Ashburn, VA

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

$2 – $14 cost per linear foot
$300 – $2,800 average total cost (100' to 150')

Get free estimates from fence painters near you, or view our cost guide below.

November 4, 2021

Reviewed by Tom Grupa and 4 expert fence painters on HomeGuide.

Cost to paint or stain a fence

The average cost to paint or stain a fence is $300 to $2,800, with most homeowners spending $1,700. Painting or staining a fence costs $2 to $14 per linear foot, $0.50 to $2.50 per square foot, or $25 to $110 per 8' panel. Costs depend on the fence type, height, and condition.

Cost to paint or stain a fence
Fence length (feet) DIY painting cost Professional painting cost
50 $70 – $200 $100 – $700
100 $130 – $430 $200 – $1,400
125 $170 – $540 $250 – $1,800
150 $200 – $650 $300 – $2,100
200 $270 – $870 $400 – $2,800
250 $330 – $1,100 $500 – $3,500
300 $400 – $1,300 $600 – $4,200
350 $470 – $1,500 $700 – $4,900
400 $530 – $1,700 $800 – $5,600
  • Most painters charge a $250 to $500 minimum.
  • Painting or staining a walking gate costs $100 to $600 and a driveway gate costs $200 to $1,000.
  • DIY fence painting or staining costs $200 to $650 for materials.
  • Fence painters charge $1 to $9 per linear foot for labor.
  • Staining extends a fence's life by several years and protects against rot, insects, wear, and tear.

Average cost to stain or paint a fence

The following table shows the average cost to paint or stain a fence.

Average cost to stain or paint a fence - chart
Average cost to stain or paint a fence - chart

Average cost to stain or paint a fence
National average cost $1,700
Minimum cost $170
Maximum cost $4,800
Average cost range $300 to $2,800

Cost data is from research and project costs reported by HomeGuide members.

Fence staining or painting cost by height

The cost to stain a fence increases with its height because more stain and labor are required.

Fence staining or painting cost by height
Fence height (feet) Cost per linear foot
4 $2.00 – $7.00
6 $4.00 – $9.00
8 $5.00 – $11.00
10 $6.50 – $13.00
12 $7.50 – $15.00

New 8 foot tall wood fence stained, next to old fence
New 8 foot tall wood fence stained, next to old fence

Fence staining and painting cost calculator

The cost to paint or stain a fence is $2 to $14 per linear foot or $0.50 to $2.50 per square foot, depending on the fence type, size, and condition. Wood picket fences are the cheapest to paint. Wrought-iron and shadow-box fences cost the most due to their complex design.

Fence staining and painting cost calculator
Fence type Cost per square foot Cost per linear foot Total cost (150’ fence)
Wood picket (< 4' tall) $0.50 – $1.25 $2 – $5 $300 – $750
Wood privacy (> 5' tall) $0.50 – $1.70 $3 – $10 $450 – $1,500
Steel pipe $0.50 – $1.70 $3 – $10 $450 – $1,500
Vinyl $0.50 – $1.70 $3 – $10 $450 – $2,600
Chain-link $0.70 – $1.20 $4 – $7 $600 – $1,100
Metal, aluminum, and Colorbond $0.70 – $1.70 $4 – $10 $600 – $1,500
Shadow-box $0.70 – $2.50 $4 – $14 $600 – $2,100
Wrought-iron $1.00 – $2.00 $5 – $12 $750 – $2,300

Cost to stain or paint wood fence

The cost to paint or stain a wood fence is $2 to $10 per linear foot, depending on the fence size, design, and condition.

  • Painting or staining a picket fence costs $2 to $5 per linear foot.
  • Painting or staining a wood privacy fence costs $3 to $10 per linear foot.

Shadow box fence painted blue
Shadow box fence painted blue

Cost to paint a shadow-box fence

Painting a shadow-box fence costs $4 to $14 per linear foot or $600 to $2,100 for 150'. The shadow-box or board-on-board design creates 50% more painting surface area. Using an electric airless paint sprayer and a brush is the most efficient way to paint a shadow-box fence.

Cost to paint a wrought-iron fence

Painting an iron fence costs $5 to $12 per linear foot or $750 to $2,300 for 150'. Prep work includes removing flaking paint and rust with a wire brush, wiping down with a lint-free cloth, and applying a rust-inhibitive primer. Spraying is the quickest painting method for most wrought-iron fences.

Metal, aluminum, and Colorbond fence painting cost

Metal fence painting costs $4 to $10 per linear foot or $600 to $1,500 for 150', depending on the size, age, and condition. Rust is removed or treated before painting. A rust-preventing primer and paint formulated for metal ensure proper adhesion of the new paint.

