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

National Average Range:
$1,000 - $2,500
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Reviewed by Irene Pomares. Written by

A fence is a large investment. Maintaining a fence properly means that the homeowner needs to stain or paint the fence. Sprinkler water, pest and fertilizer sprays, lawn equipment damage, and weather beat up a fence over time. This causes fading, peeling, and cracking, resulting in deterioration. Homeowners can preserve and beautify fencing by choosing to restain or repaint a fence.

The pricing for painting or staining a fence varies according to the type of paint used, the material of the fence, and any repairs that might be required. This could include pressure-washing and sanding. The national average costs from $1,000 to $2,500, with the typical homeowner paying around $1,800 to paint a 1,000 sq.ft. fence with a medium grade of paint and pressure washing before application. On the low end, a homeowner will pay around $700 to stain a previously stained 1,000 sq.ft. fence that is in good condition and doesn't need repairs. Prices can go as high as $4,000 for a 1,000 sq.ft. fence with high-quality paint, sanding, pressure washing, and repairs.

Fence Painting Prices

Average Cost to Paint a Fence
National average cost$1,800
Average range$1,000-$2,500

Fence Painting Cost by Project Range

Staining a 1,000 sq. ft. of fence that is in good condition, doesn't need repairs
Average Cost
1,000 sq. ft. fence with a medium grade of paint and pressure washing before application
1,000 sq. ft. fence with high-quality paint, sanding, pressure washing, and repairs

Fence Paint vs Stain

Whether you need to paint or stain your fence mainly depends on your fence material. Wood fences are the only type that can be stained. This is because stain needs to soak into the material, and wood is the only product that allows for real saturation. Painting wood is possible but may require old paint to be removed and a primer 1 used. Vinyl, steel, metal, or wrought iron can be painted if fading occurs or the owner wants a new color.

While the cost of a gallon of stain is lower at $30 to $40 a gallon, it usually requires more product than painting. A gallon of paint costs $35 to $45, but the paint preparation may increase the costs, depending on the existing fence and its needs. Paint can peel and flake while stain will eventually fade.

While stain can easily be reapplied over an existing stain, a painted fence may require sanding and repainting more often than a waterproof stain. Generally, it costs more to paint a fence at the cost of $1,800 to $4,000. Staining a fence runs from $1,000 to $3,000.

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Cost to Paint or Stain a Fence per Linear Foot

The cost of painting or staining a fence depends on the amount of fence. Obviously, more fencing equates to more money. Painting versus staining affects the price of staining a fence. Additionally, costs vary according to the condition of the fence, what preparation is required, and the type of fence. Prices range from $200 to $5,400 depending on the length of the fence and whether it needs to be stained or painted.

Cost to Paint or Stain a 100, 125, 150, 200, 250, 300, and 400 Linear Feet Fence

Cost to Paint or Stain a 100, 125, 150, 200, 250, 300, and 400 Linear Feet Fence

Size of Fence in Linear FeetCost to Stain Fence (Labor Included)Cost to Paint Fence (Labor Included)
100 Linear Feet$200 - $1,200$300 - $1,350
125 Linear Feet$250 - $1,500$375 - $1,687
150 Linear Feet$300 - $1,800$450 - $2,025
200 Linear Feet$400 - $2,400$600 - $2,700
250 Linear Feet$500 - $3,000$750 - $3,375
300 Linear Feet$600 - $3,600$900 - $4,050
400 Linear Feet$800 - $4,800$1,200 - $5,400

Cost of Painting or Staining a Fence by Height

Fencing heights are a great way to provide exactly the amount of privacy needed. Many choices are available for the homeowner looking to create a certain atmosphere or achieve a particular goal with fencing. Keeping in a big dog prone to jumping over the fence may call for a taller fence. Those with swimming pools will want to have a higher fence to isolate outsiders and protect against accidental drowning. Someone with a flower garden may want to keep the kids out of it but to have it viewed by all. In this case, a shorter fence is a good option. The height of the fence is another factor in the cost of painting or staining. Staining is often more expensive as it may take more coats to cover the fence. Costs range from $2 to $13 per linear foot.

