There’s an old saying: Good fences make good neighbors. That value flies out the window, though, if you don’t properly maintain that fence, since an unattractive, rotting fence is sure to antagonize neighbors worried about their property values. Proper maintenance for a wooden fence requires the occasional paint job.
Over time, sunshine, rain, sleet, snow, and even wind combine to deteriorate the appearance of your wooden fence. Regularly refreshing its paint not only looks better but also protects the fence’s structural integrity. In other words, painting your fence every year lengthens its lifespan. And, of course, a properly maintained property is more valuable overall.
You may go the DIY route or choose to have your wood fence painted. Many property owners, after experiencing the effort DIY requires, happily turn to a professional for future painting endeavors.
How Much Does Painting a Wood Fence Cost?
Pricing varies based on the size of the fence, whether you choose paint or stain, and labor costs in your particular area.
Painting a fence costs less than staining it does. The average rate to paint both sides of a 50′ fence ranges between $250 and $300, depending on the fence height. Staining the same fence, however, will cost you around $650. The price difference is due to the amount of stain required versus the amount of paint. Of course, those extra coats also require extra labor, driving up the price of staining.
If you choose to paint the fence yourself, expect to pay between $80 and $100 for the paint or stain. Application materials – drop cloths, brushes, rollers, and sprayers – cost more. Some people consider renting a sprayer because it cuts application time considerably. However, it also wastes about 25 percent of the product, so you spend substantially more on materials. And, if it’s windy or there are nearby structures, spraying is not a good idea. The most effective method is using a roller for the wide, flat areas, and a brush for the spaces between the slats. Of course, this requires significantly more time and effort. Only you know what that is worth.
Additional Cost Considerations for Painting a Wooden Fence
A variety of factors go into determining the cost to paint your wood fence. Please note that any type of fence requires at least three separate coats: the primer and two coats of color.
- Color: This refers to both the current color and new color. If you choose a darker color, two coats should be ample. However, a lighter color, particularly if the current color is a darker shade, may require three coats.
- Height and style: After length, this plays the largest role in price. A simple 4′ tall picket fence costs much less to paint than a 6′ privacy fence.
- Prepping the Paint Surface: Whether you paint yourself or hire a professional, the surface must be prepared for painting. The amount of prep necessary affects the labor required to complete the job. Rotted boards must be repaired or replaced before painting. Nail holes must be filled and sanded. The fence needs to be pressure washed or scrubbed using a bristle brush. Finally, the surrounding area needs to be cleared, including mowing grass and removing tree limbs growing too near the fence.
- Sprayer or roller: If you DIY, renting a paint sprayer costs more than buying rollers. It also uses around 25 percent more paint, so budget accordingly. Paint rollers are less expensive all the way around, but cost significantly more time and effort.
Fence Painting Tips
If this is the first time painting your fence, choose a color that coordinates with the surrounding property, such as your home’s trim, shutters, or porch. You may also choose to coordinate your fence color with other landscaping features. Others choose a neutral color, such as white or gray, or something that “pops” to add a splash of color, such as red, to their property.
If you choose DIY, you need to first apply a coat of primer, using either a roller or brush since you want the primer to fully penetrate the wood. Allow plenty of time for the primer to dry before applying your first coat of paint. Then, allow that to dry completely before applying the second coat. If you’re painting over a dark color with a lighter shade, you likely need a third coat.
Choose weatherproof or water-repellant paints to extend the life of your paint and protect the underlying fence against the elements.