7 Best Paints for an Outdoor Fence
Is your weather-worn fence ready for a makeover? From white picket to rugged cedar, here are the top-rated paints for outdoor fences.
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.
Tom Werner/Getty Images
What Paint to Use on Outdoor Fences
Fences around your home provide security, privacy and curb appeal. Whether they’re made of wood, metal, brick, stucco or masonry, it’s important to keep them from succumbing to the elements, age and abuse. All it takes to have a fence you can be proud of is the right paint, a little know-how and a weekend of your time.
Here are some facts about outdoor fence paint.
Types of fence paint
Oil-based (a.k.a. alkyd) is a long-lasting paint that tends to be more durable than water-based emollients. Oils take longer to dry and require paint thinner for cleanup. But if you’re looking for a tough, enameled (satin, semi-gloss or glossy) finish that withstands outdoor exposure, there’s no substitute.
Latex (a.k.a. acrylic) paint is a water-based formula that makes a good all-purpose paint solution. Acrylic paint is flexible — expanding and contracting with changes in temperatures — to resist cracking and blistering. Latex paint is also less toxic and better for the environment.
A primer is an undercoat that creates a bonding layer on a surface to seal it for painting. Besides blocking stains from wood tannins and mildew from moisture, primers give surfaces “teeth” to make the paint adhere better.
A lot of exterior paint formulas are self-priming. If the paint you choose is not, we recommend applying a quality primer to achieve the best results.
Best All-Purpose Fence Paint
Grab a brush and go to town with The ONE Paint and Primer. It works on all types of fencing surfaces in one quick and easy step. No need to dread painting your fence because the thick, one-coat opaque formula helps you get the job done in no time flat. Choose from 12 pigments in gloss, satin or matte finishes.
Best Oil-Based Fence Paint
Some painters swear by the luster and depth that oil-based enamel paint achieves. To get a rich, durable mid to glossy sheen on wood or wrought iron fencing, we like Diamond Brite Paint. A champ against high-traffic areas, it works as well on wood as it does masonry, metal and brick.
Pro Tip: The paint flows best when applying with a natural bristle paintbrush or a premium quality roller cover.
Best Water-Based Fence Paint
Valspar’s 100-percent acrylic Duramax Satin Exterior Tintable Paint gives year-round protection with its all-weather adhesion capacity and mold, mildew and algae resistance. Is rain in the forecast? No problem. Duramax dries so fast — in an hour-and-a-half — there’s no need to put off your painting plans. This paint is sold as a tint base, so when choosing a custom fence color, the sky’s the limit.
Best Fence Paint For Wood
Behr Exterior Barn and Fence Paint is the perfect marriage between durable oil-based paint and resilient latex. Developed especially for wooden fences and barns, this ready-to-use self-priming hybrid compound offers superior adhesion, penetration and endurance. It resists cracking, blistering and peeling for a beautiful appearance that stands the test of time.
One five-star reviewer on homedepot.com said, “One coat application, ultra-bright white, great coverage and 20-30-minute drying time. Loving the front fence!”
Best Decorative Fence Paint
If you want your fence to stand out in a crowd, add a touch of originality with color. Majic Paints Diamondhard Repurpose Acrylic Satin can turn a humdrum fence into the talk of the neighborhood. Delivering a smooth satin finish and superior color retention, this paint goes on like a dream, sticking to any surface without sanding or priming. Comes in 10 break-all-the-rules paint colors.
Best Fence Paint for Metal
Reclaim the beauty of a crusty, rusted metal fence with a protective and professional finish by using Rusto-Oleum Professional High Performance Enamel Spray Paint.
Brushing metal can be tricky and tedious. The high-output, comfort tip lets you spray the oil-based paint in any direction — even upside-down — to achieve a hard-shell gloss or semi-gloss finish that protects against corrosion and harsh weather conditions. Dries to the touch in 15 minutes.
If you have a lot of metal fence to paint, purchase a spray can tool for comfort and a better grip.
Best Fence Semi-Solid Stain for New Wood
For adding a subtle, fresh finish on a new wood fence without hiding the natural grain texture, we recommend tintable Cabot Semi-Solid Siding and Fence Acrylic Stain. An alternative to full-coverage paint, Cabot’s special semi-opaque pigments ensure a rich color while providing a deep-penetrating flat finish that protects against mold and mildew growth.