Cost to paint a Colorbond fence

Painting a Colorbond fence costs $4 to $10 per linear foot or $600 to $1,500 for 150'. New Colorbond fences require sanding to remove lubricant before painting. Weathered Colorbond fences typically need an extra coat for a smooth surface. Painting a Colorbond fence may void its warranty.

Cost to paint a chain-link fence

Painting a chain-link fence costs $4 to $7 per linear foot or $600 to $1,100 for 150'. A chain-link fence requires less paint but may need additional labor depending on its condition and rust level. Oil-based, rust-preventing paint is the best choice for a chain-link fence.

Painting vinyl fencing cost

Painting a vinyl fence costs $3 to $10 per linear foot or $450 to $2,600 for 150'. Vinyl requires epoxy-based paint due to its smooth, non-porous surface. Use caution when painting a vinyl fence because it may void the warranty. Vinyl fencing is designed to never need painting.

Steel pipe fence painting cost

Painting a steel pipe fence costs $3 to $10 per linear foot, or $450 to $1,500 for 150', depending on the pipe's condition. Steel pipe fences—common on large rural properties—typically require more labor to remove loose rust and apply a rust-converting or rust-preventing primer.

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Painters labor charges to paint a fence

Fence painters charge $1 to $9 per linear foot, depending on the fence size, prep works, coats, and application method. Staining requires less labor but more product for the same surface area.

Painters charge to paint a fence
Item Cost per linear foot
Stain/paint and supplies $1 – $5
Labor $1 – $9
Total cost $2 – $14

Cost factors to paint a fence

The following factors affect the cost to paint or stain a fence:

  • Size – The larger the fence, the more labor and materials are required.
  • Accessibility and prep work – The fence must be clean and free from obstructions. Trimming back loose vegetation and mowing increase labor costs.
  • Coats needed – Painting requires a primer and two paint coats. Staining does not require a primer and may only need one coat, depending on the manufacturer.
  • Application method – Paint sprayers are more labor-efficient but use more paint than rolls or brushes.
  • RepairsFence repair costs $15 to $35 per linear foot or $250 to $750 on average.
    • Fixing small holes and cracks costs $100 to $200 on average.
    • Repairing significant damage like a leaning fence costs $250 to $1,000.

Cost to power wash and stain a fence

Power washing and staining a fence costs $3.50 to $17.00 per linear foot or $530 to $2,600 for an average 150' fence.

  • Pressure washing a fence costs $1.50 to $3.00 per linear foot by itself and removes dirt, mold, mildew, and rust.
  • Renting a pressure washer costs $80 to $180 per day.

Cost to stain or paint a gate

Staining or painting a gate costs $100 to $1,000, depending on the gate type, material, and condition. A wrought-iron gate requires less paint than a wood gate but may need more prep work to remove rust.

  • Painting or staining a walking gate costs $100 to $600.
  • Painting or staining a driving gate costs $200 to $1,000.

Fence stain vs. paint cost

Fence paint costs $30 to $80 per gallon. Fence stain costs $20 to $50 per gallon but requires more product. Paint provides higher UV and weather protection, but staining is the best long-term choice for wood once it's sealed.

Fence stain vs. paint cost
Factor Paint Stain
Price per gallon $30 – $80 $20 – $50
Coverage per gallon (one-coat) 250 – 400 SF 200 – 300 SF
Pros
  • Creates a protective barrier
  • Dries quickly
  • Lower initial cost
  • Large color and finish selection
  • Does not require a primer
  • Solid, semi-transparent, or transparent finish
  • May not require a separate sealant coat.
  • Fades gradually
  • More forgiving than paint
  • Retains the wood's natural look and texture.
  • Less time-consuming to re-stain.
Cons
  • Requires a primer
  • Requires more frequent maintenance
  • May chip or peel
  • Reduces the wood's breathability
  • More time consuming to repaint
  • Masks the wood's natural beauty
  • Higher initial cost
  • Flat finish; no sheen options
  • Provides minimal weather protection
  • Smaller color selection
  • Takes up to two days to dry
  • Requires more frequent re-application

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DIY fence painting or staining cost

DIY fence painting or staining costs $200 to $650 for paint and materials. Costs depend on the fence size, condition, material, and design. Electric sanders and sprayers are ideal for large projects.

DIY fence painting or staining cost
Item Average cost (each)
Brushes $2 – $15
Buckets (5-gallon) $6 – $8
Cardboard (overspray protection) $1 – $20
Disposable masks $5 – $25
Gloves $5 – $20
Orbital sander $50 – $150
­­Paint roller kit $10 – $25
Paint trays $2 – $5
Painter's tape $3 – $10
Plastic drop cloths $5 – $30
Pole sander $10 – $30
Pump sprayer (for staining) $10 – $30
Sandpaper $5 – $15
Safety glasses $5 – $30
Scrapers $6 – $20
Trisodium phosphate (TSP) $5 – $12
Gallon of primer (before painting) $20 – $50
Gallon of Sealant (after staining) $20 – $50
Gallon of exterior paint $30 – $80
Gallon of exterior stain $20 – $50
Paint sprayer / power roller rental per day $30 – $50
Pressure washer rental per day $80 to $180

How much stain/paint do I need for my fence?

