How Much Does It Cost to Paint or Stain a Fence ?

Average Cost
(paint 200 ft. wood privacy fence with prep work, minor repairs, priming, and one coat of paint)

Get free estimates from fence contractors near you
Here's what happens next

How Much Does It Cost to Paint or Stain a Fence ?

Average Cost
(paint 200 ft. wood privacy fence with prep work, minor repairs, priming, and one coat of paint)

Get free estimates from fence contractors near you
Here's what happens next
Step 1
Answer a few questions
Tell us what you are looking for.
Step 2
Find out how much your project will cost
The contractors will offer competitive free quotes for your job.
Step 3
Compare the quotes and hire
Compare the estimates and hire the contractor who best fits your needs.

A nice fence can really boost a home’s curb appeal. A fence is also a big investment and needs to be protected. By taking the time to regularly maintain your fence, it will last much longer and you will save money in the long-run by not needing to replace the fence as often.

The price for fence painting will vary widely depending on the amount of prep work needed, as well as the fence’s length, height, and style. On average, it will cost you about $7.5 per linear foot 1 to paint your fence. The average cost to paint a fence ranges from $1,000 to $2,000, with the average homeowner spending $1,500 for prep work, minor repairs, priming, and one coat of paint on a 200 ft. wood privacy fence.

Paint a Fence

Fence painting costs
National average cost$1,500
Average range$1,000 - $2,000
Minimum cost$400
Maximum cost



Fence Painting Cost by Project Range

Paint 100 ft. picket fence
Average Cost
Paint 200 ft. wood privacy fence with prep work, minor repairs, priming, and one coat of paint
Paint 300 ft. shadow box fence

Painting Costs by Fence Type

There are many different types of fencing used. Some will need to be painted for maintenance purposes and some can be painted to change the color, without painting being required for maintenance.

Picket Fence

The process to paint a picket fence 2 is very similar to the process used to paint a wood/cedar privacy fence. However, being shorter, the project is smaller in scale and therefore less labor-intensive and requires less paint. Expect to pay about $4 per linear foot 1.

White fence installed in a house

Vinyl Fence

One benefit of choosing a vinyl fence is that it will need little maintenance. It is important to clean it routinely with a hose to remove dirt, but it should not need to be painted. It of course can be painted if a homeowner would like to change the color or make it look new again. If someone chooses to paint their vinyl 3 fence, it will then need to be repainted every few years. An epoxy-based paint is the only type that will properly stick to a vinyl 3 fence. Expect to pay about $5 per linear foot 1.

White fence in a residential neighborhood

A chain link fence may never need to be painted, but in some instances it may be painted to make it look better or to deal with a rust problem. Before beginning to paint, the area around the fence will need to be cleared and covered. Then, rust and buildup will need to be removed either with a wire brush or a sandblaster. Next, the fence should be treated with a rust inhibitor and/or primer 4. Lastly, the fence can be painted with a roller. It is best to use two or three thin coats. Expect to pay about $7 per linear foot 1.

Chain link fence with blurred background

Wood or Cedar Privacy Fence

The process to paint a wood or cedar privacy fence involves clearing and covering the area around the fence, making repairs to loose screws or nails, scraping away chipped paint and sanding 5 rough areas, washing the fence, priming the fence, and then painting the fence. This can be done with either a brush, roller, or sprayer. Several coats of paint may be needed. It is important to choose the right paint. Oil-based paints are usually the most durable for fences. Expect to pay about $7.50 per linear foot 1.

Wood fence next to some vegetation

Steel Pipe

A steel pipe fence is most often used around large properties with livestock. These fences are often exposed to harsh conditions so it is very important to protect them. The process of painting includes scraping away any peeling paint, treating any rust spots and covering them with a rust inhibitor, washing the fence, painting the fence with metal priming paint, and applying one or two coats of paint. In many cases, paint gloves instead of paint brushes are used on steel pipe fences to make the process go faster. Expect to pay about $8 per linear foot 1.

Steel pipe fence next to a park

Wrought Iron Railing Fence

It is important to regularly paint wrought iron fencing. This will protect the metal and rejuvenate the color. It is a tedious process to paint a wrought iron fence, but it is important to do it correctly to make the paint last. The process includes stripping off the old paint and removing any rust, making the fence as smooth as possible by using a sand 5 blaster, sanding 5 manually or using paint and rust remover, priming the fence, and then painting it with paint that is specially made for metal surfaces. It is a good idea to apply several coats of paint for maximum protection. It is important to not be tempted to cut corners and just paint over the old paint. This will lead 6 to peeling and chipping. Expect to pay about $9 per linear foot 1 because of the detailed nature of this process.

