The dream of the white picket fence is one many homeowners have, but they need to know, what is the best paint for a wooden fence? Tom Sawyer whitewashed his fences but is that all that's available today? Let's see what our research tells us about the best paints for a wooden fence.
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With fences, it can depend on the look you want. There are fence paints in acrylic latex, oil, and even asphalt-based fence paints. Let's look at a few favorites:
- Behr Barn And Fence Paint
- Black Beauty Asphalt Fence Paint
- Lexington Fence Paint
- Valspar Barn and Fence Paint
- Wood Defender Fence Stain
- Ready Seal Exterior Stain
- The One Matte Finish Paint
Let's talk about considerations to keep in mind when choosing what to use to paint your fence. We will also discuss if priming is needed, which is better: stain or paint, if you can paint vinyl fencing, and color choices. So please, keep reading.
What To Think About When Picking A Fence Paint
A wooden fence is a beautiful investment for your home and landscaping. Whether you've put it up for privacy, to contain animals, or just to dress up the edges of your yard, you want it to look great. You may love the color of natural wood, but you don't want it to weather and turn dull. Or you want something with some color to brighten things up or enrich the landscape. But what paint do you choose?
Choose something that is going to last without dulling. It's also great to find paint that can help protect against weather, UV rays, even insects if possible. As a function of painting, you'll get some of that protection no matter the paint you use, but some may be better than others for wooden fences.
Behr Barn And Fence Paint
This paint has a ready-to-use white finish with easy water clean-up. It combines the best features of oil and latex and is designed to protect and beautify barns, fences, and sheds. The livestock-safe finish resists mildew and UV damage to ensure that the paint retains its color over time.
This self-priming paint has superior adhesion, penetration, and durability. It is highly resistant to cracking, peeling, blistering, chalking, weathering, and erosion.
This paint also comes in a barn red finish.
Black Beauty Asphalt Fence Paint
If you've ever driven through the rolling hills of Kentucky horse country, you've seen miles and miles of black wooden fencing. This fencing is painted (often sprayed on using special equipment) and is often an asphalt-based paint. This paint is very messy and hard to work with, but the advantage is that you get a thick coating of protection for fences that are exposed to the elements. It's really effective in preventing insect infestation. The asphalt can also help keep livestock from chewing on the wood.
Lexington Fence Paint
Similar to the asphalt paints, Lexington Fencecoat is a black acrylic lacquer formulated specifically for wood plank fences. This paint dries to an extremely tough and durable semi-gloss finish that will not chalk, peel or rub off. It can be applied over virtually any type of marginally prepared, painted or unpainted, surface with excellent results.
The paint is lead-free and safe around livestock and children. This company also sells paint products for fences and exterior applications in white, red, brown, and green.
Valspar Barn And Fence Paint
This product is similar to the Behr product above. It's an economical outdoor fence and barn paint that is available in white and red. This is perfect for white picket fences. It flows on smoothly and dries to a tough, durable finish. It's weather-resistant, and ideal for other exterior surfaces, too, including wood, masonry, primed metal, weathered steel, and aluminum siding
Wood Defender Fence Stain
If you prefer more natural colors or a custom color, wood defender fence stain is a great choice. This one-coat application helps keep out UV rays and prevents mildew applications. It comes in clear stain to enhance the natural wood tone of your fence, semi-transparent which adds a bit of natural wood color (of your choice), or their top-line product, 200-series semi-transparent. They have a whole color palette available but you can also request custom colors if you're going for something unique.
Ready Seal Exterior Stain
Ready Seal wood stain and sealant is a quality coating for exterior wood projects. This professional-grade wood sealant is easy to apply, maintain, and is really beautiful. It's available in a number of wood colors to get the exact look you're striving for.
The One Matte Finish Multi-Surface Paint
If you're looking for a solid color paint that you can really customize, consider this paint and primer combo, The One. It's a matte surface paint made for a variety of surfaces, including fencing. It's a bit like chalk paint with its thicker consistency, so it probably couldn't be sprayed onto your fence surface. But if you're looking for strong color, this is the one for you. It dries super quickly and will take no more than two coats to finish your fence.
Do You Need To Prime Your Fence Before Painting?
If you're starting with a raw wood fence, then you don't need to prime with these products. The only time you might need to prime is if you're going from a very dark stain or paint finish to a light finish. For example, if you'd used an asphalt-based paint, you'll need to prime it to get a different sort of paint to stick to the fencing.
If you're just refreshing your existing paint, you might want to scrape off any bubbling paint spots, but you won't need to apply a layer of primer. Most paints formulated for fencing include a primer mixed into the formula, so it's all you need in one product.
Is It Better To Stain Or Paint A Fence?
You may want to know if it's better to stain or paint a fence. There are a couple of considerations. With painting, you're going to get a thick, protective coating that will work against rot, insects, and decay. The downside is that if it starts to peel or mildew, it's hard to clean with a pressure washer without damaging the paint job. And it often requires repainting every 4-6 years.
With stain, you don't get as solid of a coating. There are stains available in pretty much any color you'd like, but they often have some degree of transparency. They soak readily into the wood and are easy to apply, but may look dull sooner than painted wood. They also might not have quite the protection factors of a thick paint layer.
What Paint Works Best On Vinyl Fencing?
White vinyl fencing is super popular because all you do is install it and it's ready to go. But what if you're sick of the white and you want to change it up. Can you paint your vinyl fencing?
You can paint vinyl fencing but the only type of paint that will work on vinyl fencing is epoxy paint. Any other type of paint will eventually peel and crack off your vinyl. You'll need to clean your fence thoroughly, and for this type of application, it's probably best to use a primer to ensure it sticks well. When you're finished, cover it with a high gloss sealant.
Should You Paint Your Fence The Same Color As Your House?
As a general rule, houses and fences aren't the same color. Fences tend to come in standard shades of white, black, or natural wood tones. Since many houses are white, then white fences are often the choice as in our image above.
We even found this cute barn red house with a matching barn red fence. But matching a fence to a house is probably less common than it is common.
Of course, general rules are made to be broken and how you choose to paint your fence is ultimately up to you. But keep in mind that custom paint colors are hard to match when touching up the fence in future years. And if the house and fence are not always painted at the same time, you may end up with some discrepancy anyway.
Prepare To Paint!
Now that you're aware of some of the paints available on the market for painting fences, it should give you an idea of which direction to turn. Stain or paint is ultimately up to you and your needs. The same goes for color choice. But we do hope this post has been helpful.
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