Last Updated on July 1, 2021 by Tania
Discover the best paint for your wood fence. These 10 types of exterior paint will last the longest and make your fence look the best.
So you decided to install a wood fence. Maybe you want the privacy, or maybe you want to invest in your home and increase its value. Either way, this is a fantastic choice!
There is more to owning a beautiful wood fence than just setting it up. After you invest all that money into it, you need to protect it. It’s really important to seal it with the best paint, too. When it comes to painting a wood fence, there are a bunch of options to choose from. It could be a little overwhelming.
In this guide, I will help you choose the best paint for your wood fence based on what you need. Let’s look closer at what wood fence paint is, what type you need, and how to choose between wood paint or wood stain.
What Is Wood Fence Paint?
Wood fence paint comes in different varieties and types, but it is designed to protect the wood fence from the effects of outdoor weather – wind, rain, and ice. In this guide, I’ll describe the different types of fence paint – water-based, oil-based, primer, and stain. And, I’ll help you decide between them.
Why You Should Paint Your Wood Fence
Painting a wood fence is more about protecting it than making it look fancy. When you add paint to the fence, you are adding another layer of protection from the sun, wind, and rain. These are all things that could cause the wood to rot over the years. So the paint adds a sealed layer to the wood that keeps it from breaking down.
You need to paint your fence so that it lasts longer. If you fail to paint your fence, the wind and rain will eventually break the wood down, and you’ll end up having to replace entire sections of the fence.
After you buy a fence, you should make sure and protect your investment by giving it a nice coat of paint.
Types Of Wood Fence Paint
When you are trying to choose which paint to use on your wood fence, you’ll discover that there are three main types. There are water-based paints, primer, and oil-based paints. Here is what they are and how to choose which to use.
Water-based paints are also called latex or acrylic paints. They are made with water, and people use them for all sorts of reasons – from outdoor fences to indoor walls. One thing people love about acrylic paints is that they expand and contract with changes in temperatures. This makes them great for fences because they resist cracking.
People that care about the environment prefer water-based paints because they are less toxic. They are also more breathable than oil-based paints and won’t trap moisture in the wood.
Some paints include a primer in them, and then there is primer that you can buy on its own. Primer is the first coat that you add to the fence before you add the paint. It seals the wood completely and prevents stains, cracks, and mildew. It also helps the paint stick to the fence better.
If your paint does not include a primer, you should apply a primer first.
Oil-based paint is also called alkyd, and it’s the most durable option out of all three types. It lasts the longest so you won’t have to repaint as often and is also the most resistant to dirt, making it easier to clean.
Oil-based paints take the longest time to dry. If you spill them, you’ll need to use a paint thinner to clean up the mess. They come in satin, semi-gloss, and glossy finishes and have an enameled finish that will outlast outdoor weather issues.
Best Paint For A Wood Fence
Now that you know about the different types, these are our top picks of the best paint for a wood fence. You can’t go wrong with any of these 10 outdoor paints.
1. The ONE Paint and Primer
Overall, most people agree that the best paint for a wood fence is ONE Paint and Primer. Buy this even if you don’t know what type of fence you are going to install because it works on almost any surface. It also has both paint and primer in it, so you only have one step.
It usually only requires one coat, and it’s done – that’s another reason it made the top spot on the list. Plus, it comes in 12 different shades, and you can choose from matte, gloss, or satin finishes.
This is a water-based acrylic, which means it’s easy to clean up if it happens to spill or splatter (no paint thinners needed). This is also good for the environment because it has a low VOC (volatile organic compound) formula.
2. Behr’s Premium Oil Based Primer and Sealer
Choose Behr’s Premium Oil Based Primer and Sealer if you want a type of paint that you can use both inside your house and on your fence. Talk about durable!
This paint is really mildew-resistant, and we love how well it works at blocking stains and protecting your fence from damaging UV rays. You can also use it on metal to inhibit rust and prevent color changes.
It goes a long way too. One gallon will effectively cover 70-120 feet.
This oil-based paint might be tougher to clean up, but there are lots of good things about it that outweigh that con. It will protect your fence from freezing temperatures and dries really fast – it’s dry to the touch in 4-6 hours.
3. Benjamin Moore’s Regal Select Latex Paints
Another really popular fence paint is Benjamin Moore’s Regal Select latex paint. They are one of Benjamin Moore’s most popular paints because they are so durable.
This line of paint is best for wood fences because it resists fading, cracking, and peeling. Plus, even in high-humid areas, they do a fantastic job of resisting mildew.
Beginners will enjoy using it because it goes on smoothly and easily. They come in three different varieties – flat, low luster, and soft gloss.
Benjamin Moore has a solid reputation thanks to their limited lifetime warranty and the fact that they are made with Gennex® Color Technology.
4. Valspar Duramax Paint
Fans of water-based paints, this one is for you! Valspar has a stellar reputation for its durable and long-lasting outdoor paints. They are 100% acrylic and will protect your fence all year long.
Plus, you can apply the paint to your fence any time of year. They have all-weather adhesion capabilities that resist all sorts of water-related issues such as mold, mildew, and algae. In other words, you can apply it to your fence in temperatures as low as 35 degrees F or as high as 90 degrees F.
Duramax also dries really quickly – in less than two hours. This paint is sold as a tint base, which means you can customize it with any color you choose.
5. Jetcoat Acrylic Outdoor Fence Paint
Jetcoat is one of the most cost-effective choices on this list. It has a non-toxic dry finish that is safe for the environment, but there are a bunch of other reasons we love this outdoor fence paint.
You won’t have to reapply it very often, thanks to its fade-resistance. This water-based paint has UV inhibitors in it that protect your wood from damaging sunshine. This helps the wood last even longer – saving you more money.
