5 Signs It's Time to Paint or Stain Your Fence - AMC Painting

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Workmanship & Quality

5 Signs It’s Time to Paint or Stain Your Fence

June 11, 2024

Is it time to paint or stain your fence? Fencing is a commonly overlooked part of exterior maintenance. After all, they aren’t supposed to be perfectly clean and fresh like the walls of your home. We build fences for the tough job of being outdoors 24/7/365, withstanding the sun, rain, hail and drought to create a barrier in your yard. As long as it’s doing the job and not violating local codes, many people will leave it alone until it needs to be fixed.

However, your fencing needs regular maintenance, too. Without routine care like making repairs or ensuring a good paint or stain barrier that can protect the surface, your fencing could, literally, fall flat. Here are signs it may be time to call in the professional fence painters.

1. Fading Fence Color 

This one’s an easy one. Take a look at your fence; is your fence color as great as the day it was installed? Or has it lost its luster? The sun can be brutal to fencing, especially if earlier paints or stains did not have any UV protection. Even worse, it never fades evenly! 

fading fence paint

The side of your fence that sits in the shade may be gorgeous while the side that faces the sun looks bleached and tired.

Landscaping and yard furniture can also contribute to uneven fading. We’ve all seen the neighbor who removed a lilac bush or tree and discovered they had a perfectly stained silhouette of said tree or lilac … surrounded by faded color. That is not a pleasant surprise for anyone.

Fading fence color can really only be solved with a repaint or new stain, especially if it’s uneven or obvious (like a lilac “shadow”). You’ll be able to start anew with a uniform fence that is, hopefully, high quality and loaded with UV protectant qualities. 


2. Cracks in the Wood

Stain and paint make your fence look great, but they also fulfill a practical purpose — protection. Exterior fence paints and stains penetrate the surface of wood fencing and dry to create a barrier between your fence and the elements. If you see cracks in your wood fencing, the paint or stain may have deteriorated so much it no longer adds protection. 

Metal fencing can also be protected by a coat of exterior paint designed for metal projects. You can limit rust and other corrosion with high-quality paint. If you see rust stains seeping out of your metal posts and pickets, it’s probably time for a refresh.

3. Dirty, Discolored or Stained Fencing 

When we refer to a stain here, we don’t mean the kind that makes your fence look like new. We’re talking about those tricky stains caused by rust, dirt, oil and more. Remember how paint or fence stain can penetrate wood? So can liquids you don’t want. It’s often easier to cover the most difficult discoloration with a quality protectant than it is to refinish them or spend hours with the power washer hoping it works. In fact, an attempt to clean the discoloration with a power washer can fade all of the color around the stain and still not remove it. 

4. Peeling, Flaking or Chipped Paint

Remember how we discussed paint as a protective tool with aesthetic benefits? Chipped, flaking or peeling paint is a breach in that barrier. Even small chips can create problems over the lifetime of your fence. Chips allow water to penetrate the wood surface and corrode metal surfaces. With wooden fences, you may discover that the wood is weaker, or even soft and decayed. With metal fencing, you may find rust and corrosion. Your painter should be able to handle these issues (within reason), smoothing the surface for application and ensuring it won’t just re-chip after they leave. 

5. Mold or Mildew on the Fence Surface

While this is much more common in humid climates, any fence can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew. You just need water and time. Paint can help you kill off these fence destroyers and prevent it from recurring. The barrier will also make it easier to clean any buildup that does occur. It offers a surface that won’t fill your hand with splinters or require you to power wash it to get it back to normal. 

Fencing is expensive. Anyone who has endured a Colorado windstorm will know this to be true. If you have noticed discoloration, fading, staining, cracking or any of these signs it’s time to repaint or stain your fence, it’s time to give that fence the TLC it (and your wallet) deserves. 



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