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Painting vs. Staining: What’s the Difference?

Painting vs. Staining: What’s the Difference?

A Guide to Choosing the Best Finish for Your Fence by That 1 Painter

The fence is often a forgotten opportunity to beautify the home! Choosing between painting or staining can appear to be a tough decision. Here at That 1 Painter, we understand that homeowners want to make an informed decision that will lead to a long-lasting and beautiful finish. That’s why we’re here to guide you through the pros and cons of painting vs. staining and help you choose the best finish for your fence.

Painting vs. Staining: Which Lasts Longer?

You are likely wondering, “it sounds beautiful, but how often do I have to re-finish it?” After all, you don’t want to spend time and money on a finish that will only last a year or two. Generally, we recommend using stain on fences because it is easier to maintain. Stain needs to be reapplied every three to eight years, while paint must be reapplied every five to ten years.

Since paint can last longer, you may think it’s the better option. However, the conditions your fence endures, such as harsh winters or considerable rainfall, may mean more difficult maintenance. Stain tends to wear down more evenly than paint. You may notice some areas of fading or deteriorating finish, but it won’t crack, bubble, or peel like paint would. Conversely, paint will show significant signs of wear and tear as the time to reapply draws near. However, these are general guidelines, and if your fence looks like it needs a fresh coat of paint or stain, it’s best to apply it. It never hurts to do preventative maintenance earlier than you may think is necessary. If you have a fence in your yard that has never been painted or stained, it’s never too late to start! Just take the extra time to clean the wood well before treating it. If you want to remove the gray color on weathered wood, use a commercial wood brightener before treating the wood.

Painting vs. Staining Your Fence: Which is Cheaper?

Painting your fence is almost always more expensive. You will need to prime and apply two coats, whereas with stain, no primer is needed, and you often only need one coat. Additionally, because paint can peel and bubble as the painted fence ages over five to ten years, it will need extensive and expensive prep work to refinish. Making the initial cost and the maintenance significantly more expensive than stain. In the long-term it’s best to think of the maintenance that your fence will need instead of the immediate aesthetic that your fence will have. While a fresh coat of paint looks great, staining with it’s minimal prep and ease of application is something to take into consideration.

Ease of Application: Painting vs. Staining

On the other hand, raw, rough wood is happy to have a coat of stain where the paint will require sanding and smoothing of the surface. No matter which finishes you choose, make any necessary repairs to your fence before you start.

When it comes to reapplication, a painted fence requires more prep work. The fence will need to be sanded, and all peeling or flaking paint will need to be removed. Since stain cannot peel or flake, all it takes is a good washing to prepare the fence for a new coat of stain.

ProTip: Pressure washing can be a great way to get a clean slate before treating your older fence.

Customizing with Color: Painting vs. Staining

Traditionally if you wanted a unique look for your fence, painting is the way to go, as your color selection is virtually endless. Stain manufacturers offer a variety of colors, but the options are more limited than with paint. Staining is the way to go if you want a natural look that enhances the wood’s natural grain.

Stain allows you to showcase the beauty of the wood while paint covers it up. However, with the advancement in stain technology, there are now opaque solid stains that can be tinted to almost any color, like paint! They even look like a painted fence, but they do not peel or bubble like paint because they soak into the wood like a stain rather than sit on top of the surface like paint.

Ultimately there is no reason to paint your fence or even a wooden backyard deck. Staining, whether it is a natural look or an opaque painted look, is always the better option for your home and your budget.

In Conclusion

At That 1 Painter, we take pride in helping homeowners like you make informed decisions about their home’s exterior. If you would like any more information, you can always contact us and talk to a professional in your area!

Before taking action, don’t wait until your fence starts showing signs of wear and tear. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about the benefits of painting or staining your fence. With our help, you can enhance your home’s curb appeal and protect your fence for years to come. Trust That 1 Painter for all your painting and staining needs.