How much does it cost to paint or stain a fence?

National Average Range:
$1,000 - $4,000

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Fence Painting Cost Guide

Updated: December 27, 2022

Reviewed by Cristina Miguelez remodeling expert. Written by

To provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date cost figures, we gather information from a variety of pricing databases, licensed contractors, and industry experts.

A fence is a large investment, and maintaining a fence properly means 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, causing fading, peeling, cracking, and resulting in deterioration. Homeowners can preserve and beautify fencing by choosing to restain or repaint it. Painting or staining also improves the appearance of the fence, which can enhance the property’s curb appeal. The pricing for painting or staining a fence varies according to the paint type, material, and required repairs, which could include pressure washing and sanding.

The national average cost range to paint or stain a fence is $1,000 to $4,000, with most homeowners paying around $2,000 to paint a 209 linear foot, or a ¼ acre, 6’ high privacy fence on both sides with an oil-based paint and primer after washing. This project’s low cost is $450 to stain both sides of a 100 linear foot 4’ high fence in good condition that has been previously stained. The high cost is $6,000 to paint 1 acre of wood split rail fencing on both sides using an oil-based paint and primer after cleaning the wood and removing the old paint.

Fence Painting Prices

Average Cost of Fence Painting
National average cost$2,000
Average range$1,000-$4,000

Fence Paint vs Stain Cost

Whether you need to paint or stain your fence mainly depends on your fence material and preferences for the finished look. Wood fences are the only type that can be stained because stain needs to soak into the material, and wood is the only product that allows for real saturation. Painting wood is also possible, depending on the look you want. With stain, you can see the wood grain or have it completely cover the wood. Paint always covers the wood but may give you different colors or finishes. Stain lasts about 3 to 4 years, while paint lasts 5 to 6. Both paint and stain have similar needs for prep work, but if your wood needs to be primed before it can be painted, this can add to the cost, while stain can be applied to the bare wood.

Vinyl, steel, metal, and wrought iron can be painted if fading occurs or the owner wants a new color. Depending on the material, you may need to remove old cracking or peeling paint first, or you may need a primer to apply the paint to the surface. This has varying costs depending on the material, its condition, and how the paint needs to be applied. This tends to make the costs equal for both projects, costing $2.25 to $10 a linear foot.

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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 fencing amount. More fencing equates to increased costs, and painting versus staining affects the price. Additionally, costs vary according to the fence condition, required preparation, and fence type. Keep in mind that your fence has two sides. It is possible to paint or stain just one side when opting for a fresh look for that side of the fence, such as on the side that faces the street. However, in most cases, you will paint or stain both sides of the fence to fully protect it. So, while the cost to paint or stain a fence per linear foot is $2.25 to $10, those costs are doubled for most fences because both sides need coverage. This makes the cost to paint both sides of the fence $4.50 to $20 a linear foot.

Cost to paint or stain a 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, 300, and 400-linear-foot fence (mobile)

SizeAverage Cost
25 Linear Feet$112.50 - $500
50 Linear Feet$225 - $1,000
75 Linear Feet$337.50 - $1,500
100 Linear Feet$450 - $2,000
150 Linear Feet$675 - $3,000
200 Linear Feet$900 - $4,000
300 Linear Feet$1,350 - $6,000
400 Linear Feet$1,800 - $8,000

Cost of Painting a Fence by the Square Foot

Many painters calculate their costs in square feet for the area being painted because the fence comes in varying heights. And, it is easier to calculate the costs and material amount needed by working out the square footage of the area to be painted. This means multiplying the height of the fence by the length to get the square footage. Because it is common for fences to be painted on both sides, you will likely have to double your square footage to get the most accurate costs. Square foot costs to paint or stain a fence range from $0.35 to $0.90 for most fences, including all labor and material. While this is considerably lower than the cost per linear foot, keep in mind that linear foot costs need to factor in the height to give you an accurate cost. This can mean that the costs per linear foot increase with the height of the fence to accommodate the change.

Cost of Painting or Staining a Fence by Height

Fencing heights are a great way to provide the amount of privacy needed. Many choices are available for the Containing a large dog prone to jumping over the fence may call for a taller fence. Those with swimming pools will want a higher fence to isolate outsiders and protect against accidental drowning. Someone with a flower garden may want to keep the kids out but have it viewed by all. In this case, a shorter fence is a good option. The fence height is another factor in the cost of painting or staining. An 8’ tall fence of 100 linear feet has twice the area to paint as a 4’ fence of 100 linear feet. This makes the costs higher for the 8’ fence than for the 4’ fence. The costs below are for painting or staining a fence of varying heights by the linear foot.

