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I currently have my 4x4 posts installed for my fence. I am going to be installing horizontal 1x4 redwood strips between the posts. I am going to seal the redwood with an oil based stain/sealer.

Do I have to stain them before I install them on the posts? Or can I install them first and go back and stain them after they are installed? My concern is that the oil based sealer will stain the latex paint on the posts. The posts are painted black.

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It will be a pain to mask off the posts so the sealer does not affect them.

But more than that, if you pre-seal/stain, you can dip the ends of the boards, (and then brush what's on the faces and edges back towards the center) rather than painting up the sides only, and leaving the end-grain essentially unsealed.

Thus, pre-staining is not only likely to be less work, it will give a better result in terms of how well the boards are sealed.

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  • Good point about the end grain
    – Dbloom
    Dec 13, 2021 at 17:01
  • I would think that the stain would have minimal impact on a good coat of paint, but the point about sealing the ends is 100% spot on. It will also be easier to stain them prior to installation.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 13, 2021 at 17:02
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    By pre-staining you get to chose your location for staining. That's a big plus if you have a lot of strips.
    – JACK
    Dec 13, 2021 at 18:53

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