Should You Stain or Paint Your Fence?

Should You Stain or Paint Your Fence?

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Refinishing your fence with either paint or stain is a great way of improving the look of your home. Painting or staining can also help your fence last longer. Putting in a bit of extra work can extend the lifespan of your fence by providing some additional protection against insects, rot, and normal wear and tear from the elements. Here in North Idaho, we tend to experience extreme temperatures. High temperatures followed by extreme lows can cause your fence to wear out faster than it would in more neutral temperature zones.

Paint or Stain?

So how do you choose between staining and painting? While there are benefits to both, our experts recommend staining a fence over painting it. Wood tends to absorb stain, while paint likes to stay on top of most wood. This means that as paint ages, it peels, chips, and appears worn. In comparison, since stain is absorbed deep into the wood, it just fades as it ages. Stains don’t chip or peel like paint does over time.

Paint can start peeling off of a fence in a year or less. Especially during harsh winters like those seen in the Inland Northwest, the lifespan of outdoor painted wood is greatly reduced. Depending on the quality of paint used, your fence job may last a bit longer. However, you can expect to see significant wear on a painted fence within the first 4 years. Cedar, in particular, doesn’t agree with paint very well at all. Cedar needs to breathe. Covering this wood with paint basically suffocates it, greatly reducing the lifespan of the wood. This is especially important to consider because most contractors recommending using cedar for fences due to its long lifespan. Of course, if you follow this direction, be sure to stain the wood and avoid painting it so this remains true.

Colors

Contrary to popular belief, staining a fence doesn’t mean you will have to compromise on fun colors. You aren’t limited to different shades of brown. Many great quality stains exist in vibrant reds, blues, greens, pinks, and purples. There is truly a stain for every style. You just have to know where to look! Our experts here at Great Expectations Painting will help you pick out the perfect stain for your project. If you prefer the natural look of wood, you can always choose a semi- or transparent stain, allowing you to see the true beauty of the wood itself.

Cost

So which costs more- paint or stain? It all comes down to lifespan. Stain won’t have to be replaced as often as paint, which means you’ll spend less on it in the long run. Initially, stain costs less than paint, but you will need more of it. The initial investment of staining your tends to be around equal to or slightly more than the initial investment of painting your fence. It is also important to take time into account – as we all know that time equals money. You have to take into account the amount of time you’ll spend scraping and sanding away peeling paint. This time won’t have to be taken for a stained fence. You can simply clean the fence and reapply the stain, saving you tons of time.

In conclusion, it is ultimately your decision whether you should paint or stain your fence. Both projects result in completely unique and beautiful finished products. Though we are a painting business, we at Great Expectations Painting understand the difference between painting a house and painting a fence. Overall, if you’re looking for an easy project and a beautiful product, choose staining. If you’re willing to invest in the right wood and put in some extra time for touch ups, you may enjoy painting your fence instead. Either way, you will add interest and value to your home.

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