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Varnish for Your Fence

When deciding how to treat your wood fence, it’s important to understand the nuances of staining, painting, and varnishing. Each method offers unique benefits and challenges, influencing both the fence’s appearance and its durability. In this article, we’ll describe the advantages and disadvantages of each type of treatment to help you decide which one is the best for your particular situation.

Staining Your Fence

Staining is a popular choice for wood fences due to its ability to enhance the natural beauty of the wood while providing protection.


  • Deep Penetration – Stains penetrate deep into the wood, offering protection from within. This can help in preventing issues like warping or cracking.
  • Variety of Transparencies – Stains are available in transparent, semi-transparent, and solid options, allowing you to choose the level of natural grain visibility.
  • Eco-Friendly Options – Many stains are formulated to be environmentally friendly, reducing harmful VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).


  • Less Protection Against Fading – While some stains offer UV protection, they might not be as effective as paint in preventing color fading over time.
  • Inconsistent Application – The process of applying the stains can be tricky, resulting in uneven color if not applied correctly.

Painting Your Fence

Painting is a versatile option that allows for a high degree of customization in terms of color and finish.


  • Complete Color Customization – You can choose any color to match your home’s exterior or landscape.
  • Hiding Imperfections – Painting can effectively conceal age marks, weather damage, or wood inconsistencies.
  • Long Lasting Finish – When properly applied, paint can create a durable barrier that lasts for several years.


  • Time Consuming Preparation – The wood surface must be thoroughly cleaned, sanded, and primed before painting. This can be a long, laborious process.
  • Risk of Peeling or Blistering – Unlike stains, paint may peel or blister, especially if the fence is exposed to extreme weather conditions.
  • Regular Repainting – To maintain its appearance, a painted fence may need to be repainted every few years.

Varnishing Your Fence

Varnish is often chosen for its ability to enhance the wood’s natural look while adding a layer of protection from the elements.


  • Enhanced Wood Grain – Varnishes, especially clear ones, can highlight the natural grain and color of the wood.
  • Durable Finish – A good quality varnish can create a hard, protective surface that guards against scratches and general wear.
  • Resistant to Elements – Most varnishes are formulated to be resistant to water and UV rays, protecting the wood from harsh weather conditions.


  • Vulnerability to Cracking and Peeling – In extreme weather, varnish can crack or peel, requiring more frequent touch ups.
  • Labor Intensive Application – Achieving a smooth, drip-free finish with varnish requires a great deal of skill and
  • Potential for Yellowing – Some varnishes can yellow over time, especially if exposed to direct sunlight.

Your choice between staining, painting, or varnishing your wood fence should be informed by your personal appearance preferences, the climate you live in, and the amount of maintenance you’re willing to commit to. For instance, if you live in a humid climate, a stain might be preferable for its moisture resistance. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a specific color or a high gloss finish, painting or varnishing might be more suitable.

Before making a final decision, it’s advisable to consider the specific conditions of your environment, the type of wood used for your fence, and your personal maintenance preferences. Ultimately, the choice would reflect a balance between the desired look you want to achieve, the level of protection needed, and the amount of upkeep you are prepared to undertake. By carefully selecting the right treatment for your wood fence, you can enhance the curb appeal of your property and ensure that your fence remains a beautiful and durable part of your home for many years.

Give Paramount Fence a Call!

When you’re ready to select a new fence, or for any questions or concerns about fencing, check with the professionals at Paramount Fence. We have over 100 years of combined experience in providing our customers with the highest quality fencing products. We are a locally owned and operated fence company in the Fox Valley area servicing the Chicagoland Suburbs. We understand that each client is unique, and our fencing experts will work with you to ensure that you are provided with a fence that satisfies your needs for years to come.

We strive to provide excellent customer service, which is why we have been members of the American Fence Association for almost 20 years and members of the local Chicagoland Chapter of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for almost 20 years. In fact, we have one of the highest customer service ratings with the Better Business Bureau in the area. For more information, visit our website or speak with us at 630-239-2714.