Cost per Linear Foot to Stain or Paint a 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12-Foot Fence

Cost per Linear Foot to Stain or Paint a 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12-Foot Fence

Height of the FenceCost per Linear Foot to Stain a Fence (Labor Included)Cost per Linear Foot to Paint a Fence (Labor Included)
4 Feet$2 - $3$3 - $4
6 Feet$5 - $7$6 - $8
8 Feet$7 - $9$8 - $10
10 Feet$9 - $11$10 - $12
12 Feet$11 - $13$12 - $14

Cost to Paint a Fence by Material

Many different types of fencing material are available, with each one having its pros and cons. If your existing fence needs to be painted or you would like to change the color, the cost will depend on the type of fence you have painted. Some fencing requires extra preparation, while others require a special paint or stain to ensure proper coverage and protection from the elements. Regardless of the type of fencing, a quality paint or stain specialist will ensure a beautiful, long-lasting fence. Costs for painting a fence range from $3 to $13.50 per linear foot.

Cost per Linear Foot to Paint a Wood, Vinyl, and Metal Fence

Cost per Linear Foot to Paint a Wood, Vinyl, and Metal Fence

MaterialCost per Linear Foot (Labor Included)
Wood$3 - $13.50
Vinyl$5 - $10
Metal$8 - $9

Cost to Paint Wood Fence

The cost to paint a wood fence varies according to the condition of the wood and the type of wood fence. A picket fence 2 that is shorter at three feet would only cost around $3 to $4 a linear foot, while a more complicated job like a shadow box fence runs $12.50 to $13.50 per linear foot. New fencing or wood that has been previously stained needs a little more work. Sanding, cleaning, and an application primer are required to prepare the wood for the paint. A waterproof outdoor paint should be used to prevent damage to the wood over time.

Painting Vinyl Fence

Expect to pay about $5 to $10 per linear foot to paint a vinyl 3 fence. One benefit of choosing a vinyl fence is that it needs little maintenance. It is important to clean it routinely with a hose to remove dirt, but it should not need to be painted. Of course, it 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 fence, it will need to be repainted every few years. Epoxy 4 paint for a vinyl fence is the only type that will properly stick to a vinyl fence.

Metal Fence Painting Cost

Painting a metal fence will cost $7 to $10 a linear foot. Corrugated, galvanized metal is generally not susceptible to rusting, so rust-proofing isn’t required. However, metals such as wrought iron or steel will rust. The use of a specialty primer to prepare the surface to accept the paint will ensure correct adherence. Loose paint must be removed via pressure washing or sandblasting. This will ensure the surface is clean and ready to receive the paint.

Cost per Linear Foot to Paint a Wrought Iron, Steel, and Corrugated Galvanized Metal Fence

Cost per Linear Foot to Paint a Wrought Iron, Steel, and Corrugated Galvanized Metal Fence

Metal FenceCost to Paint (Labor Included)
Wrought Iron$7 - $10
Steel$7.50 - $8.50
Corrugated Galvanized Metal$8 - $9

Wrought Iron Fence Painting Cost

The cost to paint a wrought iron fence runs from $7 to $10 per linear foot. Wrought iron is prone to rusting, so the preparation will include the removal of the rust. This can be done by pressure washing or sandblasting but is a vital part of the process. If you neglect to have the old paint removed, you may end up with peeling paint pretty soon after the job is done. A professional will use a rust-proofing primer before the paint is applied. If the rust has caused damage, repair may be difficult as it should be done with an epoxy weld. This process adds $250 to $750 to the cost.

Steel Fence Painting

You can expect to pay $7.50 to $8.50 per linear foot to have a steel fence painted. As steel is very similar to wrought iron, it is prone to rusting. When painting a steel fence, the professional will first remove any rust with sandblasting and use a wire brush in hard-to-reach areas. If the rust isn’t removed, it will eventually eat through the steel and leave pits in the product. Once the rust is gone, a rust converter primer will be brushed onto the fence. This will be followed by two coats of an oil enamel that is thinned with paint thinner. When your beautiful paint job is done, do your best to make sure the sprinkler doesn’t hit the fence continuously to avoid rust forming again.

Corrugated Galvanized Metal Fence Painting

To paint a corrugated galvanized metal fence, the cost will be $8 to $9. This type of fencing goes along with the popular distressed look. It is a long-lasting, rust-proof, durable fence that allows for a solid surface. The panels should be thoroughly cleaned and allowed to dry. Then, a primer that is specifically for galvanized material should be applied. After the painting is done, your fence will look new again and be ready to weather the elements for years to come.

