Is It Better to Paint or Stain My Fence?
April 23, 2024 Comments: 0

Staining a brand new fence

Whether you have recently installed a residential fence or your fence is beginning to shows signs of wear, you are probably considering ways to extend the life of your investment. Paint or stain will definitely help your fence last longer, look better and protect against rot, insects and wear, but which is better? Determining which is best depends on the type of wood, current condition, desired color and amount of maintenance you are willing to do. There are pros and cons to both, so let’s take a look at how they compare.


When it comes to application, both are applied similarly. Preparation for the application is where the two differ. Paint requires a coat of primer to adhere properly. Since paint sits on the surface, it will be less forgiving if your residential fence consists of raw, rough wood. In this case, you would also need to sand and smooth the surface prior to painting. Applying a stain does not require this step, since the stain soaks into the wood.

Another area to consider is drying time and weather for application. Paint can be applied in various weather conditions, except for rain. For staining, it should be at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit and no rain in the forecast for two to three days. Depending on the weather, latex paint typically dries in four to eight hours, while stain requires up to two full days.

If you have a cedar fence, paint can actually reduce the lifespan of your fence because it does not allow the cedar to breathe. Also, for treated wood, either can be applied, but stain will not soak in as deeply as it does with raw wood.


Over time, paint tends to chip and peel, requiring you to repaint your fence every one to three years. Due to the surface being rough from the cracked and peeled paint, more work is required prior to repaint. The remaining paint will need to be scraped off and the surface will need to be prepped before applying the new coat. Stain simply fades as it ages. Eventually, the stain will need to be reapplied, but not as often as paint. Plus, stain does not peel or crack; therefore, less preparation is involved with re-staining. Typically, a good power wash is all you need before applying a new coat of stain.


There are more options today when it comes to stain hues than in the past, making fence color not as much of an issue. In addition to the natural wood colors, solid stains are now available in a variety of colors—from red to white to blue and yellow. Contact a fence company near you to see what they have to offer. But if you are truly looking for a unique color, then paint may be your only option.


Initially, stain will cost more, but over time it will be the more cost-effective choice. Not only because you will have to re-stain a fence less than repainting, but there is less time involved in prepping your fence for re-staining. In the end, choosing paint will cost you more.

If you are still on the fence about whether to use paint or stain, contact a fence company near you, like Pittsburgh Fence Co, Inc.

Premier Residential Fence Company Near You

For over 50 years, Pittsburgh Fence Co, Inc., with four convenient locations, has been installing residential fences in the Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. Our services include fence installation, fence repair and fencing products. Using the highest quality brands and products to ensure functionality and a durable residential fence, our dedicated team works with you to find the most affordable solution.

Call us at one of our four offices today to speak with a team member:

North: 412-276-4822
South: 724-228-9755
East: 412-784-1400
West: 724-775-6550

+ posts