How Much Does It Cost to Stain a Fence in 2024?

Most homeowners pay somewhere between $1,215 and $2,865 for fence staining, with an average price of $1,855.

The national average cost of fence staining is $1,855. The typical homeowner will pay between $1,215 and $2,865 for this home improvement project. However, you could pay as much as $4,800 for large, complex projects or as little as $480 for small, simple projects.

Stain is a paint alternative for wooden fences. Rather than cover up the wood grain, it lets it shine through. Stain comes in many natural colors to enhance the wood’s appearance, boosting your home’s curb appeal. Stain also increases wood’s longevity by protecting it from environmental damage. You can use stain on any wooden structure, but this pricing guide will focus on fencing.

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In this article, we’ll cover:

Average Fence Staining Costs

National Average Cost$1,855
Typical Price Range$1,215 – $2,865
Extreme Low-End Cost$480
Extreme High-End Cost$4,800

The national average cost reflects a typical fence staining project with both sides covered. The low end represents a small, simple fence style stained on one side. The high-end price represents large and complicated fence designs, expensive wood types, and both sides stained. To save money on this project, you can clear away obstacles, complete repairs, and clean the fence beforehand.

Fence Staining Cost Estimator by Size

The length and height of your fence are the most significant cost factors. Some fence stainers charge by the linear foot, with an average price of $9 per linear foot and a range of $5 to $12 per linear foot. Measure the length of your fence and double it if you want to stain both sides. 

Here are the prices for various fence lengths:

Fence Length in Linear FeetAverage Cost for One SideAverage Cost for Two SidesCost Range for One SideCost Range for Two Sides

Some fence stainers may charge by the square foot to account for different fence heights. The average cost is $1.45 per square foot, but it ranges between $0.80 and $1.80 per square foot. To calculate your final price, you’ll need to find the surface area of your fence. Multiply the height times the length to get the surface area. For example, a 4-foot fence that’s 150 feet long has a surface area of 600 square feet. 

Here are the prices for various surface areas:

Fence Area in Square FeetAverage Cost for One SideAverage Cost for Two SidesCost Range for One SideCost Range for Two Sides

While prices generally follow a consistent price per linear or square foot, some companies may offer lower rates for exceptionally long fences.

Other Factors That Affect Cost

The size of your fence may be the main cost factor, but it’s not the only one. Here are some other things that will increase or decrease the cost to stain your fence.

Staining One or Both Sides

Staining both sides of your fence will provide the most protection. Ask the fencing company if their rate reflects one or both sides of the fence. If it only reflects one side, the price will double if you want both sides covered.

Most fences only belong to one homeowner, meaning you can do as you please. However, you may not be able to stain both sides if you share your fence with the neighboring property. Talk to your neighbor about splitting the costs to stain the fence and allowing the pros onto their property to work. If they don’t want their side stained, you can stain only your side. 

Staining one side isn’t ideal since the other side will still be vulnerable to all the elements, but you can still do it for visual appeal. Just understand your fence won’t last as long as a fence stained on both sides.

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Number of Coats

While paint almost always needs two coats, stain usually doesn’t. A single coat of stain will be fine in most cases, especially if you’ve stained your fence in the last five years. However, two coats can benefit new fences or fences that haven’t been stained in more than five years. These fences will absorb much more stain, hence the need for the extra layer.

Two coats will cost double what a single coat costs. It also will require more time since the first coat needs to soak in and dry. If you want to stain the fence yourself, read the product label to see how many coats they recommend.

Type of Stain

Most gallons of stain cost around $20 to $50 and cover 160 square feet, but many types of stain are available. You’ll need to choose its composition and transparency based on your needs, wood type, and personal tastes. Clear or transparent stains will cost the least, while stains that include sealer can climb to an average price of $85 per gallon.

Stains can either be oil-based or water-based. Oil-based stains hold up better to time and the elements but are banned in some states due to adverse health effects. Water-based stains may not last as long, but they’re safer, less flammable, and dry faster. Oil-based stains cost $65 a gallon, while water-based stains cost $50 a gallon, on average.

Your next decision is transparency. Transparent stains are slightly pigmented for UV protection but let the wood show, which makes them best for fences with beautiful colors and wood grains. Semi-transparent stains are still see-through, but they alter the color more than transparent stains. Solid stains are the closest to paint, though some wood grain will still be visible. Solid stains are best for covering wear and tear while still looking more natural than painting.

Here are the costs per gallon based on stain transparency:

We recommend you use a stain that includes sealer. The sealer protects wood from water damage, weather damage, and graying. Unlike stains, they don’t soak into the wood or affect the color. Though stain-sealer combos have a high average price of $85 per gallon, they will save you money and labor since you won’t need to buy or apply sealer separately.

Type of Wood

You may need to choose your stain based on the type of wood used for your fence. Certain woods absorb more of the stain than others, increasing costs. Here are the average costs per linear and square foot for various wood types:

Type of Wood FenceAverage Cost Per Linear FootAverage Cost Per Square Foot
Cedar or western red cedar$6$0.60
Douglas fir$6$0.60
Tropical hardwood$6.50$0.65
Black locust$6.50$0.65

Fence Style

The design of your fence affects its surface area and, thus, the total price. For example, a spaced picket fence usually costs less to stain than a privacy fence. 

However, closely-spaced designs like board-on-board and shadowbox fences will cost more than privacy fences because the contractor needs to carefully paint between each board, covering each nook and cranny. The same goes for any detailed design, whether it has engravings, post caps, rails, or other detailing.