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Cost to Stain a Fence by Type of Wood

Due to its natural beauty and ability to blend with environmental surroundings, wood is often the choice for fencing. When maintained properly, a wood fence can last for many years and is easily cleaned and restrained for a new-looking effect. Wood fences are available in a wide variety of styles and types of wood. Wood fencing can be used for privacy, safety, and corralling pets or livestock. Depending on the type of wood, you will need to use different types of stains or products. The cost to stain a wood fence is from $23 to $60 a gallon.

Cost per Gallon to Stain a Pine, Oak, Walnut, Redwood, Cedar, and Mahogany Wood Fence

Cost per Gallon to Stain a Pine, Oak, Walnut, Redwood, Cedar, and Mahogany Wood Fence

Type of WoodCost per Gallon (Materials Only)
Pine$23 - $34
Oak$25 - $35
Walnut$26 - $34
Redwood$28 - $45
Cedar$34 - $46
Mahogany$45 - $60

Stain Pine Fence

A gallon of pine fence stain costs $23 to $34. Pressure-treated pine is the least expensive type of wood for fencing. Pine wood is soft and absorbs stain quickly and easily. This is because its pores are much larger. Due to this intricacy, the wood will become too saturated if stained with a water-based product. A professional painter will use an oil-based stain to paint a pine fence to create a solid surface that repels water, pests, and UV rays.

Oak Fence Stain

An oak fence will cost you $25 to $35 a gallon for stain. Known for its durability, oak fencing is generally less expensive than its counterparts and boasts of warm tones with grain. Oak is a hardwood. However, it has larger pores, so staining is much easier. An expert contractor will choose water or oil-based stain due to the versatility of this material. A transparent stain enhances the character of the oak grain.

Walnut Fence Stain

Walnut fence stain costs $26 to $34 per gallon. Walnut is a light to dark chocolate-colored wood. Because it is hardwood, it has smaller wood fibers. This makes it harder to stain. The best stain is oil-based with waterproofing and a sealant in the same formula. A semi-transparent or transparent stain allows the natural knotting to show through while providing resistance to insects and rot.

Stain Redwood Fence

The stain for redwood 5 costs $28 to $45 per gallon. Redwood is often mistaken for cedar because they have a similar reddish-brown color. Without stain, over time, redwood takes on a silver-gray look. A much harder wood than cedar, redwood is long-lasting and requires less maintenance. It is a more expensive wood, so maintenance is vital. Using a transparent or semi-transparent water-based stain provides UV protection, makes the wood resistant to moisture and insects, and keeps it looking new longer.

Cost to Stain Cedar Fence

The cost to stain a cedar fence is $34 to $46 a gallon. Cedar is naturally a beautiful red color and is an insect- and moisture-resistant product. However, it fades over time. Stain can brighten and beautify your fence. The recommendation for cedar is a water-based stain that contains paraffin wax. The wax deters water from penetrating the wood and causing warping or cracking.

Mahogany Fence Stain

To stain a mahogany fence, expect to pay $45 to $60 per gallon. Mahogany is considered a traditional hardwood and is one of the more expensive wood products. With this in mind, homeowners with this type of fence will want to protect the wood to extend the life and preserve the fencing as long as possible. Professional painters recommend an oil-based stain for this type of wood.

Fence Painting Prices by Type of Fence

The intricacies and nuances of each type of fence affect the pricing for painting. Additionally, the type of preparation, base or primers that must be used, and the type of paint required will all influence the cost of painting a fence. Preparation, in particular, adds to the expense because it adds more time to the project. Often, the type of fence includes smaller, harder-to-reach areas, such as shadow box fences. The cost range by type of fence is $3 to $13.50 per linear foot.

Cost per Linear Foot to Paint a Picket, Post and Rail, Chain Link, Privacy, and Pipe Fence

Cost per Linear Foot to Paint a Picket, Post and Rail, Chain Link, Privacy, and Pipe Fence

Type of FenceCost per Linear Foot (Labor Included)
Picket$3 - $4
Post and Rail$3.50 - $4.50
Chain Link$6 - $7
Privacy$7 - $13.50
Pipe$7.50 - $8.50

Cost to Paint a Picket Fence

To paint a picket fence, expect to pay $3 to $4 per linear foot. Picket fences are shorter, so there is less work involved. If there is stain finish already on the fence, sanding will be required at an extra cost of $1.80 to $2 per sq.ft. If the fencing is raw wood, a primer and waterproof paint will be required. Painting gives a picket fence character and can be used to accent the home and yard. Vinyl picket fencing would need epoxy-based paint to ensure adherence.

