On The Fence: The Painting Vs. Staining Debate

On The Fence: The Painting Vs. Staining Debate

Key Takeaways

  • Paint and fence staining have their pros and cons.
  • The decision to choose either for fence maintenance depends on multiple factors.
  • Weather, fence type, and exposure to elements influence the need for painting and staining.
  • Castle Rock Deck and Fence can help you with your fence maintenance needs.

On the surface, it would seem that the painting and staining of a fence are the same. However, as any homeowner who has undertaken either of these projects can tell you, there’s a big difference between the two. This blog discusses each option to help you make the best decision for your property.

The Difference Between Painting and Staining

On the surface, painting and staining a fence may seem like the same thing. After all, both processes involve using a brush to apply a pigmented liquid to wood. However, before the final decision, you should be aware of some critical differences between painting and staining a fence.

For starters, painting a fence will cover the wood grain beneath, whereas staining a fence will highlight it. Staining is the way to go if you’re looking for a natural look. However, painting is your best bet if you want to change the fence color without completely altering the wood’s appearance.

Another critical difference between painting and staining a fence is durability. A stained fence will generally last longer than a painted one since paint is more susceptible to chipping and peeling. Of course, this doesn’t mean that painted fences are always short-lived – if you take proper care of your fence and reapply paint as needed, it can last for many years.

Finally, it’s important to note that painting a fence is typically more expensive than staining one since more paint is required to achieve full coverage. If budget concerns you, staining may be the better option for you.

Also, Read – The Pros and Cons of Using Pressure Treated Lumber for Your Fence

The Pros of Painting Your Fence:

  1. You get to pick any color you want!
  2. It’s an excellent way of spending Saturday afternoon.
  3. You can listen to music or podcasts while you work.
  4. You get to feel accomplished when you’re finished.

The Cons of Painting Your Fence:

  1. You must buy paint supplies (paint, brushes, roller, etc.).
  2. You must do all the work yourself (unless you hire someone).
  3. Paint can be smelly and messy.
  4. It takes time to complete the job from start to finish.

The Pros of Staining Your Fence:

  1. Stains are generally less expensive than paint.
  2. Staining is typically less messy than painting.
  3. You can complete the job in a shorter time frame than painting.
  4. Stain does not require as much prep work as paint (sanding, priming, etc.).

The Cons of Staining Your Fence:

  1. There are not nearly as many color options with stains as with paint (generally just natural wood tones).
  2. If it rains shortly after you stain your fence, the stain may not dry evenly and could result in streaking or spots.
  3. Stain can be challenging to apply evenly (resulting in lap marks or streaky finishes)
The Cons of Staining Your Fence:

How Often Should I Paint My Fence?

The type of fence you have, the climate you live in, and even the color of your fence can all affect how often you need to repaint. Here’s a breakdown of factors influencing your fence painting needs.

Type of Fence

The first factor to consider is the type of fence you have. For instance, if you have a wood fence, you’re going to need to repaint it more often than if you have a vinyl or aluminum fence. That’s because wood is a porous material that absorbs moisture from the air. This moisture causes the wood to expand and contract, leading to paint cracks. These cracks allow water to get into the wood, which causes it to rot. So, if you have a wood fence, you should plan on repainting it every two to three years.

Suppose you have a vinyl or aluminum fence, on the other hand. In that case, you can usually get away with repainting every five years or so. That’s because these materials don’t absorb moisture like wood, so they don’t crack and flake as easily.


The second factor to consider is the climate you live in. If your region is prone to hot summers and cold winters, your fence will suffer more wear and tear than if you live in an area with mild weather all year round. That’s because extreme temperature changes cause the materials in your fence to expand and contract, leading to cracking and flaking as moisture does.


A light-colored fence will show dirt and grime more quickly than a dark-colored fence. As a result, light-colored fences usually need repainting more often than dark-colored fences. So if you have a light-colored fence, plan on repainting it every two years. Dark-colored fences can usually go three to four years between painting jobs.

How Much is Too Much When Fence staining?

A freshly stained fence signifies a well-maintained home. It’s the first line of defense against the outside world and should be treated as such. But how often is it too often when it comes to fence staining?

There are a few things to consider when trying to answer this question. First, what type of wood is your fence made of? Pressure-treated pine will last longer between stains than cedar or redwood. Second, what color stain are you using? A light-colored stain will show dirt and grime more quickly. And finally, how much sun and rain does your fence get? If your fence is in a shady area or gets hit with a lot of rainfall, it will need more frequent staining than the one installed in a protected environment.

Generally speaking, you should plan on staining your fence at least once every two years. But if you live in an area with harsh weather conditions, you may need to stain it more often. The best way to know for sure is to inspect your fence regularly and see how the stain is holding up. If you notice any bare spots or areas where the color has faded, it’s time to break out the brush and give your fence a new coat of stain.

We understand that making the decision to either paint or stain your fence can be a tough one. But don’t worry; we’re here to help! Here at Castle Rock Deck & Fence, we offer high-quality fence and deck installation that will beautify your property in Denver, CO. We also specialize in fencing services and can help you choose whether painting or staining your fence is the right choice.

So, what are you waiting for? Give us a call today and get a free estimate!