Fencing can be an important feature of a home. It defines and encloses a yard, offers safety and containment for children and pets, and adds value to the house. As there are many types of fencing, the maintenance and aesthetic needs of different fences will vary greatly. However, for primarily wood-based fences, periodic painting or staining can drastically improve the overall look of the fence. It can also help to ensure the fence stays free of rot or other problems associated with age and weather, maximizing the useful life of a fence. Generally, the professionals who paint and stain fences are part of fence painting and staining services. These may vary in size, and may also feature other painting and staining specialties, especially for other outdoor surfaces like decks or porches.
However, many fence painting and staining services providers have enough business on fences. In any case, whether a fence painting and staining services company is called by that name or offers other painting services, and thus goes by a different type of title, the overall equipment, methods, recommendations on treatment frequency, benefits, etc. are all mostly the same. So, for this article, we’ll focus on fence painting and staining services, and not any of the other painting and staining services that related companies may offer.
The main differences in painting vs. staining a fence are comparable to painting vs. staining any wooden surface. In general, paint is an opaque medium, of varying colors, that is designed to coat and hide the natural wood surface and texture. It differs from a stain which is more transparent, and usually a clear to brown, wood color. A stain is meant to bring out the natural color and grain variation of the wood, rather than hide it.
It should be noted, however, that some fence painting and staining services may only offer one or the other kind of treatment. It is not typical, but as stain and paint can be different mediums to work with and may require different equipment (for non-brush or roller-applied, anyway) or specialty. It’s worth asking a fence painting and staining services company if they do one, the other, or both, and which is their most common/expertise, or if it’s about 50/50 between the two, and other questions like that, to ensure consumers pick the best company for the task. We’ll talk little more about how to choose the best fence painting and staining services company in a later section.
One other important point is that, while stains can make wood look beautiful, their most transparent nature means that they do a less effective job at blocking out UV radiation than their opaque paint counterparts. Most fence painting and staining services suggest that stains be reapplied every 3-4 years, whereas many paints are rated for over double that, on the 8-10-year range. While this may not be a factor for many, it is worth noting, as some homeowners will doubtless weigh the cost of 2-2.5x as many applications of stain against painting as a relevant pro or con for their desired choice.
From a practical standpoint, the paints and stains that are used by the majority of fence painting and staining services will all be designed to confer the maximum benefits to the wood fencing. That is discussed further in the next section. It means that no matter which option has the maximum aesthetic appeal for a homeowner, they can rest assured that they are both treating the fence wood in a manner to maximize the useful life of the fence and preserve its aesthetics at the same time.
Fence painting and staining services provide several benefits to homeowners, through the routine and periodic painting or staining of fences. In many cases, aside from the obvious aesthetic appeal of a relatively freshly-painted or freshly-stained fence, these treatments are designed with sealants to block out moisture. Most also feature UV-resistant properties. Combined these features work together to prevent UV light from discoloring the wood, paint/stain, or both, and prevent moisture from natural weather conditions, the environment, heating and cooling cycles, etc. from compromising into the wood structure. Fence painting and staining services are quick to point out that once moisture compromises the wood, it can rapidly degrade, either via mold/mildew growth, cracks in the wood, rot, breakage, and many more problems. On the other hand, a well-treated wooden fence, painted or stained by fence painting and staining services, can often last ten years or more before it needs another treatment, which will leave it looking like new.
It should be noted, some types of fencing do not need painting or staining, and still, others may require custom treatments that don’t fall into the category of traditional painting or staining. For example, artificial composite materials, which are generally plastic-based, do not need to be painted, and paint will not hold well to the surface. Some metal fencing needs a good coat of sealant over existing metal paint or can be repainted, but often requires different types of paint and application equipment than traditional wooden fence painting and staining services provide.
For new fences, the process that fence painting and staining services follow is generally smooth and straightforward. They may or may not sand or otherwise treat the wood before application. Commonly, a primer will be used, and even on new construction, fence painting and staining services may power-wash the surface before primer and paint or stain application to remove any dust, dirt, and debris.
The primary goal of new wood painting or staining is to allow sufficient coats and quantity of paint or stain to penetrate the wood, deep into cracks and pores that could otherwise allow in moisture. That creates the protective barrier effect that is the main non-aesthetic function of paint and stain.
For fences that already have existing paint or stain present, the process used by fence painting and staining services is a bit more complicated. For paint, usually existing coatings will need to be sanded or scraped away, in addition to the cleaning, priming, and other processes outlined for new fencing installations. Paint is then applied via rolling, brushing, or often spraying mechanisms. For the stain, typically no scraping or sanding is required, just cleaning, followed by the application of additional stain. A primer may or may not be used depending on the type of stain and type of wood/fence and is a bit more variable than in the case of paint, which almost always needs a primer regardless. The stain is generally applied by hand with brushes.
Now that the benefits and processes are clear, it’s time to help consumers choose the best fence painting and staining services in their area! Often, the best way to find quality service contractors is through friends or neighbors who have been satisfied customers of a given provider. Failing this, online sites, often offer comprehensive information about companies in many areas, and consumers can dig down on the details of jobs reviewed that look like the task the consumer has in mind.
In general, though, even without referrals or reviews, some of the essential things to keep in mind when choosing a fence painting and staining services company include:
Most of the fence painting and staining services providers offer high-quality paint and stain products to help consumers to improve the visual appeal of their wood (or metal) fencing and to protect the fencing from the harmful effects of moisture/weather and UV/sunlight radiation. Left unchecked these hazards can lead to premature degradation of a fence, meaning fences that would otherwise have held up for 20-30 years may need replacing after less than 10. With quality paint or stain from a fence painting and staining services company, re-applied at the suggested intervals for a given product, many fences go on to meet or exceed their estimated lifespan, while looking fresh, new, and attractive, thus adding value and curb appeal to a home.