How Should I Finish My Wood Fence?

It’s important to understand how different materials used in fencing will age over time, and techniques you can use to extend or shorten this process. You have a few basic options for finishing a wood fence: painting it, staining it, or leaving it natural and untouched. Each option provides benefits and drawbacks, so we’re here to help you make the right decision for your home or business!


It should come as no surprise that leaving your fence natural and untouched by any type of finish will leave it open to the elements. While this option requires the least amount of effort to maintain, rain, snow, wind, and the sun will take a toll on your fence over time. Some households are complemented by a weathered and rustic look, but if this isn’t for you, you can also power wash your fence regularly to keep it lasting a bit longer. Some types of wood age with grace, so this option is not overlooked by those wishing to give their home some character.


Before staining came about, painting fences as a “finish” was a very popular option. While you can choose between an assortment of colors, this is not a very effective method of finishing a wood fence, as it requires the most maintenance. Paint tends to crack and peel, so this option entails upkeep (repainting) every 1 to 3 years.

Some people ask about the possibility of painting over stained wood. As most stained wood fences are coated with a glossy polyurethane or varnish layer, this can be tricky. Paint cannot properly adhere to the glossy coat, which can quicken the process of chipping, peeling, or cracking. To allow the paint to grip to the surface of your wood, you should always sand away this varnish layer of gloss before applying paint.

If you know you want that perfect white picket fence look in your yard, a white vinyl fence might be the best option for you! If not, there are also solid white stains available for purchase in stores.


Staining is also a popular option for fences, as it requires very little maintenance. It does not peel or crack and simply requires that the stain be redone once it begins to fade after several years. It is also much easier to redo a stain than it is to repaint a fence, as a power washing or deck cleaner give you a clean slate to re-stain without having to chip away at old paint.

There are a few varieties of stains to choose from. As mentioned above, you can purchase a solid white stain to give the illusion of a white picket fence. You can also use semi-transparent options, or even clear coats that provide weather-proofing without removing any of the wooden aesthetic.

Contact Our Wood Fence Professionals Today!

If you’re in the market for a wood fence and have more questions about how to finish it, Globe Fence & Railing is the Fence Company to call. We have a variety of wood fences to choose from. Our residential fencing contractors will work with you to make sure your exact specifications are met while staying within your budget. If you’re in the Greenwich, Stamford, CT or Westchester, NY areas, contact us today.