Cost to paint or stain a 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12-foot high fence (mobile)

HeightCost per Linear Foot
4 Feet$2.25 - $3.50
6 Feet$3.25 - $5.75
8 Feet$4.50 - $7.50
10 Feet$6.50 - $9
12 Feet$8.50 - $10

Cost of Fence Painting by Material

Many fencing materials are available, each with pros and cons. If your existing fence needs to be painted or you want to change the color, the cost will depend on the fence type. 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, a quality paint or stain specialist will ensure a beautiful, long-lasting fence. Below are the average costs for painting a fence, ranging from $2.25 to $10 per linear foot and $0.35 to $0.90 per sq.ft.

Cost per linear foot and per square foot to paint a wood, composite, vinyl, and metal fence (mobile)

MaterialPainting Cost per Linear FootPainting Cost per Square Foot
Wood$2.25 - $10$0.35 - $0.90
Composite$2.25 - $10$0.35 - $0.90
Vinyl$3.75 - $10$0.35 - $0.90
Metal$5 - $10$0.45 - $0.90

Paint a Wood Fence

The cost to paint a wood fence per linear foot ranges from $2.25 to $10 a linear foot, while the cost to paint a wood fence per square foot averages $0.35 to $0.90. The cost to paint a wood fence varies according to the wood condition and wood fence type. A 3’ picket fence will cost considerably less than a 6’ shadow box fence, which requires additional square footage with the way the boards are laid out. New fencing or wood that has been previously stained may need more work, depending on the fence. Sanding, cleaning, and an application primer are required to prepare some wood fences for the paint. While some cedar and redwood fences are designed to be left bare, they must be primed first if you choose to paint them. Otherwise, the sap will bleed through the paint in a process called “cedar bleed.” This means that the cost to paint a cedar fence may be higher than the cost to paint some other fences, depending on their condition. Use waterproof outdoor paint to prevent damage to the wood over time.

Composite Fence Painting

The cost to paint a composite fence averages $2.25 to $10 a linear foot. The cost to paint or stain a composite fence per square foot averages $0.35 to $0.90. Composite fences frequently come already painted. This color can last for years without issue but may eventually fade, or you may want to update the color. Depending on the color and condition of the composite, you may need to clean and prime the fence first, resulting in higher costs. Like wooden fences, the shape and height of the fence impact your total costs to paint.

Painting a Vinyl Fence

Expect to pay $3.75to $10 per linear foot to paint a vinyl fence. The cost to paint a vinyl fence per square foot is $0.40 to $0.90. 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 wants to change the color or make it look new again. If someone chooses to paint their vinyl fence, it must be repainted every few years. Vinyl fences require an adhesive primer and then acrylic paint to help the paint bond properly to the vinyl.

Metal Fence Painting

Painting a metal fence costs $5 to $10 a linear foot. The cost to paint metal fences per square foot averages $0.45 to $0.90. Corrugated galvanized metal is generally not susceptible to rusting, so rust-proofing is not required. However, metals like wrought iron and steel will rust if not painted and treated properly. Using a specialty primer to prepare the surface to accept the paint will ensure the 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.

Metal fence painting costs vary depending on the metal. Wrought iron is often more complex and susceptible to rust, so it has the largest cost range. If there is rust, it must be removed. Otherwise, only flaking paint should be pressure washed off before painting. Steel fences are similar but not usually as complex, so the total cost range is not as wide. Steel is more likely to have faded paint, so it usually needs a primer as compared with wrought iron. Corrugated galvanized metal is not often painted because the galvanized surface can be left bare without issue. However, if you choose to paint it, it must be primed first with an adhesive primer, which can increase costs slightly over the other metal fence types.

Cost per linear foot and per square foot to paint a wrought iron, steel, and corrugated galvanized metal fence (mobile)

TypePainting Cost per Linear FootPainting Cost per Square Foot
Wrought Iron$5 - $10$0.45 - $0.90
Steel$7.50 - $8.50$0.50 - $0.60
Corrugated Galvanized$8 - $9$0.55 - $0.65

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Fence Staining Cost by Type of Wood

Wood is one of the most common materials for fencing. It comes in many different species, which can have different natural colors and grain. Some woods, such as spruce, cedar, redwood, cypress, and fir, are naturally water resistant, so some people choose to leave them bare to weather. However, staining your wood fence has a few benefits. It can enhance the beauty of the fence and help protect the wood from eventual rot. Even cedar will eventually wear out if not treated properly.

