Painting vs. Fence Stain

We’ve discussed maintaining your fence in previous blogs: one of the most important aspects of fence maintenance is keeping it clean and free of debris that can cause damage. While ensuring cleanliness is vital to wooden fence preservation, another way to keep your fence in top shape is to consistently monitor and repair the finish. This is done by adding a fresh new layer of either fence stain or paint!

Stain as a Protective Barrier

Fence stain is more than just a pretty layer of color on a slab of wood. Both stain and paint are great barriers against the elements that cause damage to fencing materials—namely moisture. When wooden fences get wet, they are more susceptible to rot, insect infestation, and warping. To avoid this catastrophic issue, it is a great idea to add a layer of fresh paint or stain every so often.

Now you’re wondering, “how often should I paint or stain my fence?” The simple answer is: as needed. If you live in a particularly rainy area, you’ll likely need to refinish your fence more frequently to protect it from rain and snow that cause moisture and damage. If you live in a relatively dry climate, you can probably get away with it less often, though you may end up painting more frequently to maintain the fresh look of your fence. You’ll know it’s time to stain your fence again if water soaks into the wood rather than beading on top of it.

To Paint or Stain

Whether you paint or stain, your fence is up to you. It comes down to preference. If you are looking for a longer-lasting option, fence stain is your best option. If you’re looking for the cheapest option, paint is a good choice, though it will require more maintenance.

Paint requires more preparation, while stain requires more product (that is, stain). The main advantage of fence stain is that you will have lots of color and opacity options to choose from. Some stains absorb better into the wood and therefore last longer or tend to chip less.

DIY Fence Staining

If you choose to do all the work yourself, there are a few things to consider. First off, it’s rarely a one-person job. Having some assistance will make the process quicker and easier. Second, make sure you have everything you need for the job. Tools include a staining brush, a hose, wood sealant, a bucket, a face mask to protect against chemicals, and of course, your oil-based fence stain.

Before you begin, make sure you clean your fence and clear away any debris. It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast, so you don’t paint or stain your fence right before a storm—the stain needs time to dry! The preferred weather is sunny with no wind. That way, the fence can dry nicely and avoid debris sticking to it.

Once your stain has dried, you should have a strong, fresh fence. Monitor your fence for rot, insect infestation, and warping regularly and continue to stain as needed.