Post and Rail Fence Paint

The cost to paint post and rail fencing is less expensive at $3.50 to $4.50 per linear foot due to the smaller amount of material involved. Post and rail fencing is made of a wood or vinyl product. This quaint type of fencing is often used for larger acreage or farms. It isn’t generally used for any type of animal corralling except for large animals such as horses or cows because it isn’t a solid fence. The painter uses a pressure washer to remove dirt and any chipped paint. Next, the professional applies a primer if necessary. Finally, waterproof paint will be added to complete the finished product.

The cost to paint a chain link fence is $6 to $7 per linear foot. Chain link fencing is usually located in older areas as it is not used nearly as much as it used to be. It is a sturdy, long-lasting fence that can rust if left unkempt. Trimming back bushes or shrubs maintains the integrity of a chain link fence. Before painting, the contractor removes any rust, makes repairs, and applies a rust-proof primer to help keep rust from occurring.

Paint Privacy Fence Cost

The cost to paint a privacy fence ranges from $7 to $13.50 per linear foot. Three types of privacy fences are available, including stockade, board on board, and shadow box. Each one can be constructed of different types of materials. Homeowners often choose a privacy fence because of a hot tub, swimming pool, or family area.

Cost per Linear Foot to Paint a Stockade, Board on Board, and Shadow Box Privacy Fence

Cost per Linear Foot to Paint a Stockade, Board on Board, and Shadow Box Privacy Fence

Privacy Fence TypeCost to Paint per Linear Foot (Labor Included)
Stockade$7 - $8
Board on Board$8 - $10
Shadow Box$12.50 - $13.50

Stockade Fence Painting

To have a stockade fence painted, expect to pay $7 to $8 per linear foot. This fence doesn’t allow for as much privacy because there are some small gaps between the boards. Painting a stockade fence is less expensive due to the almost solid surface of the panels. Each panel has side-by-side boards, so easy up and down painting flows from one board to the next. As with other privacy fences, stockades need a good cleaning before painting and removing any existing paint or stain. A primer should be used to ensure proper adherence of the paint.

Board on Board Fence Painting

The cost for painting this type of fence is $8 to $10 for a linear foot. A board on board fence is great for privacy because there is little to no gap between the boards. A board on the back of the fence between each board keeps the gaps at a minimum. Often the back of the fence isn’t painted since it faces a neighbor’s yard. Board on board fencing is easier to paint, whatever the material.

Shadow Box Fence Painting

The cost for painting shadow box privacy fencing is $12.50 to $13.50 per linear foot. Shadow box privacy fencing is constructed so that the boards alternate on both sides of the fence, allowing for complete privacy. Due to its intricacies, shadow box fencing is more complicated and expensive to paint. Depending on the material and existing paint or stain, shadow box fencing may require removing the existing paint or stain, primer, and waterproof paint.

Cost to Paint a Pipe Fence

The cost to paint pipe fencing is $7.50 to $8.50 per linear foot. Pipe fencing is a rather unusual type of fencing, typically used to corral horses. It is made of steel, so it will rust if not cared for properly. To paint, the contractor removes any rust using a sand blaster or a wire brush, depending on the extent of the damage. Next, a rust-proofing primer will be applied. Finally, an oil paint ensures proper protection from further rusting.

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Average Cost to Stain a Fence by Type of Fence

One of the most popular materials for fences is wood. Wood is the only material that can be stained, so it is the perfect solution for homeowners who want their fences to blend in with the environment. Although it has some drawbacks, wood fencing is long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing. The range of costs for staining the different types of fences is $2 to $12 per linear foot.

Cost per Linear Foot to Stain a Picket, Split Rail, Horizontal, and Privacy Wood Fence

Cost per Linear Foot to Stain a Picket, Split Rail, Horizontal, and Privacy Wood Fence

Type of Wood FenceCost per Linear Foot (Labor Included)
Picket$2 - $3
Split Rail$2.50 - $3.50
Horizontal$4 - $8
Privacy Fence$5 - $12

Stain Picket Fence

Staining a picket fence costs $2 to $3 per linear foot. A picket fence is usually only about 3 feet tall. If the fence has an existing stain on it, the professional needs to sand the fence at $1.80 to $2 per sq. ft. For raw wood, a primer and water-proof paint should be applied to prevent cracking, splitting, or corrosion due to moisture.