Iron fence with blurred background

Shadow Box

With a more complex design, a shadow box fence is more expensive to paint. The process is much the same as other wood fences, however the alternating boards make it more difficult and time-consuming to prepare and paint the fence. Expect to pay about $13 per linear foot 1.

Wood shadow box in a garden

Fence Painting Prices by Type of Fence

Type of fenceCost to paint fence per linear foot 1
Picket$4 per linear foot 1
Vinyl$5 per linear foot 1
Chain link$7 per linear foot 1
Wood/cedar privacy fence$7.50 per linear foot 1
Steel pipe$8 per linear foot 1
Wrought iron$9 per linear foot 1
Shadow box$13 per linear foot 1

Fence Painting Costs by Size

Yards and properties come in all shapes and sizes. Here are a few common figures for average costs for painting a wood/cedar fence around different sized properties.

Size of yardCost to paint
200 linear feet (small yard)$1,500
300 linear feet (medium yard)$2,250
420 linear feet (quarter of an acre)$3,150
835 linear feet (one acre)$6,680

Pros and Cons of Painting Your Fence

There are many factors to take into consideration when deciding if it is best to paint your fence or not. If your fence is old and falling apart, it may make more sense to replace it instead of painting it. However, if you maintain a regular painting schedule, your fence will last a very long time.


May increase security by ensuring your fence will remain in good condition and last a long time.

With materials like vinyl 3 it is easy to paint and change the color.

Paint coats the wood and does not soak in, so less is used.

Increases curb appeal.

You must consider HOA and county regulations when choosing a color.

It may be a waste of your resources to paint if the fence needs to be replaced soon.

Vinyl 3 does not need to be painted and if you choose to paint it, more maintenance will be required.

Paint will eventually peel.

Preparation Work Before Painting a Fence

Prep work is needed before starting to paint a fence. Obstructions will need to be cleared out of the way and/or covered. Grass, weeds, and bushes may need to be trimmed. Other vegetation might need to be tied back or covered, especially if using a sprayer. The surface of the fence will also need to be prepared. This means scraping off any old paint, taking care of rust problems, and making sure the fence is clean. The cost to pressure wash a fence should be about $200. It is possible to use a pressure washer to remove peeling paint, however this is not recommended because it would take very high pressure to accomplish this task, which would likely gouge the wood. Normally, this prep work is included in the overall fence painting cost.

Fence Paint Prices

It is important to use the correct type of paint for the material your fence is made out of. Otherwise, it is more likely to chip and fail more quickly. And don’t forget about primer 4–this base coat is key to making sure that your paint lasts a long time.

  • Paint used for metal surfaces will be needed for wrought iron or chain link fences. This costs about $50 per gallon. Primer 4 for metal paints with rust preventative will cost about $35 per gallon.
  • Exterior oil-based paint used for wood fences costs between $15 and $30 per gallon. Oil-based primer 4 costs about $20 per gallon.
  • Epoxy 7 paint used for vinyl fences will cost about $40 per gallon. Primer 4 for epoxy 7 paint costs about $30 per gallon.


When choosing to paint a fence, the color options are nearly endless. Exterior oil-based paint can be tinted nearly any color. The choices for epoxy 7 paint and paint used for metal surfaces are a bit more limited, but still cover a wide range of choices. Epoxy 7 paint can only be lightly tinted, so no dark colors. The choices for paint for metal surfaces are limited, but there are many bold options. If you belong to an HOA, be sure to inquire about acceptable paint colors before making a choice.


Keep in mind that the price for fence painting will be higher if your fence has a specialized design such as carvings or lattice patterns. Anything that has small nooks and crannies that need to be reached will be quoted at a higher price. If you are looking for something unique, consider hiring an artist to paint a mural on your fence. Expect to pay about $10/sq.ft. for a simple mural, or up to $30/sq.ft. for an intricate mural.

Cost Factors

  • Number of panels that need to be painted. Some fencing, like picket fences 2, have more spacing in between the boards, whereas privacy fences 8 have little space in between boards. The more panels, the higher the price will be.
  • Size. Most painting contractors will base their price on either square feet or linear feet. The taller and longer your fence is, the more the project will cost.
  • Number of coats. Most painting estimates include one coat of paint. If your fence needs an additional coat of paint, expect to pay an additional $1 to $2 per linear foot 1.
  • Type of paint. If opting for high quality paint, the project is likely to cost more at the time. However, it is important to keep in mind that high quality paint should last longer and be a better value over time.
  • Amount of prep work needed. If your fence is located in a precarious position, such as on top of a retaining wall 9, or if there are many weeds, trees, and other plants in the way, the price is likely to go up. The price for fence painting will also go up if the fence needs a large amount of repairs.

