Upstate New Yorker here (in case weather/geography matter).

This summer my big project was to put a (spruce) fence around our whole back yard. I got about 75% of the way and have to call it quits for the year (it's getting too cold). So I've got a big pile of 8ft long fence panels sitting in my driveway.

I've been told by numerous people, and confirmed online, that you need to wait 6 - 12 months before staining a wooden fence. Something to do with letting it "weather"/"age" and dry out. So the 75% of the fence that is already installed is good to go, and come Spring 2016 I should be able to stain it no problem.

But what to do with the ~25% of the panels that are sitting in my drive way?

Ideally I'd like to be able to install them next Spring, and then stain the whole fence in one fell swoop. This means that the ~25% pile needs to be aging/weathering right along-side the panels that are already installed. My only options are:

  • Move the pile to the back yard; or
  • Move the pile into the garage

All that matters is that the pile needs to be in a place where the panels can age/weather the same way as the installed panels do.

  • Does this mean I'll need to store them a certain way? For instance, is it ok to just leave them in a stacked pile, or do I need to prop them upright and space them out, etc.?

What's my best option/strategy here?

  • 1
    These panels that are spruce, are they treated for outdoor weather? If not, paint them right away!! If it is pressure treated, yes the treatment leaves the wood really wet, saturated actually, and the preservative that is left on the surface needs to leach out/off, before a finish will stay on.
    – Jack
    Oct 25, 2015 at 16:40
  • Thanks @Jack (+1) - to be clear, yes these are pressure treated spruce panels!
    – smeeb
    Oct 27, 2015 at 14:35

1 Answer 1


Since a significant portion of the fence panel aging is due to sun, rain, wind and temperature changes the best way to get your unmounted panels to age is to put them into the same environment as the mounted panels.

This really would mean propping them up so that they are exposed to the elements and the sun. If this is not practical then your next best bet is to get some help and finish the fence construction this weekend.

  • Makes total sense @Michael Karas (+1 and green check) - thank you!
    – smeeb
    Oct 27, 2015 at 14:35
  • And, just for the record, got my wife to agree to propping them up over the winter (which is shocking).
    – smeeb
    Oct 27, 2015 at 14:36
  • If you proceed with this, and you live in an area that gets severe winter storms, make sure that you tie them up securely so that wind and blowing snow does not cause them to all topple over and end up on the ground or worse yet in a snow drift.
    – Michael Karas
    Oct 27, 2015 at 16:55

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