Split Rail Fence Stain

Staining a split rail fence 6 costs less at $2.50 to $3.50 per linear foot. This is because there is less wood to stain on these post and rail fences. You will mostly see this type of fencing on estates or farms to corral horses or cows. To complete the painting job, the first step will be to sand the wood lightly to remove any existing stain. It may not be necessary to use a primer as many stains contain a primer and a sealant. The sealant locks the material, so moisture won’t cause mold, mildew, or water damage.

Horizontal Fence Stain

The costs for staining a horizontal fence range from $4 to $8 per linear foot. The cost to stain a horizontal fence depends on the gaps between the boards because close boards can be stained quicker than separated boards. This fencing gives a more modern look and is a fairly new concept. The panels that contain boards that are close together provide more privacy. The ones with the boards further apart provide an updated fence option. As with other wood fences, stain with a primer and sealant preserve the life and look of this type of fence.

Cost to Stain a Privacy Fence

Staining a privacy fence 7 runs from $5 to $12 per linear foot. Privacy fence, sometimes referred to as board on board fencing, is the middle of the road as far as costs to stain. Three types of privacy fencing are available, including stockade, board on board, and shadowbox. Privacy fencing is the best way to make your backyard safe and secure.

Cost per Linear Foot to Stain a Stockade, Board on Board, and Shadow Box Privacy Wood Fence

Cost per Linear Foot to Stain a Stockade, Board on Board, and Shadow Box Privacy Wood Fence

Privacy Fence StainingCost per Linear Foot (Labor Included)
Stockade$5 - $7
Board on Board$6 - $8
Shadow Box$10 - $12

Stockade Fence Stain

The cost to stain stockade fencing is one of the least expensive at $5 to $7 per linear foot. It is cheaper because the boards are side by side so that staining can be done quickly and efficiently. These fences are not always as sturdy as others. However, if maintained properly, they can last for many years. Using waterproof stain with a sealant creates the best conditions to keep your fence looking its best year after year.

Board on Board Privacy Fence

The cost to stain a board on board privacy fence is $6 to $8 per linear foot. With this type of fencing, the front of the panels is side by side boards, which is an easy job. However, between the boards, on the opposite side is another board. If you plan to paint both sides of the panels, it will take longer for this type of privacy fence.

Staining a Shadow Box Fence

To stain a shadow box fence, you can expect to pay $10 to $12 per linear foot. With alternating boards on each side of the fence, this fence requires quite a bit more work when staining. All of the hard-to-reach spots require more labor. You can expect this to be a more expensive job. The good news is that shadow box fencing provides the most privacy of all of the fences available.

Average Price of Fence Paint or Stain by Composition

Two different types of paint or stain are available, including oil-based or water-based. Each of these has its own pros and cons. Homeowners should determine the best choice for the job, including the material, the time allowed for the project, the location of the fence, and how much maintenance they want to perform over time. Other factors include weather exposure and how the material was originally treated. For instance, a wood fence with an existing stain is easier to update with another coat of the same type of stain rather than using paint. This is because of the amount of preparation involved. Keep in mind that the stain or paint used should be the same base product as the original one. Otherwise, the fence will need to be stripped and sanded. The cost of oil-based paint or stain ranges from $28 to $40 per gallon, while water-based stain or paint costs from $29 to $60.

Cost per Gallon of Oil and Water-Based Paint and Stain

Cost per Gallon of Oil and Water-Based Paint and Stain

Composition of Paint or StainStain Cost per Gallon (Materials Only)Paint Cost per Gallon (Materials Only)
Oil-Based$28 - $35$29 - $40
Water-Based$29 - $40$31 - $60

Oil-Based Fence Paint or Stain

A can of oil-based fence stain ranges in price from $28 to $35, while a can of paint costs between $29 and $40. Some advantages of oil-based paint are that they often last longer, penetrate into the wood better, and provide a thicker seal. They take longer to dry than water-based paint or stain. Clean up is more invasive as regular soap and water don’t work with oil-based paint. Over time, an oil-based fence paint requires less upkeep.

