Seal/Stain New Pressure Treated Fence?


I installed a new pressure treated fence in May and now I'm thinking about sealing/staining to 1) protect it from water and 2) protect it from fading too fast from the sun.
Question - what's the best way to go? The reviews on products like Thompson's Water Seal aren't great and staining the fence is pretty expensive (it's about 4600 sq ft). Can I just let it go completely? How long will it last?
Thanks for your insights!
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sidekick86 wrote:

Not familiar with other products but don't like current Thompson's formulation. Sealant apparently is just wax and only lasts a year but the stain color will last much longer. I think in order to lower VOC's stuff I used a couple of years ago could not be sprayed as it clogged sprayer nozzle and even when painted on with a brush, I could see wax crystallizing out.
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Doing some simple math, if you get 300 sq ft coverage per gallon, you'll probably use say 20 gallons of stain. In 5 gal lots it might work out to $15 a gallon, about $300 in stain. Allow $100 to rent a sprayer and you'll spend $400. Or maybe $500, hard to predict. Before committing, it might be prudent to buy one gallon of the best product tested in Consumer Reports or highly praised in the archives of this NG, and paint an obscure portion of the fence not visible from the street. Watch it until this time next year, and then reconsider the stain project. A good product should last around 3 years or more according to posts here.
Joe
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sidekick86 wrote:

Pressure treated pine is usually guaranteed against decay or insect damage for twenty years.
It may, however, shrink, warp, or split. That's why you retain a few extra pickets in the garage as replacements.
If, however, you stain and seal the fence, it will last as much as twenty years.
http://www.expertfence.com/site-content/wood/pine-vs-cedar
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My neighbors put up a pressure treated fence and its been arounf 20yrs with no maint except replacing the occasional warped piece of lumber. I dont think stain would have prevented any of the prblems.
Jimmie
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How long will it last, what is the warranty, is it CCA or the new treatment. My old CCA PT is from the 70s and is fine. You can just let it go grey.
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On Mon, 24 Aug 2009 11:00:43 -0700 (PDT), sidekick86

Stain will make it last longer and allows you to change the color if desired. Cabot Decking stain is about $35 a gallon, it is somewhat thin allowing it to soak into the wood.
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Did the same a couple of years ago to replace a 30yo cedar fence which had become decrepit. Unscrewed fence boards section by section after 1 year (to allow for drying) and stained all surfaces with oil based stain, then reassembled. Teardown of old fence showed most rotting occured at sections where fence boards met crossbeams. Moisture accumulated, sat and did its worst. A lot of extra time, but, couldn't hurt considering the new fence boards are less than half the thickness of the boards that I tore down.
Ray
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