It’s really easy to use. You can apply it with a spray can, roller, or paintbrush. It only needs one coat of paint – so one gallon will cover about 95-100 square feet. That’s a huge cost savings!
6. Behr Barn and Fence Paint
If you like the look of a white fence, then use the super-popular Behr Barn and Fence Paint. It’s water-based paint that is easy to clean up when you are finished painting. Lots of people love it because it is safe to use around animals (including livestock).
The super-durable finish will protect your wood from mildew and sun damage so that the color will stay strong over a really long time.
This is a self-priming paint that adheres really well to wood surfaces. It also penetrates deep into the wood, which cuts down on how often you have to reapply it. It is one of the most durable types of paint, outlasting wind, rain, and weather. It is also highly resistant to common paint issues like erosion, blistering, or peeling.
7. Ready Seal 512 Exterior Stain and Sealer For Wood
One of the best oil-based outdoor stains is Ready Seal 512 Exterior Stain. Technically it’s a stain, not a paint, but it works so well that we had to add it to this list.
The reason we love it so much is because it combines the beauty of a tinted stain with the durability of a wood sealer. This saves you time and money because you get color and protection from the same stuff.
If you love the beauty of natural wood grain, then you’ll really like this stain. It is transparent, so the wood grain will show through beautifully!
There are lots of different ways you can use it, too. It works on unfinished fence boards as the first coat or on top of already stained surfaces. Use a roller, spray can, or paintbrush to apply it to your wood fence. You don’t have to dilute or thin the paint – it’s ready to go straight out of the container.
8. Majic Paints Interior/Exterior
For anyone that loves color and wants to make a statement, check out Majic Paints. They are suited for both indoor and outdoor use, and people use them for everything from walls to patio furniture to fence posts. Some people have even used it to repaint their sinks and metal fences too.
This acrylic satin paint has an extra-smooth finish that is a breeze to apply. Plus, its color-retention is top of the line and maintains the vibrant hues throughout rain, wind, and sun. It goes on easily, so it’s perfect for beginners (or anyone that is running short on time). You don’t need to sand or prime your fence, just apply this paint.
It comes in a variety of colors – from neutrals to olive green, sangria red, and a lovely blue called serenity.
9. KILZ Exterior Siding, Fence, and Barn Paint
KILZ has made a name for themselves for being phenomenal at weather protection for wood, and this exterior fence and barn paint is one more amazing product from them.
The amazing thing about this paint is how long it will last! Since it is a combination of oil and water-based components, it will protect your fence and is easy to clean up. The best of both worlds!
This paint will stand up to almost any type of weather – protecting and keeping your fence sealed in the process. It also dries really quickly and one gallon will cover 200-500 square feet – that is a huge cost savings!
It’s really easy to apply, goes on smooth, and is really durable. The only downside is that out of all the paints on this list, this one is the most difficult to clean dirt off of.
10. Gardner Water Based Fence Paint
Finally, with a name like “Black-Beauty Asphalt Fence Paint,” you know you found a type of paint that will stick, protect, and last a really long time (and look good doing it)!
Gardner is also a water-based paint, so it’s super easy to clean up. It’s made for wooden surfaces to protect it against rot, so it’s a fantastic choice for a wood fence. It sticks to your fence and lasts too – it won’t fade or peel off easily. It gives you lots of bang for your buck and has an anti-corrosive nature.
The only downside of this paint is that it is really thick. It isn’t the easiest stuff to apply, but since it works so well, it’s definitely worth it!
How Often To Paint A Wood Fence
Always look at the paint you are buying. It should have a recommendation with how often you should retouch your outdoor paint. Most experts suggest repainting every 2-3 years. Look for signs that it is ready for a new coat of paint – cracking, peeling, or sun damage. Basically, if you notice that the water isn’t beading up on the fence but soaking into it, your fence needs a new coat of paint.
Why Paint Instead of Stain A Fence
If a fence is made of wood, shouldn’t you stain the wood instead of paint it? Nope! Actually, it’s best to paint your wood fence instead of staining it.
For one thing, stain needs to be resealed every year and then reapplied every few years. When you use paint, it minimizes how much maintenance you have to do. With paint, you just have to clean it in between paintings.
The only downside to paint is that if you pressure wash it, you run the risk of damaging the paint job. Overall, paint is the better choice because it offers the most protection for your fence.
Frequently Asked Questions About Fence Paint
Here are some questions that people often ask about choosing a paint for their wood fence.
What kind of paint is best for a wood fence?
This depends on your personal preferences. If you want to make clean-up easier, choose water-based paint. If durability is really important to you, then an oil-based paint will be your best bet.
What is the best way to paint a fence?
The best way to paint a fence depends on the type of paint you are using. Some are not suited for spray cans, and others can be used with either a roller or a paintbrush. Always check the paint to see which way it can be used before you buy it.
As for which way is the best, this also depends on what makes you the most comfortable. Some people prefer rollers, others a paintbrush.
Do I need to prime a fence before painting it?
Before you paint, you should always use a primer (unless the paint has a primer in it). All of the outdoor paints on this list are made with primer in them already, so you don’t have to add extra primer on first. This is such a time-saver!
Whenever you buy a type of paint for your fence, make sure it is a primer and paint in one, and that will save you a step.
There you have it! Not only did you just discover the best paint for a wood fence, but you have 10 different kinds you can choose from. Oil-based, water-based, stain, and primer – there are so many different things to remember when it comes to picking out the best one.
Thankfully, the paints on this list will never steer you wrong. Save money and always buy paint and primer in one. Protect your fence with paint that will seal it off from mildew, sun damage, or even mold and algae. You can’t go wrong with a beautifully painted fence.