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Painting vs. Staining a Fence: The Pros and Cons

It’s not just about appearance. Whether you use traditional paint or a wood stain, you need to protect your fence from the elements. Don’t know where to start? No need to worry! We’re breaking down the pros and cons of painting vs. staining a fence.

Painting a fence

If you dream of the white picket lifestyle, this may be your number-one pick. First, though, follow us as we discuss the pros and cons!


When you paint your fence, you can expect benefits like:

  • Endless options. You don’t have to go with classic white! Pale yellow, deep purple, forest green—as long as you don’t have HOA guidelines to follow, feel free to get creative with the colors.
  • Less drying time. Want results, fast? Worried about the rain? Paint your fence! At the most, it will take about eight hours to dry, compared to the standard two days for a stain.
  • More time between applications. We know—you’re a busy bee! If you want to save time, you only have to repaint your fence every five to six years on average. In that time, you’d have to re-stain your fence twice!


Of course, you still have to consider a few other factors. Some of the cons of painting your fence include:

  • Keeping up to HOA standards. If you belong to one, your HOA will likely have an exact set of shades you can use. Not only does that hinder your options, but you’ll be responsible for more consistent upkeep.
  • Adding an extra step. Before you paint, you need to prime! Using primer will add an extra step to your process.
  • Cracking or peeling. It looked so good when it first dried! Suddenly, though, your paint has begun to crack and peel. It can happen—so keep this drawback in mind when making your choice.

Staining a fence

Wood stains come in a variety of shades. Not only do they keep your fence looking fresh, but they protect it from weathering and warping. Check out our blog on selecting a fence stain if you need more info.


As you decide between painting vs. staining a fence, the pros matter. Here are the advantages of using wood stain on your fence:

  • Letting your materials shine. Your fence is made from gorgeous, high-quality wood. Why not let it shine? You can emphasize its best attributes with a stain that shows all of the unique characteristics of the wood.
  • One and done. Though it may vary depending on the stain you choose, you can typically expect to just use one coat. Nice and easy!
  • No peeling, cracking, or unwanted coloring. If you’re worried about outward cosmetic issues, consider wood stain. Unlike paint, it doesn’t peel or crack. It also can come in clear shades, so it will appear more natural while being protected!


Every rose has its thorns. Stay smart by knowing the cons of staining your fence, such as:

  • More setting time. Stains have to set in—and that can take a bit. Expect to wait about two days for this process to complete.
  • Less time between applications. After two or three years, your fence will need a new coat of wood stain. That’s about half the time you’d typically wait between painting and repainting.
  • A temperature requirement. Did you know that you can’t stain your wood if the temperature outside is below 50 degrees? That means you may have to wait out portions of fall—and the whole winter—before giving your fence some much-needed TLC.


The facts are in! Now that we’ve gone through the advantages and disadvantages of painting vs. staining a fence, you can feel more informed on your decision. Good luck on transforming your wooden fence!

Not quite there yet? If your home or property needs a fence to complete it, contact Turner Fence here! We even offer free estimates, just to make everything easier. Finally, for more on fence building and fence care, check out our blog.