There are two basic stain types - opaque and solid stains and translucent and transparent stains. The first changes the color of the wood and can completely hide the wood grain. The second type is thinner, allowing some or all the natural color and wood grain to show. Depending on the wood type, you may need a water-based or oil-based stain. Keep in mind that oil-based stains are illegal and banned in many states. For the hardwoods, water-based stains are simply not absorbed, while on softwoods, they tend to give the wood a poor-looking finish, even though oil stains are harder to apply. The need for oil-based stains means that the cost to stain a cedar fence or another fence that does not easily accept an oil-based stain can be higher than the cost to stain a fence that will accept a water-based stain. Some tropical hardwoods are very hard to stain even with oil, so they can have the highest costs. Below are the average costs per linear foot and square foot to stain a fence based on the wood type.

Cost per linear foot and per square foot to stain a fence by type of wood: oak, spruce, pine, redwood, cedar, cypress... (mobile)

Type of WoodCost to Stain per Linear FootCost to Stain per Square Foot
Oak$2.25 - $8$0.35 - $0.75
Spruce$3 - $9$0.40 - $0.80
Pine$3 - $9$0.40 - $0.80
Redwood$3 - $9$0.40 - $0.80
Cedar / Western Red Cedar$3 - $9$0.40 - $0.80
Cypress$3 - $9$0.40 - $0.80
Douglas Fir$3 - $9$0.40 - $0.80
Ipe$3 - $10$0.40 - $0.90
Tropical Hardwood$3 - $10$0.40 - $0.90
Black Locust$3 - $10$0.40 - $0.90

Cost of Painting a Fence by Type of Fence

The intricacies and nuances of each fence type affect the pricing for painting. Fences have differing amounts of surface area to be painted. A split rail or post and rail fence has a lot of space between the rails, but the rails themselves must be painted on all sides. A stockade fence and shadowbox fence are both tall privacy fences that are usually painted on both sides. But a shadowbox fence is more complex, so it takes more paint and labor to finish. For this reason, while the cost to paint per square foot may be identical, many painters use multipliers to correct for the added paint and labor or subtract for it. For a complex fence, such as a shadowbox privacy fence, the total square footage is usually multiplied by 1.5 to provide a more detailed impression of the costs. This and the fence height can give you the most accurate project costs.

Total costs vary within each fence type by how complex it is. For example, the cost to paint or stain a split rail fence with irregular rails will be higher than to paint one with even rails. A very decorative wrought iron palisade fence will cost more to paint than a plainer, more-minimalist palisade fence. The cost to paint a picket fence is generally higher than rail fences because there is more surface area while still having less area than a solid fence. Fences with many gaps like lattice and chain link can have more moderate costs because they have a lot of surface, but much of that does not receive paint. The tighter the lattice or chain link, the higher the total cost. Pipe fences can have a varying amount of rails and pipes, which can make the fence more complex, so the cost to paint a pipe fence can be higher.

Solid fences and privacy fences, including horizontal, stockade, dog ear, and shadowbox, have some of the highest costs to paint for wood, vinyl, and composite fences because they have the most area to cover. The most common fence size in the U.S. is ¼ acre. Below are the average costs to paint fences of different types based on their most common height and dimensions, assuming a fence size of ¼ acre and that the fence will be painted on both sides.

Cost per linear foot and for 1/4 acre to paint a fence by type: split rail, post and rail, picket, chain link, lattice... (mobile)

TypeCost to Paint per Linear FootCost to Paint ¼ Acre
Split Rail$2.25 - $3.50$940 - $1,465
Post and Rail$2.25 - $3.50$940 - $1,465
Picket$2.75 - $4$1,150 - $1,675
Chain Link$4 - $7$1,675 - $2,925
Lattice$4 - $7$1,675 - $2,925
Privacy$4 - $12$1,675 - $5,015
Palisade$5 - $10$2,090 - $4,180
Pipe$5 - $10$2,090 - $4,180

Fence Staining Cost by Type of Wood Fence

One of the most popular materials for fences is wood. Wood is the only material that can be stained, so it offers finishes and colors that would not be available with other materials. Stains can be opaque and solid, translucent, or transparent in the finish. Opaque stains are similar to paint but have a matte finish. Translucent stains will deepen, darken, or change the wood color while allowing its natural grain to show through. Transparent stains may simply deepen the natural color of the wood, which can enhance its appearance and offer some protection from the elements. You will need more stain for opaque finishes than for translucent or transparent, making the cost of those finishes higher regardless of the wood type. This leads to a wide cost range, but without the need for primers, this can make staining and painting similar in cost.

