This post is in partnership with Wagner.
A properly executed fence is a mix of form and function. Privacy and (dog) security can work in harmony for a beautiful end result. The goal for our Tree House backyard fence was to utilize a simple, classic design that would fade into the background and provide contrast for the plans we had in store. We hired the pros to prep the yard and build the fence, but the finishing work was all up to us – with help from our friends at Wagner and the new FLEXiO 5000!
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. To get our backyard to a place where installing a new fence was even a possibility, we needed lots of assistance. Once our tree care team removed all of the overgrown shrubs and one giant tree, we selected a fence contractor who then recommended that we reach out to our adjacent neighbors prior to installation to make sure we were all on the same page and that no one was surprised by the work. He also mentioned that he’s worked on jobs where neighbors might split the cost of a new fence 50/50 when it benefits both parties. It doesn’t hurt to ask, right?
Unfortunately, neither of our neighbors were interested in contributing to the cost of the new fence (we weren’t too surprised by this), but they did each agree that we could replace the fence sections as they stood, with the “good side” facing inwards toward our property. The fence was completed ahead of schedule, which allowed for extra drying time for the pressure-treated pickets:
We had two new fence sections installed on the east and south sides of the property, and because they were so new, they didn’t need any more prep work than a quick hit with the blower to remove any random leaves that had built up on surfaces. The fence on the west side, however, was a few years old and didn’t need to be replaced, but it did need a quick weeding and cleanup prior to staining. For any painting or staining project to be successful, we find that the prep work is incredibly important – don’t skimp on this crucial step! (Not pictured: Me with a garbage bag pulled over my hand and all the way up to my shoulder, delicately pulling down poison ivy so I don’t die.)
With cleanup behind us, it was time to unveil the power of the FLEXiO! The 5000 model is different from other Wagner sprayers we’ve used in the past in that the entire motor assembly is housed inside this handy box that sits on the ground, as opposed to being completely hand-held. This makes the handle/nozzle combo much lighter and when used on a project of this scale, it made a huge difference in productivity.
The sprayer attaches to the motor case with a 12′ long flexible air hose, allowing for two entire 6’x8′ fence panels to be sprayed without having to move the box. Since the fence is around 40′ from the house, a 100′ extension cord came in very handy for this project. You can never have enough extension cords anyway, right?
The instructions include a very practical chart outlining the proper air and and material flow settings for different types of paints and stains. We followed the instructions exactly for this Cabot Semi-Solid Deck & Siding Stain in black and used a ‘6’ for airflow and a ‘3’ for liquid flow.
Getting started was as simple as switching the unit on and pulling the trigger. After a quick test spray, I adjusted the spray pattern to find our ideal setting for coverage, which in turn provided us with the most efficient use of stain. Disposable gloves came in very handy for pouring stain into the reservoir and wiping up the occasional drip. I also wore a hat since the fence is taller than I am and I like the current color of my hair. Safety glasses were helpful later when the wind picked up a bit.
When it came time to spray the fence near the house, we used spare cardboard panels to protect from overspray and brushed on the stain in a few small areas with tricky angles. Using the brush for just a few minutes made me wish I was back to using the sprayer. It’s impossible to understate how much easier and more enjoyable the FLEXiO 5000 made this job!
All told, we stained approximately 240′ of 6′ tall fence and used around 5.5 gallons of stain. I’m convinced that we would have used at least 1.5-2x as much stain if we had used a brush or roller for the whole fence. The FLEXiO is just that efficient.
We love the way the semi-solid stain covers thoroughly, but isn’t opaque. It lets the grain of the wood pop through subtly and keeps things feeling slightly more natural than if we had used paint or an opaque stain. The stain also did a fantastic job of unifying the look of the new and old sections of fence. The FLEXiO provided even coverage on fresh and aged wood. One of our goals was for the fence to “disappear” at night and after a few nights spent around the fire pit, we’re confident that we achieved our goal. The before and after photos still shock us every time!
It’s not the most traditional choice (or is it? Black is classic!), but we absolutely love the look we achieved. Since the color might not be for everyone, we stained only our side of the fence. The FLEXiO 5000 sprayed evenly and without drips, and from our neighbors’ yards, it’s impossible to tell that our side is even stained!
Once the work was complete, I poured a small amount of mineral spirits into a bucket to clean up all of the disassembled sprayer parts, then let everything dry and packed it all back into the handy case – ready for the next job!