painting or staining your wooden fence

Paint or stain: How to choose the best finish for your fence or deck

If you have a wooden fence or deck on your property, then you will want to keep it properly maintained so that you get the most out of it over the years. A properly maintained wooden fence or deck can last up to 12 years, and this longevity is due to proper preparation and protection thanks to either paint or stain. But which one should you choose?

Both stain and paint have a variety of different pros and cons when it comes to protecting your wooden fence or deck, and here are just a few comparisons to help you choose the best finish for your fence:


Is painting, or staining really necessary?

The short answer is simply, yes! If you don’t apply a protective finish to your wooden fence or deck, then it will quickly look old and weathered and will be much more vulnerable to rot, insect infestation and decay. You need to keep your wooden fence or deck well protected from the elements to get the most out of it, and if you don’t apply paint or stain, then it just won’t last very long before mold or rot takes over.




What is the difference between paint and stain?

Stain and paint are both pigments which are applied to wood to give color and protection, but how they work are very different from each other. When you stain a wooden fence or deck, the wood soaks up almost all of the stain, meaning that the wood gets a lot of protection as the stain soaks deep into the wood, however when you paint wood, it just sits on the surface, protecting the wood below with a thin film.

In terms of how stain and paint look on the wood itself, the paint will cover the wood in its entirety, whilst stain will still let the wood effect shine through. Paint is the better option if the wooden fence you are applying it to has lots of imperfections that you would like to hide, whereas stain will just highlight these imperfections.

Paint has a lot more color choices than stain, and the painted color will stand out much more than the stained color which is more of a tint. If you are looking to really make an impact on your fence then painting might be the way to go.


Is there a difference in the cost of painting vs staining?

Per gallon, paint is more expensive than stain and is much more time consuming to apply to a wooden fence or deck. Another downside of painting a fence is that it also needs priming first, while stain can often be applied straight away. In terms of cost, however, you will need to buy more stain than you would paint, as the stain soaks into the wood so well, which will increase the cost a little.


How do paint and stain reapply?

When it comes to reapplying the paint or stain, painted wood often needs to be scraped or stripped first (which is another additional cost) as it will have started to chip or peel away, while stain can be applied instantly after a quick clean.

When it comes to painting or staining your wooden fence or deck, the important thing is that you are protecting the wood with something, and after looking at the pros and cons of each type of finish, it would appear that unless you are looking for a big, bold pop of color, then staining is the best option in most cases.


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