Costs are calculated the same way they are for painting, with the height and length of the fence making up the square footage and the complexity of the fence adding or subtracting total square feet. This makes fences without a lot of area to stain, such as a split rail or post and rail, the lowest in cost, followed by picket and lattice, which have more area than rail fences but less area than a privacy fence, which is more solid. This makes the average cost to stain a privacy fence much higher than other fences. The more complex a fence, the higher its total costs to stain, regardless of the type. So, a split rail fence with many irregular rails will cost on the higher end, while a split rail fence with even rails will cost near the lower end. Below are the average costs to stain different wood fence types per linear foot and the cost to stain both sides of a 209 linear foot wood fence.

Cost per linear foot and for 209 linear feet to stain a split rail, post and rail, picket, lattice, and privacy wood fence (mobile)

TypeStaining Cost per Linear FootStaining Cost per 209 Linear Feet
Split Rail$2.25 - $3.50$940 - $1,463
Post and Rail$2.25 - $3.50$940 - $1,463
Picket$2.75 - $4$1,150 - $1,675
Lattice$4 - $7$1,675 - $2,925
Privacy$4 - $12$1,675 - $2,925

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. They may also charge by the square foot, with typical costs ranging from $0.30 to $0.70 per sq.ft. for labor. Square footage costs are usually the most accurate, especially for larger fences, because they can more easily calculate the time they need to cover an area and how much paint or stain it may require. For some very large jobs, costs may be priced by the acre. Because it can take several days for a single painter to paint an acre of fencing on both sides, this project usually needs a team, costing $40 to $60 per hour per person. This can make the labor cost per acre between $4,000 and $8,000, depending on the fence type and number of people. Fence painting labor costs are typically the bulk of the project costs, as the paint or stain can break down to as little as $0.05 to $0.20 a sq.ft. in material costs.

Calculating costs by the labor or square foot makes it easier for the painter to work out an average cost for all fence parts, including the boards, railing, posts, and gates, rather than charging separately for all the areas. The average labor cost to paint or stain 209 linear feet, a ¼ acre, of 6’ high wood fencing averages $750 to $1,756, providing significant prepwork or repairs are not needed.

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Fence Prep-Work Cost

In many cases, prep work is needed before painting a fence. If there are obstructions near the fence, such as vegetation, trees, or debris, these need to be tied back or cleared away. In some cases, you can do this yourself, or you may want to hire a yard clean-up service if there is a lot of debris and vegetation. If it is only a small amount, the paint company may stipulate that the homeowner do it, or they may do it themselves.

The fence surface may need to be prepared, depending on the fence’s age, its material, whether it was factory treated, and what is on its surface. This may include scraping off any old paint, handling rust problems, and ensuring the fence is clean. The cost to pressure wash a fence is $125 to $235. While pressure washing is effective for cleaning the fence, it is not recommended for paint removal because it takes a 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 of power washing may be a part of the fence painting or staining cost.

Painted fencing with peeling paint may need to be sandblasted to remove the excess. This has varying costs, depending on the material. Wood averages $2 to $3 a sq.ft., while wrought iron averages $4 to $8. Not all fences require this service, but those in very poor condition with a lot of old and peeling paint may. Sometimes, a fence may just need to be thoroughly washed, averaging $100 for a 209 linear foot fence, which is usually included in the project cost. Any repairs that need to be done, such as rust removal, mold or mildew treatment, or welding on iron or steel fencing to repair breaks, should be done before any primer, paint, or stain is applied.

Average Price of Fence Paint or Stain by Composition

There are generally three different paint types available for outdoor painting - water-based, oil-based, and acrylic. In most cases, you will use either a water-based or oil-based paint or stain for your fence unless the fence is vinyl, in which case acrylic paint is required. However, oil-based paints and stains are not legal in all 50 states because they give off very high levels of VOCs.

