Best Fence Paint 2024: Top Options for Your Property

If you want to pick out a new fence paint for your wooden fence but have no idea where to start, this article will help you choose a high-quality fence paint to suit you!
Renee Lewis
Renee Lewis
Last Update:
January 4, 2024

Types of Fence Paint

When it comes time to add a fresh layer of paint or stain to your fence, there are many options. From different types of paint to different application techniques, we will break down what to choose for your fence project!

Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paint is a long lasting paint that soaks into the surface and has a glossy finish. Using this type of paint for your DIY paint job will make it a breeze - a good quality oil-based paint will only need one coat. Oil-based paint soaks into the surface and has good adhesion and stain blocking properties. It is more durable than water-based paints and longer lasting. Oil-based paints are an excellent choice for exterior paint on metal fences as it prevents rusting and stains. An oil-based paint will cover up the wood grains and any cracks in your fence as well. Keep in mind that drying time is longer for oil-based paints than for water-based paints.

Water-Based Paint

Water-based paint, also known as latex paint or acrylic paint, uses a water-based formula. This type of paint is a good all-purpose paint and sits on top of the fence material instead of soaking in like oil-based paint. Water-based paint is flexible and expands and contracts as the temperature changes and as a result it is resistant to cracking and blistering. Water-based paint is viewed as better for the environment than other options like oil-based paints. It is also quick drying compared to oil-based paints. However, you may need to check the fence after it's dried to see if it needs a second coat.


When painting a fence, primer is the coat that is applied before the fence paint of your choice. It creates a bonding layer on the surface of the fence that seals it before painting. Primer helps the paint stick to the surface of the fence better. Primer also prevents mildew from forming because of rain and blocks stains from wood tannins so it is good to use on exterior wood. Be sure to check the colored water-based or oil-based paint you have chosen to find out whether it is self-priming. If it is, you do not need an extra primer layer because it is formulated for good adhesion on its own.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Fence Paint

1. Durability and Weather Resistance

Durability and weather resistance are important factors to consider when choosing the fence paint for exterior wood. Do you live in an area with a lot of rain or humidity? In that case, an oil-based paint would be the best option as it is water resistant and more durable than water-based paint. That’s because oil-based paints sink have better adhesion as they enter the fence material as opposed to sitting on top of it like a water-based paint. If you do want to use a water-based paint, then be sure to choose a good primer to paint on your fence beforehand so that the water-based paint will bond better to the fence material. Note that paints will be more durable in many cases than simple fence stains.

2. Ease of Application and Coverage

For ease of application and coverage, no matter what type of paint you choose - water-based paint or oil-based paint - use a sprayer instead of a paint roller or paint brush. A paint sprayer makes it significantly easier to apply the paint to the fence. It is also faster to apply fence paint with a sprayer instead of a roller. Using a sprayer instead of a roller will also ensure the best coverage and that there will not be gaps in the paint on your fence. Sprayers are great for covering textured surfaces with grooves and deep cracks that rollers cannot get to as well. A roller is much more time consuming, labor intensive and requires more cleanup.

3. Color and Finish Options

When it comes to color options using either water-based paints or oil-based paints, the sky's the limit! Paints are available in almost any color imaginable. You can choose a classic option like white or something more modern like charcoal gray or navy blue. There are other factors to consider such as whether it's a one-coat paint or if it requires more than just one coat. Will the color change in the light? Does it look different than what it looks like on swatch? It is recommended to get a few samples of colors you like and try them out so you can see an accurate version of what they will look like on your fence. As far as finish, you can choose between matte or semi-gloss finish. Matte will give a flat color while a gloss finish will be slightly shiny.

4. Environmentally Friendly Options

If you are an environmentally conscious person, and trying to choose between oil-based paints and water-based paints for your home improvement DIY project, choose water-based paint. Water-based paints are more environmentally friendly than oil-based paints. They release fewer harmful emissions than oil-based alternatives. That’s because with an oil-based paint, there are volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that get released into the air as the paint dries. Since water-based paints produce less harmful chemicals and are biodegradable, that means they have a lower environmental impact than oil-based paints.

Top 4 Best Fence Paints

Here are some of our top picks for best fence paints. It’s important to keep in mind your own unique factors like weather conditions in your area and the type of wood used for your fence.

Best Decorative Fence Paint

For homeowners that are looking to paint a new fence to make it look more decorative and attractive rather than just painting it for a functional purpose, try Majic Paints Diamond Hard Repurpose Acrylic Satin. This paint does not require any sanding or painting before applying it to your fence and leaves a beautiful smooth satin finish. It comes in 10 colors that will definitely make your property stand out from your neighbors and has an overall rating of 4.3 out of 5 by customers on Amazon!

Best Wooden Fence Paint

If you are looking for the best paint for your wooden fence then look no further than Behr Exterior Barn and Fence Paint! It is a blend of oil-based paint known for durability and water-based paint that was developed especially for wooden fences and structures. It is a self-priming paint so you do not have to use a primer paint first. This is the right paint for you if you want a paint that provides a finish that is highly resistant to cracking, peeling, blistering, chalking, weathering and erosion.

Best Water-Based Fence Paint

Eco-conscious homeowners who are looking for water-based fence paint options should look at Valspar’s acrylic Duramax Satin Exterior Tintable Paint. This high-quality paint is made for remarkable coverage and all-weather adhesion. This paint has an overall 4.5 stars out of 5 rating on Lowes. One 5 start review called it simply “awesome” and it was praised by many customers for coats, application, quality and colors. If you want to give your fence a makeover, this is a great option.

Best Oil-Based Fence Paint

Oil-based fence paints are known for their superior coverage and for covering up cracks and other irregularities in wood. Diamond Brite Paint is a highly rated oil-based fence paint that leaves a mid to glossy sheen on wooden fences. One 5 start review on Home Depot said, “Excellent coverage only needed one coat of paint after cleaning and sanding. Great quality paint for the price.”

Fence Paint FAQs

Is it better to roll or spray paint a fence?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, but the most important question is how much time and energy do you want to put into painting your fence? Spraying paint on a fence provides excellent coverage and requires less energy and time than rolling a paint on. However, the advantage of rolling on paint is that it costs less.

Is it better to paint or stain a fence?

If you are looking for a color coverage that completely covers your fence and its natural color and features, then painting your fence is the way to go. However, if you want to simply enhance the natural color of your wooden fence, then a nice wood stain would be a better option for you. Wood stains also offer protection for your fence from the elements like rain and UV rays and help to extend your fence life. Even a fence stain can help enhance your curb appeal!

What is the best paint for a wooden privacy fence?

The best paint for a wooden privacy fence depends on whether you want an oil-based paint or a water-based paint. While oil-based paints provide superior coverage and durability, a water-based paint is more eco-friendly. Once you have made that decision, which color of paint you decide on depends on your personal preferences. Do you want your fence to stand out in the neighborhood, have a modern look, or a classic traditional look?

What is the best paint for an outdoor wood fence?

An oil-based paint provides the best coverage and durability for an outdoor wooden fence. Once you have decided on what color you want the paint to be, do some research on the brands that are most highly rated that have paints in that color. Also think about whether you want a gloss finish or a matte finish, and you will probably be able to find the color you want in either option!

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