looking for protection for your fence from the extreme weather or from WDO? Do you want protection plus a strong visual appeal? Would you like to maintain the natural appearance of the wood while enhancing it? The quality of staining depends on the material and the equipment used for staining. Here is a little background to help you understand why the right equipment is mandatory. Most individuals wrongly assume painting and staining to be the same. However, there are multiple differences between painting and staining.
Key Differences Between Stain And Paint
· Stain has a thinner consistency when compared to paint
· Stain soaks into the wood, while paint is applied on the surface
· Stain dries faster than paint, and does not require multiple coats
· Stain is best suited for decking with high footfall
· Stain offers a matte finish, while paint offers different finishes – matte, high gloss
· Stain can slightly change the wood color without concealing the natural properties of wood
· Multiple coats of stain can also be used to fully conceal the properties of wood, if required
The above differences clearly highlight the difference between paint and stain. It is therefore necessary to choose the right equipment when staining your fence. Now that we have this little detail sorted out, let’s look at what you need to look for in a sprayer for staining a fence.
Important features that need to be considered when choosing a sprayer for staining fence
Capacity of cup
Cups with small capacities can turn out to be a deal breaker. With the possible exception of a few, most fences are medium in size or large. This means that it requires considerable amount of staining. Imagine having to refill a small cup multiple times. It could become tedious, because staining is unlike painting, and requires more volume than painting. The paint goes into the wood, which means that you need more stain. Staining a fence in sections with lengthy breaks for refilling the cup can cause different sections to have slightly different shades.
You need different nozzle sizes for your staining requirement. This is because of differing needs. For instance, a fence has posts, pickets and rails. The post is the biggest part, broad and slightly taller than the picket. The picket is slightly narrower in size than the post and is typically pointed at the top. The rail is the smallest of all parts of the fence. Due to the varying sizes of each part of the fence, you need a choice of nozzle sizes to complete the staining easily. Most individuals stain the fence after it is fixed, with only a very few staining the fence before fixing it. This makes it necessary to prevent wastage. Additionally, the type of wood will differ from fence to fence and this may also require change in nozzle sizes.
The staining needs to offer a uniform finish, failing which the painted portion will appear in patches/blotches. It is essential to have a model that gives consistent output. This will ensure that the wood absorbs the stain evenly. A good quality fence staining sprayer will give a steady and consistent output which will give uniform finish. Purchases made online need to look at the complaints in this area and the claims of the manufacturer.
Power & Pressure
Perhaps the most important quality of the sprayer, the power and the pressure will determine the quality of the staining. There are three different types of sprayers –electric, pneumatic, airless and pump sprayers. The most commonly used models are airless, which give you the desired output in a compact model. The pump sprayer builds up the desired pressure manually and is most suitable for small area staining requirements. However, for large areas it is necessary to have a powered model. With the airless models you can achieve top quality output and give your fence a classic stained look.
Rate of flow
Depending on the type of wood, you may require the features of the wood to either stand out or be concealed. This means that you need to control the rate of flow of the stain. If you need a heavier coat or fast coats, you need a flow rate regulator. Choose a model that gives you a simple uncomplicated flow rate regulator. Preferably the control needs to be located on the portion of the sprayer that is handheld. It needs to be easily reachable, with clean control, so that it can be operated without any complexities.
Length of hose
The length of hose is another important aspect that you need to consider. With the possible exception of a few, most fences are average or large in size. You therefore need a sprayer that will help you get to the farthest part of your fence easily. The hose needs to be sufficiently long enough to help you manoeuver yourself without having to interrupt the staining too frequently. One of the qualities of staining is bringing about a subtle change in the color of the wood. When you use a smaller cup or a sprayer with a short hose, you will end up painting in sections. As a result, there is a possibility of different sections appearing with slightly different shades.
Cleaning & maintenance
Have you ever tried cleaning up stain or paint after finishing a job? If you have, you will realize the challenges. It is extremely tough and frustrating. By virtue of being a viscous fluid, stain and paint end up spreading and entering cracks, crevices. It can either be scraped off surfaces or cleaned with solvents. You will face the similar challenges when you have to clean up the sprayer after you finish staining. The ease with which you can clean the sprayer is of paramount importance. If you end up with a sprayer that is extremely complex to clean, you will find it annoying after finishing your task. Choose one that is easy to maintain.
Expert tips on cleaning a fence stain sprayer
The above sections were intended to help you pick out a suitable sprayer for your fence staining needs. The buying guide and the actual reviews of the top ten models are meant to help you compare and pick the most suitable model. It is now time to look at some common tips. The operation of sprayers may differ slightly from model to model, and it would be difficult to give generic guidance. However, the cleaning is generic in nature and we have therefore put down expert opinion on cleaning up after staining. Unlike paint, stains are entirely oil based, due to the nature of the requirement. It is intended to enter the wood and help protect the wood. Therefore attempts to clean the sprayer with water is incorrect. To clean up a sprayer after staining your fence, use thinner and soap to remove the stains.
Thinner will help dislodge oil based fluids from surfaces where it is applied/soaked. Thinner is not to be used as a layer where it is applied, but needs to be soaked. make sure that you leave the object/part to soak in the thinner for some time, followed by washing it down with soap water. Ideally you need to use warm soap water to dislodge the remaining oil based substances. Cleaning is important, as it will not clog the passages through which the stain moves. The components through which the stain moves before it leaves the orifices/nozzles needs to be cleaned thoroughly. This eliminates the possibility of inconsistency in the spraying.
Additionally, the staining material can come unclogged at a later stage and end up blocking the tip of the paint sprayers. Though reversible tips help to overcome this, it is always best to prevent breaks in your staining and painting. Remember, if you have left the sprayer to dry for a longer time, you need more time to clean up. It is always best to clean as soon as possible after the spraying has been completed. However, remember not to use thinners when the sprayer is hot or worm. Thinner is a combustible spirit, which means that it is inflammable when exposed to heat. If your sprayer is hot or warm, do not use the thinner immediately. Use it only after it has cooled down. Never use thinner on your sprayer when it is powered on.
How to get best results from staining by preparing your fence before you stain it
Preparation of your fence is of ultimate importance when you stain it. Without the right kind of preparation you will end up ruining the outcome of staining fences. A proper close physical inspection of the fence that is to be stained needs to be carried out. After that has been completed, you need to thoroughly clean the fence, preferably with some washer. make sure that you remove all small flecks/loose particles on the fence. Loose material that is not removed may end up getting dislodged after you stain the fence. This will create an odd look that is easily noticeable. After you have cleaned the fence, permit it to dry thoroughly. Remember it is not just the surface that needs to be dried, but even the core of the wood. This is necessary because the stain goes deep into the wood, unlike the surface coating of paints. Therefore it would be a good idea to leave the washed fence to dry for as many days as necessary till it is “core dry”. This may differ from location to location, and depends on the weather conditions.