If your fence has been painted or stained before, it is best to continue with the previous material. For example, a wood fence with an existing stain is easier to update with another coat of the same stain type rather than using paint because of the amount of preparation involved. The stain or paint used should also be the same base product as the original one. Otherwise, the fence will need to be stripped and sanded. Oil-based paint or stain costs $30 to $120 per gallon, while water-based stain or paint costs $20 to $90. Acrylic paints average $30 to $70 a gallon.

Cost per gallon of water-based, acrylic-based, and oil-based fence stain and paint (mobile)

CompositionStain Cost per Gallon (Materials Only)Paint Cost per Gallon (Materials Only)
Acrylic-BasedN/A$30 - $70
Water-Based$20 - $80$30 - $90
Oil-Based$30 - $100$40 - $120

Fence Primer Cost by Type

Although the stain or paint may contain a primer, not all do. A primer is needed to prepare the surface to receive the paint to achieve the best possible adherence. It hides imperfections so that the paint or stain looks nice when 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. In most cases, you should use an adhesive-based primer when painting a vinyl fence. For wood fences, use either a latex (water) based primer with water-based paint or an oil-based primer with oil-based paint to get the best results. Shellac is only used for spot treating stained fence areas before painting to ensure the stain does not bleed through the paint. Otherwise, the rest of the fence will be primed with the matching material whenever possible. The fence material and paint type dictate the primer type needed. Buying a gallon of primer costs $20 to $70.

Cost per gallon of latex, shellac, oil, and adhesive fence primer (mobile)

Type of PrimerCost per Gallon (Materials Only)
Latex$20 - $60
Shellac$20 - $60
Oil$30 - $70
Adhesive$40 - $60

Cost of Fence Paint by Type of Finish

Exterior paint comes in several finishes, including matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss, each having pros and cons. Typically, the flatter the paint, the rougher the finish. This means that it can be harder to keep a fence clean that has a flat, matte surface. Eggshell has a slight sheen and is usually a little easier to clean, while satin has a slightly higher sheen. Semi-gloss and glossy paint are the most reflective and eye-catching. They will also be the easiest to keep clean because the surface is much smoother and less will stick to it. However, they can chip more easily than flat and eggshell paints, so the fence use should be taken into account. The homeowner should consider what is best for durability and the fence condition. In this case, the material is not a factor except for the preparation, which still applies to the materials involved. The costs range from $30 to $120 per gallon.

Cost per gallon of matte or flat, eggshell, sating, semi-gloss, and high-gloss fence paint (mobile)

Type of FinishCost per Gallon (Materials Only)
Matte or Flat$30 - $40
Eggshell$30 - $50
Satin$30 - $60
Semi-Gloss$60 - $80
High-Gloss$70 - $120

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Cost of Fence Stain by Opacity

The stain opacity 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. However, a transparent or semi-transparent stain allows the wood grain to remain visible. Sometimes, a transparent stain can enhance the natural wood color while offering some protection. Semi-transparent or semi-solid stains can color the wood while still letting a little of the natural grain to show. A solid color stain completely obscures the wood underneath and is sometimes the best choice for a very old or weathered fence. If possible, ensure your stain contains a sealer to help protect the wood even more. The cost for stains ranges between $20 and $120 per gallon.

Cost per gallon of transparent, semi-transparent, and solid fence stain (mobile)

Stain OpacityCost per Gallon (Materials Only)
Transparent$20 - 50
Semi-Transparent$30 - $80
Solid$35 - $120

Pros and Cons

Painting or staining a fence to match or contrast your home creates a fresh, new look and can enhance the beauty of your fence or restore it to its previous appearance. It adds curb appeal to the area around your home. Homeowners who live in wooded areas may want the fence to 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 and can ward off weathering that can cause cracking or breakage.

The cons of 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. Painting and staining need to be kept up. After a few years, stains start to peel and fade, and paints begin to peel. This means you must constantly maintain the fence so that it does not lower your curb appeal. This is in contrast to some fences that do not require painting like vinyl or others that may be factory treated to give them a color appearance that lasts much longer than painting bare wood.Wood picket fence painted in white with pink flowers


All painted and stained fences need some maintenance. Avoid planting trees and shrubs against the fence, and keep the area around the fence clear. Keep the grass or other groundcover near the fence clipped short, or instruct your landscaper to do so. Keep the fence clean, either by hosing off a glossy finish or lightly scrubbing the painted surface with a non-abrasive, pH-neutral cleaner. Some landscaping companies will clean your fence as part of your regular contract. Otherwise, you can do this yourself as needed.