Here are the costs per linear foot for common fence designs:

Prep Work

Unlike paint, stain needs relatively little prep work. You don’t need to remove old stain layers; it’s beneficial that they’re there. You also don’t usually need primer. However, you do need to remove mold, mildew, and dirt. Wood cleaner costs $15 per gallon, and each gallon covers 250 square feet.

You also may need to sand down rough edges and imperfections beforehand. It costs around $2.50 per square foot to sand wooden fencing.


To get an accurate estimate, you’ll need to let the company know what’s surrounding your fence. If you have concrete footings or walls, the contractors must take extra precautions to avoid staining them. They also need to watch out for pools, especially if they’re using sprayers. Both these obstacles could increase the hourly rate or incur a flat fee.

Hedges and bushes also get in the way. A professional can trim hedges or bushes for $63 an hour. Want to save money? Trim your hedges and bushes yourself for free. 

Labor Costs

When you hire a professional, labor costs make up most of the total cost. The average hourly rate for fence staining is $30 an hour per person. While the hourly rate will be multiplied by the number of workers, the work will go quicker with multiple people, reducing the total hours. Staining usually takes a few workdays, though the exact amount varies based on the job’s complexity.

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Related Services

If you need your fence stained, you should consider these other services to revive it or replace it if it’s too far gone.

Fence Painting

If you want more color options than staining provides, consider paint instead. The fence painting and staining cost even out when you account for material costs, prep, and the number of coats. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each:

PaintWood Stain
Costs $20-$80 per gallonCosts $20-$50 per gallon
One gallon covers around 30 linear feet or 200 square feetOne gallon covers around 25 linear feet or 160 square feet
Comes in all colorsComes in natural colors
Hides the wood grainShows the wood grain
Lasts for 5 to 10 years before chippingLasts for 1 to 8 years before fading
Requires more prep before applicationRequires less prep before application

Pressure Washing

A good cleaning prepares your fence for staining and makes it look better immediately. Pressure washing costs an average of $180. However, you could save money by renting a pressure washer for $70 a day or scrubbing your fence with a brush. Be careful not to use a high setting on the power washer because the excessive pressure could damage the fence.

Fence Repair

Repair damaged fence parts before you stain your fence. You wouldn’t want to waste your money staining boards that you’ll need to remove later, nor do you want to buy more stain for touch-ups you could have avoided. The average repair cost for wooden fences is $370.

Fence Installation

Wood stains won’t revive a broken fence. If your fence is near the end of its lifespan, it may be best to install a new fence. New fence installation costs an average of $3,440. Consider choosing vinyl or composite fencing if you don’t want to stain or paint your fence in the future.

Other Staining Projects

If you’re already hiring a crew to stain your fence, why not get some other staining done? Decks get the same benefits from staining that fences do. The cost to stain a deck averages out to osts an average of $730

Pro Cost vs. DIY Cost

If you want to save money, consider staining the fence yourself. You’ll need to research and sacrifice a couple of weekends, but those extra savings could be worth it. Here’s how much the tools and materials would cost:

Material or ToolAverage Cost
Power sander$26
Paint roller$11
Buying a paint sprayer$450
Renting a paint sprayer$100
Roll of masking tape$5
Tarps or drop cloths$10
Roll of masking paper$13
Gallon of stain$35

You could save hundreds or thousands by DIYing this project. DIY costs usually amount to around $5 per linear foot, which almost cuts the cost in half. However, staining a fence is quite time-consuming. You’ll need several free weekends and some helping hands to make things go quicker. Factor in bad weather and unexpected weekend plans, and the project could stretch longer than you intended.

Cost of Fence Staining by Location

While this article is based on national averages, the cost will vary from city to city. Rural areas tend to have lower prices than urban areas. Other factors affecting the price include the cost of living, proximity to suppliers, and service demand. 

The local climate may affect the demand throughout the year, as most people hire pros in the summer or other sunny seasons. If you live in a rainy or snowy climate, there will likely be more demand for staining services whenever it’s sunny. 

FAQ About Staining a Fence

Is It Better to Spray or Roll Stain on a Fence?

Sprayers are much faster but may use more stain and get on surroundings. Exercise caution if your fence is near a wall, pool, concrete, or plant. Rollers are neater, provide even coverage, and are quicker than brushes. No matter which tool you use, you may need a brush to cover hard-to-reach areas.

Do I Have to Pressure Wash a Fence Before Staining?

It would help if you cleaned before staining for the best finish, whether with a pressure washer or another method. Be careful not to pressure wash at too high of a setting, or the wood could dent or splinter. 

Is It Ever Too Late to Stain a Fence?

Even old fences benefit from staining. You may need to clean them more thoroughly, though. However, it won’t save a fence that’s falling apart. Get it repaired or replaced beforehand for the best results.

DIY or Hire a Pro to Stain Your Fence?

Professional fence staining costs an average of $1,855, but your final bill will vary based on your project size, wood type, stain used, and prep needed. You can DIY this home improvement project to save even more money. If you don’t want to spend your free time laboring over your fence, contact local fencing professionals for cost estimates.

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Main Image Credit: Andy Dean Photography / Canva Pro / License

Lauren Bryant

Lauren Bryant is a freelance writer currently based in the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys long walks and baking in her free time. She understands how essential fences are for privacy and safety and is most interested in long-lasting solutions.