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We are replacing our current fence with a cedar fence, and I wanted to know if I should sand the fence before staining it. The wood is from a cedar company and it is really rough. It's also easy to get a splinter if anyone runs their fingers/hands along the wood.

If it is optional, then what are the advantages/disadvantages?

Will the stain look nicer if the fence is sanded down a little bit?

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If you were hoping for a smooth finish, buying rough lumber was probably not the way to go. Nobody would try to sand a fence - if nothing else, because of the time required. Boards like that get run through a planer to take off the roughness in a few seconds - sanding would take far longer. I suspect you'd throw in the towel at about board #2, even using a belt sander.

Cedar is soft and porous, and will absorb stain just fine either rough or smooth. As far as application goes, either way should work. You'll have to repeat the process every few years anyway if you want to maintain the look and protect the wood. Personally, I'd stick with what you've got, make sure the boards are dry and clean, and rent or buy a good sprayer.

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