Should You Paint or Stain Your Fence

Whether you have a brand new fence that you want to protect, or an older fence that needs a little TLC, adding paint or a stain to your wooden fence are common solutions. This will help keep its lifespan longer and make sure that any problems with warping, twisting or mold, don’t occur. Of course, they each have their pros and cons, and depending on your goals, you may prefer one or the other.

If you’re debating between painting or staining your fence, you’ve come to the right place. Below we will dive into the top differing factors between paint and stain to help make your decision a little easier.

Painting a Fence

Pros of Painting a Fence

Variety of Colors

If you’re looking for a fence with exotic colors, like pink or purple, paint will be the only way to go. However, remember that many HOAs and business associations won’t allow such vibrant colors.

Dries Quickly

Paint dries faster than stain, meaning there’ll be less time spent waiting around for your coat to dry. If you want your fence to dry before a storm comes in or are worried about damage from pets or kids, then paint will be your best bet.

Cover Up Imperfections

Compared to staining, painting will be better at covering scratches, cracks as well as uneven wood tones.

Cons of Panting a Fence

Less Durable

As paint ages, it will peel and chip, quickly making your yard looking rundown and unsightly. At the maximum, paint will last only a few years, but there are instances when the paint won’t even last a year. Cedar in particular is not paint-friendly and if you choose cedar for its durability, you definitely don’t want to add paint. Using a good acrylic paint will limit chipping and peeling because it expands and contracts as temperatures change.

Worse Protection

Paint is oil-based, so it sits on top of the wood, which won’t protect it from sun, mold, and insects. When the paint is applied, the wood becomes unable to breath and can reduce the fence’s life.


Paint needs to be removed and reapplied every five to six years. If winters are harsh, or it often rains where you live, then you may have to reapply more often. Because you have to remove the paint each time you reapply it, that extra time (and cost) must be considered.

More Expensive

Painting a fence is more expensive than staining them. Painting requires more specialized equipment and requires primer beforehand. This may not be an issue if you have a small section of fence to paint but could get expensive if you have a large fence.

Staining a Fence

Pros of Staining a Fence

More Durable

The last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time and money on your fence, only to have the color fade away or peel off after a short time. If durability is an important element in your decision, stain reigns supreme. Stain simply fades as it ages – there’s no chipping and peeling involved. Wood absorbs stain, whereas paint sits on top of the wood, this means that the stain protects wood from rot, insects, and wear and tear, as it provides a nice touch of dark color. On top of that, many Texas homes and businesses choose cedar for their wood privacy fences, and stain complements cedar nicely.

Natural Look

Some might worry that wood stain won’t provide the range of colors that paint may, and while that’s true to an extent, the range of stains available is wider than many people realize. Whether you want a light stain to showcase the natural beauty of your wood, or a dark stain for a cool and contemporary feel, there is a fence stain color for you. A transparent or semi-transparent stain will maintain the wood’s natural look.

More Protection

On top of aesthetics, you want to protect your fence so it maintains its condition for the long haul. As we briefly mentioned above, stain absorbs deep into the wood, protecting it from the natural elements. The stain is a powerful UV-blocking agent that prevents the color of your wood from fading or greying quickly.


The key element with both stain and paint is that you need to reapply it regularly; stain only needs to be reapplied every three years. A stained fence simply needs to be cleaned before the stain is applied – no scraping needed! If you see a lot of grey wood, then you’ll want to use a wood brightener before staining.

Cons of Staining a Fence

Takes Longer to Dry

Stain takes longer to dry because it absorbs into the wood. It may take up two days to dry and if there’s any chance of rain or cold weather, then we would recommend leaving them untouched until the weather passes.

Some Types of Wood Can’t Be Stained

Some types of wood have tighter pores and uneven grain patterns that make it hard to absorb staining. For example, birch and maple.


When staining, you might find you use more than expected as parts like gates will absorb more than other parts of your fence.

Which is Best – Staining or Painting a Fence?

Staining your fence is clearly the best move to make when it comes to protection and beautification of your wood fence. For the best fence staining in the central Texas area, give our experts at Sierra Fence a call today!