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Difference between Timber Fence Paint and Timber Fence Stain 

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timber fence paint

Painting or staining your timber fences could be the perfect solution to freshen up your property and give it a new look! Not only is it an enjoyable weekend project, but it can also transform the appearance of your home, farm, or lifestyle acreage property. 


So, are you looking to spruce up your timber fences and extend their lifespan, but are unsure whether stain or paint is the better option for your property? 


Look no further, as we’ve got you covered. 


To ensure that the final appearance of your fences aligns with your vision, it’s essential to understand the fundamental differences between fence stain and fence paint. By doing so, you can avoid the mistake of selecting a product that wastes your time, effort, and money on fences that ultimately fail to meet your expectations. 


At Stock & Noble, we provide the finest fencing and paint solutions to high-end property owners across Australia and New Zealand. Our premium range of paints, developed by experts after extensive market research and customer feedback, is a testament to our commitment to quality. We are particularly proud of our Master Blend range, which we believe is the best and the most long-lasting paint option for timber fences. 


However, we understand that our products may not suit every property’s needs. Therefore, we are dedicated to providing our clients with the knowledge and expertise they need to make informed decisions.  


This article will explore the key differences between fence paint and stain, based on our experience, expert insights, and customer data. 


Read on to discover which option is best suited for your specific needs and preferences. 


Fence Stain vs Fence Paint: Difference in the look 

Fence stain has historically been semi-opaque and allows the grain of the wood to be evident from within.  

On the other hand, fence paint is a physical thick coat that sits on top of the wood and is highly visible, unlike stain. 


Fence Stain vs Fence Paint: Difference in the thickness of the film 

The main difference between fence paint and fence stain is the thickness of the film they create on the wood.  

Fence paint creates a thick physical film on top of the wood, while fence stain soaks into the wood and creates a thin film. This is the reason with fence stain, you can still see the natural grain of the wood, while fence paint covers it up. 


Fence Stain vs Fence Paint: Difference in application 

The colour of the stain is usually not very thick and is best applied with a lambswool pad or rag. A stain is designed to be a thin film, so using a roller or applying it too thickly can cause it to crack. 

Fence paint can be applied using a roller or air sprayer. It’s best to follow the instructions given by your paint supplier on the packaging. Before you begin your project, you can also learn more about the best practices to paint your timber fences. 


Fence Stain vs Fence Paint: Difference in drying time 

One advantage of using fence stain is that it dries quickly due to its thinner film. 

For example, a stain applied on a 100-meter fence will dry in an hour, while the paint will take around two hours to dry to the touch. 


Fence Stain vs Fence Paint: Difference in longevity 

To maintain the look of your stained fences, stains typically need to be reapplied every 2-3 years, while premium quality paint is designed to last longer as a thick coating. 

Primarily, the stain is designed to erode and be recoated, while the paint is designed to last as a thick coating. 

For instance, Forever Black Timber Fence Paint is known to last for over 5 years. 


Fence Stain vs Fence Paint: Difference in cost 

The cost of fence paint and fence stain can vary depending on the quality and brand of the product.  

Generally, stains and paints are similar in cost. 

However, over time stains can cost more as they need to be reapplied every 2-3 years, while paints tend to last longer. 

The cost of fence paints differs depending on whether you want the best and the most premium quality fence paint for your property or a cost-effective product. It’ll be worth digging deeper and learning about the cost to paint your timber post and rail fences. 


Fence Stain vs Fence Paint: Difference in environmental considerations 

There are both oil-based and water-based fence stains as well as fence paints available. 

Oil-based stains are preferred by many because of their better penetration into the wood. Oil seeps into the timber while the water evaporates and is the solvent in this system. 

However, many people are moving towards water-based stains because of their lower proportion of oil and improved health benefits.  

Water-based fence paints are more widely available and accepted as compared to the water-based stains. Since the film sits on the surface of the fence as compared to being a thinner film that has some absorption into the timber, water-based fence paints do not compromise on the quality of the final appearance. 

There are several factors why more and more property owners are moving to eco-friendly fence paints. 


Fence Stain vs Fence Paint: Difference in UV Protection 

UV stability is an important consideration, especially in Australia and New Zealand which are exposed to high UV and extreme heat conditions.  

UV protection in the stain is typically lower than in fence paint due to the lower film thickness and lower pigment content. 

So, while many fence stains are available with added protection against UV, their performance is not as impressive as the UV Stability offered by fence paints. 


Ready to choose between timber fence paint and fence stain? 

You were looking to enhance the look of your timber fences and wanted to know which is the right choice between fence stain and fence paint. 


Now you know the primary distinction between fence paint and fence stain lies in the thickness of the coating. The stain is thinner and more translucent, while the paint is thicker and opaque. More specifically, fence paint generates a substantial layer on the surface of the wood, whereas fence stain penetrates the wood and forms a delicate film. Consequently, with fence stain, the natural texture of the wood remains visible, while fence paint conceals it entirely. 


To sum it up, when choosing between fence paint and fence stain, there are various factors to consider. If you want a more natural look and don’t mind reapplying the product every few years, then fence stain is the way to go. On the other hand, if you want a long-lasting finish with better UV protection, then fence paint is a better option. 


Eventually, both fence paint and fence stain have their unique features and choosing the right one for your fence depends on your preference and requirements. If you’re leaning towards timber fence paint, a comparison between the top 10 fence paints in Australia and New Zealand can help you make the right decision for your property. 


If you have more questions on painting or staining your timber fences and want further details on the application, cost, quality and availability of different fence paints then feel free to contact one of our experts. We would love to have a conversation about refreshing your fences and helping you create a beautiful property.  

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