By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Give a wood fence a new lease on life with stain instead of paint and you'll protect the wood from splitting and warping, and improve its look and appearance. A good choice for a fence facelift is a semi-transparent, water-repellant penetrating stain that colors the wood while protecting the surface from moisture.
Here's the dollars and cents of the job: A painting contractor will charge $638 to stain both sides of a 50-foot wood fence, which includes labor and material. You can do the job for $90, the cost of the stain, and save 85 percent. You can apply the paint with a sprayer, brush or roller. A paint sprayer is a good choice if there are no buildings or structures nearby that will require masking. If it’s windy, spraying is not a good idea; and while spraying is fast, it uses about 25 percent more material than a brush or roller.
Or you can take Tom Sawyer’s approach and use a brush, but a roller and brush combination is a better bet. Use the brush to apply stain between the fence boards and a roller for the large, flat surfaces. However you apply it, make sure the stain penetrates the wood so it can protect the surface. Use drop cloths to protect the soil and plantings surrounding the fence.
The folks at Behr Paint have this advice in a video
How to Stain a Fence.
Before staining a fence, use a garden hose or power washer to clean the surface and remove any dried-on dirt. If there are patches of dirt or mildew, remove them and let the surface dry thoroughly before applying the stain.
The average price to stain a wood fence noted above is cost data to compare a contractor’s estimate with doing it yourself. Tweak the data by adding your ZIP Code to find a local cost.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2018
The cost and time data is generated by averaging labor and material data from annually updated cost books used by contractors and refined by the authors'
experience remodeling 13 houses. They are authors of 20 home improvement books and Do It Yourself or Not, a weekly column syndicated by Tribune Content
Agency. The national cost can be adjusted by ZIP Code.