Regularly inspect your fence to look for signs that the paint may be cracking, peeling, or fading. This will begin to occur at around 3 years for stains and 5 years for paint. Once you notice these signs, call your painter to schedule the next paint job.

Wrought iron fence painted in black

Fence Color Painting

Fences can be found in many popular colors, although this may vary depending on your area. In some areas, it is common to leave wood fences bare. In others, a light semi-transparent stain is the most common, while some people like to paint their fences solid colors. Some of the most common colors to paint fences include white, black, dark green, barn red, tan, and natural stains like red-cedar, rich brown mahogany, and a light, golden hue, such as the natural finish of fir or cypress.

Fence painting color ideas (mobile)

Paint or Stain a Fence With a Spray vs Roller

Painting or staining a fence can be done with a sprayer or roller. 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 does not 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 should not see any drips in the fence paint or spray. A roller and brushes can be used for larger areas but may cost more in labor since they add to the time needed to complete the job.

However, a paint sprayer will use about 33% more paint than a roller. And while it is faster, more prep work may be needed to tape off the surrounding areas. This means that the cost of both can ultimately be equal when considering all the factors. Your painter may choose to use one or the other depending on the fence type, its height and length, and how easy the various areas are to coat.

Replace vs Paint or Stain a Fence Cost

If your fence looks old or dilapidated and run down, you may be faced with the choice to paint it or replace it. If the fence only looks in poor condition but is otherwise sound, painting or staining can give it new life. Painting a fence is generally much less expensive than installing a new one, and it can help protect the fence and prolong its life.

Replacement may be the better choice if the fence is rotting, losing structural integrity, warping, falling, or has loose posts or other issues that go beyond paint. Even if you paint a structurally unsound fence, it will continue to develop other issues, and you will still have to replace it shortly. Going straight to replacement if the fence is old and beginning to show other signs of wear can save money in the long run. This is true because new fences may come with warranties, and many can be factory treated to last longer than an old fence. Replacement also lets you change the shape, height, or length of the fence, while painting cannot. However, if the fence only needs a facelift to look its best, painting is more economical at $1,000 to $4,000 versus $3,600 to $7,800 for a new fence.

Comparison of the cost to paint or stain and replace it (mobile)

Painting / Staining$1,000 - $4,000
Replacement$3,600 - $7,800

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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 paint quality. Opt for paint that is high quality and fade resistant. Moisture-resistant paints are also available ($50 to $70 per gallon). When using a transparent or translucent stain, you may also want to opt for a stain with a sealer included ($50 to $120 per gallon). Special painting treatments may also include using different colors on the fence to bring out its features. This has a slightly higher cost per square foot at $0.50 to $1.25 because additional work is needed.


The price for fence painting is 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. When looking for something unique, consider hiring an artist to paint a mural on your fence. Expect to pay about $20 to $40 per sq.ft. to paint a mural on a fence.

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.
  • Time of year. It is generally a good idea to have your fence worked on in good weather because the paint needs time to dry. Fall is an ideal time, as humidity levels are lower and snow is not likely. However, any time you have a stretch without rain, storms, or very cold weather is a good time to have your fence painted.
  • HOAs. If you have an HOA, they can dictate things like the fence color, finish, and paint or stain type. Always check with the HOA for the parameters before starting a painting project to avoid needing to do it twice.
  • Lead paint. While rare, some old fences may have traces of lead paint on them. This paint should not be disturbed by pressure washing or sandblasting. Instead, it should be encapsulated to prevent it from escaping. Speak to your painter for the best practices in this situation.
  • Repairs. If your fence is in poor shape, it may require repairs before it can be painted. This costs between $10 and $50 a linear foot to make most fence repairs. Your painter may be able to assist in this, or you may need to contact your fence installer.


  • 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. However, this varies by the stain type because solid stains require more coats than thinner stains.

  • 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 $0.30 to $0.70 per sq.ft. or $40 to $60 an hour.

  • Should I stain both sides of my fence?

It is generally recommended that you stain both sides of the fence. Not only does it look nicer, but it also ensures your entire fence is protected better from the elements than if one side was left bare.

  • 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.