  • One gallon of stain covers 200 to 300 square feet with one coat, depending on the wood type and whether the stain is solid, semi-transparent, or clear.
  • One gallon of paint covers 250 to 400 square feet with one coat.
  • A primer coat is recommended when painting a fence. Staining does not require a primer.
  • Most fences require two coats of paint or stain.
Paint or stain needed for a fence
Fence length (feet) Gallons of paint needed* Gallons of stain needed*
50 2 – 3 2 – 3
100 3 – 5 4 – 6
125 4 – 6 5 – 8
150 5 – 8 6 – 9
200 6 – 10 8 – 12
250 8 – 12 10 – 15
300 9 – 15 12 – 18
350 11 – 17 14 – 21
400 12 – 20 16 – 24

*For two coats of paint on one side of a 6' high fence. Always follow the stain manufacturer's instructions. Some stains only require one thin coat.

Fence square footage calculator

To calculate a fence's square footage:

  1. Multiply the fence length by fence height for the total square footage of one side.
  2. For shadow-box fences, multiply the total square footage by 1.5.
  3. When painting both sides, multiply the result by 2.

When purchasing paint, remember to factor in the number of coats required.

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Frequently asked questions

Is it worth staining a fence?

Staining a fence adds UV protection and curb appeal. Stain extends a fence's life several years or more, depending on location, sun exposure, and the stain type. Correctly applied stain does not chip or peel and requires minimal prep work when re-staining.

When to stain a new fence?

Stain a new fence 1 to 6 months after installation, depending on the wood type and local climate. Wood must be completely dry to absorb stain, but it must not be left dry so long that it becomes worn and gray.

  • Dry woods like cedar may be stained after 1 to 2 months of natural weathering.
  • Some pressure-treated wood needs 3 to 4 months or more to dry out because it's still wet when installed.
  • Staining over-weathered wood requires sanding and additional prep work.
Spray a few drops of water on the wood to confirm it absorbs. The wood is not dry enough to stain if the water beads.

When is the best time to stain a fence?

The best time to stain a fence is in the early fall or during temperatures 50° to 90° F with low-to-average humidity. Stain when the wood is completely dry and the forecast is rain-free for 2 or more days ahead. Most stains do not adhere to damp wood.

How long does it take to stain a fence?

Staining a fence takes 3 to 5 days on average, including cleaning and preparation. The total project time depends on the fence length, location, and stain type. Staining a fence in high humidity takes longer due to increased drying time.

Does a fence need cleaning before staining?

A fence needs cleaning before staining to ensure proper stain penetration and a uniform, lasting application. Power washing at low pressure or cleaning with a bleach and trisodium phosphate-based cleanser preps the surface to accept the stain.

How many coats of stain for a fence?

Two coats of stain are best for most fences. Follow the manufacturers' guidelines and apply only as much product as the wood absorbs. Overstaining adds a moisture-trapping film, which leads to the stain peeling.

Can you paint over fence stain?

Yes, you can paint over fence stain. Clean and sand the surface first for the best results. Always sand the surface when painting over oil-based, waterproof, and glossy stains.

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Hiring professional fence painters

Before hiring painters near you, remember to:

  • Get at least three estimates to compare.
  • Look for licensed and insured painters with experience painting fences.
  • Ask for references or a portfolio of past projects going back at least five years to see how their work holds up over the long term.
  • Browse their reviews on HomeGuide, Google, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • Select companies that are insured, bonded, and have been in business for more than five years.
  • Avoid selecting the lowest quote as quality may suffer.
  • Get a detailed estimate, contract, and warranty in writing before the work begins.
  • Never pay in full before the project starts. Use a payment plan instead for work completed.

Questions to ask

  • Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
  • What experience do you have with fence painting or staining?
  • Do you have a portfolio of your previous paint jobs?
  • How long will the job take?
  • Do you spray, brush and roll, or both?
  • What brand and type of paint or stain do you recommend, and why?
  • Is a primer required?
  • How many coats will my fence need?
  • How will you protect the area before painting?
  • About how long does the paint or stain take to dry?
  • How long should the paint job last?
  • Is there a warranty, and if so, what does it include?
  • What is and is not included in the estimate?
  • What additional costs should I expect?
  • Do you need a permit to paint my fence?

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