Labor Costs to Paint a Fence

Fence painting will be done much faster if done by a professional. Plus, professionals know how to do the job correctly and it is more likely that the paint job will last for a long time. Even when done by a professional, the fence painting job will take several days. The first day will be the prep work and the second day applying primer 4. If there is ample time for the primer 4 to dry, the paint may be applied on the same day, otherwise it will happen on the third day. A fourth day may be needed if applying a second coat. It is important that the fence has a chance to thoroughly dry in between cleaning, priming, and painting. With a job like this, it is best to not hire a painter that charges an hourly rate for fence painting. Painters usually charge around $50 per hour and this cost can add up quickly. By the foot 1 or by the project is a much better way to go.

Ask friends, family members, a real estate agent, or a trusted contractor for their painter recommendations. When you find a potential candidate, make sure that they are licensed and insured. Also ask for a few references to check in with and check their ratings online. It is also important that a painter has clear prices. Most painters offer free estimates and will come take a look at the project and offer their bid. It is a good idea to get a few estimates. This gives you a chance to interact with different companies and compare prices. Just remember, the cheaper estimate may not always be the best estimate.

Cost to Paint Fence by the Hour vs. Per Linear Foot vs. Square Foot vs. Whole Job Contract

As mentioned above, when shopping around for a painter, it is best to not choose someone who charges by the hour (normally around $50 per hour). This leaves the door open for surprise costs and an unknown bill at the end of the project. The price for fence painting should come per linear foot 1, per square foot 1, or by the whole job. A linear foot 1 job describes the length of the fence without taking height into account. A square foot 1 job takes into account both height and width. A whole job contract gives one price for the entire project, period. Regardless, by the linear foot 1, by the square foot 1, or whole contract fence painting cost should be the same overall.

Painting vs. Replacing Fence Cost

It is important to regularly paint a fence so that it will last longer. However, no matter what, fences do not last forever. There will come a point when a fence needs to be replaced. In some instances, you may simply not like the fence that came with your house and have the choice between painting it or replacing it. There are pros and cons of each.



Takes less time

Can choose a new color

Will need to be painted regularly

Not worth the money if the fence needs to be replaced


Can choose a new material, style, or design

Will be a while until maintenance is needed

More expensive

Will take longer to install

Will disrupt and possibly damage landscaping

Painting vs. Staining a Fence Cost

In the past, painting a fence was more popular because there were more color options than stain. Now, there are many color options for both. However, there are pros and cons to each and paint is your only option for a metal or vinyl fence. The price for fence staining will be more than painting. This is due to the fact that more stain is required to do the job since it soaks into the wood and it takes more time to apply it. Expect the average fence staining cost to be around $13 per linear foot 1. The average price for fence painting is around $7.50 per linear foot 1.



($13 per linear foot 1)

Does not peel or crack

Less prep work

Can apply over existing stain after washing

Can use clear stain to protect wood and keep natural look

Will need to be restained every 5-7 years

More costly

Will fade over time

Fewer colors available

Soaks into wood, so uses more materials


($7.50 per linear foot 1)

Easy to apply

Nearly infinite color choices


Can be used on metal, vinyl 3, and wood

Tends to crack and peel

Will need to be repainted every 2-3 years

Needs extensive prep work, including scraping off old paint

Paint is the only option for metal or vinyl 3 fences

Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Special Painting Treatments

When it comes to protecting against fading and rain, it really comes down to the quality of the paint that you choose. Opt for paint that is high quality and fade resistant. Paints that are moisture resistant are also available ($50 to $70 per gallon). Also be mindful of the color. Rich colors like bright red or blue are especially prone to fading, while natural colors such as beige, tan, and brown are less likely to fade. Quality prep work is also key to making paint last.