Water-Based Fence Paint or Stain

For a gallon size can of water-based fence stain, you can expect to pay $29 to $40, while you will pay $31 to $60 for water-based paint. This type of paint or stain dries much faster than an oil-based product. It provides deeper hues of color, and the color remains brighter longer. It is non-flammable, contains no harmful fumes, and is more breathable. However, water-based paint or stain is not as weather resistant as oil-based paint or stain. Many professionals recommend using oil-based paint to protect the wood in areas where there is extensive rain or sunlight.

Cost of Painting Fence by Type of Finish

Exterior paint comes in several different finishes, including matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss. Each of these has various pros and cons. The homeowner should consider what is best for durability and the condition of your fence. In this case, the type of material isn’t a factor except for the preparation that will still apply to the materials involved. The costs range from $15 to $70 per gallon.

Cost per Gallon of Matte, Eggshell, Satin, Semi-Gloss, and High Gloss Fence Paint

Cost per Gallon of Matte, Eggshell, Satin, Semi-Gloss, and High Gloss Fence Paint

Type of Paint FinishCost per Gallon (Materials Only)
Matte or Flat$15 - $40
Eggshell$30 - $50
Satin$30 - $50
Semi-Gloss$40 - $60
High Gloss$50 - $70

Matte Fence Paint

Exterior matte or flat finishes run $15 to $40 per gallon. With a non-reflective, rough finish, matte fence paint is difficult to clean. It is good at hiding imperfections but may become chalky or chip more easily than paint with more gloss. This finish should only be used on a fence with bumps or blemishes that need covering because it will need painting more often.

Eggshell Fence Paint

To paint your fence in an eggshell finish, you will pay $30 to $50 per gallon. Eggshell has very little shine, much like the surface of an egg. This means it won’t show dents or dings in the fence. The fence will feel smoother than a matte or flat finish. It is easier to wash clean than a matte finish but may still be a little difficult to remove stubborn stains.

Satin Fence Paint

Satin exterior paint costs $30 to $50 per gallon. Satin is the middle of the road paint that provides a slight sheen and is an easy to clean surface. The same color in matte or eggshell in a satin finish will be darker and richer, so keep that in mind when choosing your fence favorite. Satin finish is not as forgiving and requires a talented painter to ensure no lap marks.

Semi-Gloss Fence Paint

A gallon of semi-gloss fence paint is $40 to $60 per gallon. While a semi-gloss paint is great for clean ups and is a durable option, it shows every little flaw. Additionally, even the most experienced painter struggles to keep from making lap marks. In a climate where there is a lot of dust or soil that could get slung on the fence, a semi-gloss works well because you can just hose it down.

High Gloss Fence Paint

The price for a gallon of high gloss exterior paint is $50 to $70 per gallon. High gloss is a great choice for homes where children and pets constantly rub against the fence, or dirt may be splashed by running dogs or little ones. Keep in mind that high gloss means lots of reflection, so every little ding or imperfection shows up. It is a long-lasting, rich look, making it a good choice for murals or designs.

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Cost of Staining a Fence by Stain Opacity

The opacity of the stain affects how deep the color is in the wood. Stains come in many different colors and opacities. The more transparent the stain, the less effective it is at deflecting water and moisture. That is why it is usually better to go with a solid or semi-transparent fence stain or to make certain your stain contains a sealant. The cost for stains ranges between $26 to $40 per gallon.

Cost per Gallon of Transparent, Semi-Transparent, and Solid Fence Stain

Cost per Gallon of Transparent, Semi-Transparent, and Solid Fence Stain

Stain OpacityCost per Gallon (Materials Only)
Transparent$26 - $30
Semi-Transparent$28 - $32
Solid$35 - $40

Transparent Fence Stain

The cost for a gallon of transparent fence stain is $26 to $30. Transparent stain is often chosen to allow all of the details of the wood grain to shine through. It usually doesn’t contain much of a tint but covers the surface with a protective film. If you have a fence just the color you like, a transparent fence stain keeps the surface safe from weather, insects, and deterioration. Transparent fence stain requires restaining more often.

Semi-Transparent Fence Stain

To purchase a gallon of semi-transparent fence stain, expect to pay $28 to $32. This stain creates a slight tint to the wood while allowing some natural wood grain to show. It is a good option as it provides more weather resistance than a transparent fence stain. Waterproof formulas contain a sealant to ensure the fence is ready to weather the elements. The painter needs to use a finish stripper if there is an existing stain.

Solid Fence Stain

A gallon size can of solid fence stain costs $35 to $40. This stain provides a thick layer that prevents the wood from cracking and peeling and covers up imperfections. Solid fence stain’s film helps to protect the wood for years to come. Most of these types of stains carry a weather-proofing element that keeps wood from weathering too quickly. A solid fence stain can be applied over a lighter stain with no problems.

Fence Primer Cost by Type

Although the stain or paint may contain a primer 1, not all of them do. Primer is needed to prepare the surface to receive the paint, so the best possible adherence is achieved. It hides imperfections so that the paint or stain looks nice when it is finished. Areas of metal or iron fence with a small amount of rust should be covered with a rust-reformer application before painting. This ensures rust will not continue to form. The material of your fence and the type of paint you use dictates the type of primer needed. Buying a gallon of primer costs $15 to $80.

Cost per Gallon of Adhesive, Oil, Shellac, and Latex Fence Primers

Cost per Gallon of Adhesive, Oil, Shellac, and Latex Fence Primers

Type of PrimerAverage Cost per Gallon (Materials Only)
Adhesive$15 - $60
Oil$20 - $50
Shellac$20 - $60
Latex$20 - $80

Labor Cost to Stain or Paint a Fence

A big portion of the cost of having your fence stained or painted is the labor. Professional painters charge $40 to $60 an hour. Some painters charge by the linear foot when painting certain items due to the details and material being painted. This could be between $3 and $13.50 per linear foot. Painting experts charge according to the amount of effort and time needed to complete the project. Staining may require more coats, but costs are generally $2 to $12 per linear foot. You may hire a painter that gives you a rate that includes the entire job. Depending on the material, the preparation required, the details, and the type of paint or stain used, the cost ranges from $1,000 to $2,500.

Fence Preparation Before Painting

Prep work is needed before starting to paint a fence. Obstructions need to be cleared out of the way 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. A yard clean-up service may do this for you.

The surface of the fence will 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 is from $450 to $800. While pressure washing is effective for cleaning the fence, it is not recommended for paint removal because it takes very high pressure to accomplish this task. This could gouge the wood. Normally, this prep work is included in the overall fence painting cost. Power washing may be used to remove dirt, mold, mildew, and rust. The cost for power washing may be a part of the fence painting or staining cost.

Painted fencing that has peeling paint could be sandblasted to remove the excess. This could cost an additional $2 to $16 per square foot but may be included in the total pricing. A fence with an existing coat of stain needs to be sanded 8 to prepare for the new stain or paint. Any repairs that need to be done, such as rust removal, mold or mildew treatment, welding on iron or steel fencing to repair breaks, should be done before the primer. A primer may be required before the paint is applied, based on the condition of the fencing surface.

Wood Picket Fence Painted in White With Pink Flowers​​​​​​

Pros and Cons of Painting or Staining a Fence

When the only other option is to replace the fence, painting or staining a fence may cost you less money and allow you to pick how you want your existing fence to look. The homeowner should consider some pros and cons of staining a fence.

Painting or staining a fence to match or contrast your home creates a fresh, new look. It adds curb appeal to the area around your home. Homeowners who live in wooded areas may want to help the fence blend in more with the environment by using a stain or lighter, neutral paint color. A freshly painted or stained fence gives the backyard a facelift.

New paint or stain extends the life of your fence as it protects against moisture and deterioration. Paint or stains often contain a formula that prevents damage from UV rays. It wards off weathering that can cause cracking or breakage.

The cons to painting or staining are also a concern. There is a considerable amount of expense involved. You also may experience some inconvenience while the job is being done, such as being unable to use your backyard and having strangers around your home. Unless your contractor is willing to warranty his/her work, you won’t get a new warranty on your existing fence. If you buy a new fence, you would.


All painted and stained fences need some maintenance. Not only will an unkempt fence make your home look unsightly, but it means that your fence will deteriorate quicker. Ways to prevent problems for all types of fences include keeping shrubs, trees, and bushes trimmed away from the surface of the fence. With flora and fauna too close, it can create mold and mildew on the fence. It makes moisture more prone to form, which will damage wood, cause rust on metal or iron, and cause fading and cracking in vinyl fencing. Dirt can result in stains that eventually won’t come off of vinyl. Pressure washing to remove mold, mildew, and dirt costs $450 to $800.

Wrought Iron Fence Painted in Black

Paint or Stain a Fence with Spray vs Roller

Painting or staining a fence can be done with a sprayer or a roller. Obviously, a sprayer is much faster but comes with some concerns. The contractor will need to cover and tape all areas close to the fencing to ensure that overspray doesn’t occur. There is a possibility that some of your home’s windows and doors will need to be covered for several hours while the job is done if they are close to the fence. If the paint sprayer is a quality product and the painter is professional, you shouldn’t see any drips in the fence paint or spray. A roller and brushes can be used for larger areas but may cost you more in labor since they add to the time needed to complete the job.

Replace vs Paint or Stain a Fence

In situations where a fence is fairly old, a homeowner may want to decide if it is wiser to replace the fence. With a new fence, you are assured you have a warranty for the fence itself to last a certain number of years. If you are painting or staining a fence, the only warranty is for the work done, not the fence itself. Other factors are the condition of your fence because extensive repairs, clean-up, or preparation work add to the cost of your painting job. If a fence is old and has cracks, broken pieces, or is unable to be repaired, it is best to replace it.

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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Special Painting Treatments

When it comes to protecting against fading and rain, it 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. Natural colors such as beige, tan, and brown are less likely to fade. Quality prep work is key to making paint last.

Restoration of Damaged Fence Parts

When investing in painting 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. If any part of a wood fence is damaged, it is 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 $30 and 35 per sq.ft. for repairs or $60 to $90 per hour if paying an hourly rate.


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 with 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 to $20 per sq.ft. for a simple mural, or up to $25 to $50 per sq.ft. for an intricate mural.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Permits and licenses. A permit is not required to have your fence painted. Licensing requirements vary from state to state, but most locations have some licensing requirements.
  • DIY. While painting or staining your fence could be done by the homeowner, it isn’t recommended. Working with paint and stain is messy and requires certain equipment to make the job easier. Mistakes can become costly.
  • Home value. Anything that you do to your home that makes it look better adds value. A peeling, faded, or worn fence makes your home lose its curb appeal.


  • Can you paint a vinyl fence?

Vinyl fencing can be painted with epoxy-based paint. While most vinyl fences can go for a long time without needing to be painted, the homeowner may want to change the color or give it a fresh look.

  • How long does it take to stain a fence?

The length of time it takes to stain a fence depends on the preparation needed and the amount of fencing you have. On average, a single contractor could stain a fence in three or four hours.

  • How many coats of stain on a fence?

Most stain manufacturers advise that a fence be covered with two thin coats to avoid a sticky mess. Adding one thick coat makes the surface uneven and possibly creates bubbling.

  • How many coats of paint on a fence?

Unless you are using one-coat paint, two thinner coats of paint provide adequate coverage. When going from a darker color to a lighter color, you should always use a primer.

  • How much do painters charge to paint a fence?

Professional painters charge $3 to $13.50 per linear foot or $40 to $60 an hour.

  • Should I paint or stain my fence?

Painting and staining each have positives and negatives. Paint will eventually peel while stain fades. Staining allows for a more natural look, while painting has more options for colors.

  • Should I stain both sides of my fence?

It depends on the location of your fence. Obviously, you will want all of the fencing facing into the backyard to be stained, as well as the fencing that faces the street. If you have a neighbor beside you or behind you, it is up to them to stain the other side of the fence. It could cost as much as 50% more to paint both sides of the fence.

  • What color should I paint my fence?

Fence paint color depends on personal preference. If you want the fence to match or contrast with your house, choose a color that works that way. For a house that is near lots of trees, you may want a stained or more neutral color to blend in with the surroundings.

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 Primer 1 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
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 Epoxy 4 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
5 Redwood: Tree with reddish colored timber
glossary term picture Ranch-Style Fence 6 Split rail fence: A barrier or railing, often associated with ranches and farms, typically made of wood (or vinyl) and composed of posts and a varying number of horizontal rails
glossary term picture Privacy Fence 7 Privacy fence: 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 Sanding 8 Sanded: Process of removing the top surface of a material, such as wood, using sandpaper and/or a specialized sanding machine (for large surface areas)

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.

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