Restoration of Damaged Fence Parts

When making the investment to paint your fence, it is also best to take care of needed repairs. If any parts of a metal fence are rusted, warped, wobbly, or coming apart, it is best to address those problems before painting. Also replace any missing or damaged rails 10. If any part of a wood fence is damaged, it is also best to repair it before painting. Remove and replace any pickets or boards that are rotting, cracked, or warped, replace any posts if needed, and nail in any boards that are coming loose. Expect to pay between $22 and $32 per linear foot 1 for repairs or $60 to $90 per hour if paying an hourly rate.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Restoration factors for antique accessories and latches. When painting a fence, it is a good time to also clean and restore latches and accessories. When appropriate, you can take the pieces to a company that restores antiques and you can expect to pay between $50 and $60 per hour for restoration services.
  • Permits and licenses. These are not normally needed for fence painting. Some municipalities do require a permit for replacing a fence, and many cities and HOAs have restrictions on fence height and design. Check with your HOA and call your city hall or local building inspector’s office to see if a permit is required and ask about any regulations. Expect to pay around $60 for a permit if one is required in your city.
  • Saving tips. Be sure to chat with neighbors about upcoming projects in your yard, especially if workers will need to be on their property. If part of your fence is shared by a neighbor or private area, it is best to bring them in on the project. Oftentimes, neighbors can agree to split the cost on that particular stretch of fence. However, if neighbors are not interested in this project, you may decide to only paint the side of the fence that is on your property.


  • How often should a fence be painted and re-coated?

Almost every fence material should be repainted every 2 to 3 years.

  • Are there color options or only preservative coats available for the material?

A wooden fence can be painted or stained in a variety of colors, or simply sealed. Vinyl and metal fencing can only be painted.

  • What if a section needs repairs, is the contractor qualified?

This depends on the company. Some companies may do painting only, while others can do both painting and repair projects. It is good to clarify this question before hiring someone for the job.

  • Are fences painted by the square foot 1 or as a whole?

Companies may quote a price by the square foot 1, linear foot 1, or by the project. Any of these are fine, but it will certainly be more expensive to hire a painter that charges an hourly rate for fence painting for this specific project.

  • If the fence was just installed does it still need paint or sealant?

Possibly. There are instances where you can choose prestained pickets. If the wood fence is installed raw, it will need to be painted, stained, or sealed after installation.

  • How long does it take to paint a fence?

It will take several days to paint a fence. It is important that the fence has a chance to dry between the cleaning, priming, and painting.

  • Is it worth it to get an upgrade in wood materials to save in the long run on fence painting and sealant?

​Opting for treated lumber will ensure your fence investment lasts for a long time. Treated wood can last up to 40 years. Untreated cedar can last 15-30 years, pine 5-12 years, or spruce 4-7 years. Of course, regular painting, staining, or sealing is a must no matter which product you choose.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Footing 1 Foot: A support for the foundation of a house that also helps prevent settling. It is typically made of concrete reinforced with rebar, but can also be made of masonry or brick. It is usually built under a heavier part of the house like a wall or column, to distribute the weight of the house over a larger area.
2 Picket fence: A barrier or railing made out of pointed, spaced, vertical uprights (referred to as pickets), connected by at least two horizontal rails, used primarily for decorative purposes
glossary term picture Vinyl 3 Vinyl: A synthetic plastic made from ethylene and chlorine. Vinyl has many applications in the construction industry and it is widely used in sidings, window frames, roofing and gutters, among others
glossary term picture Primer 4 Primer: Preparatory coat applied to materials (drywall, wood, metal, etc.) before painting to ensure paint adhesion, extend paint durability, and help seal and protect the surface to be painted
glossary term picture Sanding 5 Sanding: Process of removing the top surface of a material, such as wood, using sandpaper and/or a specialized sanding machine (for large surface areas)
glossary term picture Lead 6 Lead: A naturally occurring heavy metal that is highly toxic to humans, and has been used in paint, gasoline, piping, and other applications
glossary term picture Epoxy 7 Epoxy: An adhesive, plastic, paint, or other material made from polymers containing epoxide groups. Epoxy is best used for bonding or for creating a protective coating
glossary term picture Privacy Fence 8 Privacy fences: A barrier or railing, typically composed of solid material, used to form a blockade around a yard, field, or other expanse of land to prevent encroachments from the outside
glossary term picture Retaining Wall 9 Retaining wall: A structure used to support vertical slopes of earth or to hold back water
10 Rails: A long bar designed for a person to hold onto, giving them support. They are usually found on the sides of staircases, and can also be found in bathrooms, for example, to help persons with disabilities

Cost to paint or stain a fence varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources
Professional painting a wood fence
fence contractors near you
Get free estimates on FIXR from trusted fence contractors in your area

Was this guide helpful to you?

Cost to paint or stain a fence varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources