Is Black Fence Stain Right For You?

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Matt Stone

If you are looking for a way to elevate the look of your outdoor space, you might be considering staining your fence. While traditional wood stains in shades of brown or red are the most common options, black fence stain is becoming increasingly popular. In this article, we will explore the trend of staining fences black and provide insight into whether or not it is the right choice for your home.

The trend of black fence stain has been growing in popularity in recent years, particularly in modern and contemporary outdoor design. Black fences provide a sleek and sophisticated look to outdoor spaces that many homeowners find appealing. 

The dark color can also provide a striking contrast to greenery and other landscaping features, making it a popular choice for those who want their fence to stand out. This is especially true if your house has a white exterior. 

Why You Should Consider Black Fence Stain

expert stain and seal black fence stain.
Photo Credit: Expert Stain & Seal

There are several reasons why someone might choose to use a black fence stain color. 

  1. First, it can create a bold and dramatic statement in your outdoor space. If you have a modern or contemporary home, a black fence can help to tie in the overall aesthetic of your property. 
  2. Black fence stain is often used in smaller outdoor spaces, as it can make the area appear larger by creating a sense of depth. 
  3. Black fence stain can also be a practical choice for those living in areas with harsh weather conditions, as its dark pigments can protect the wood from sun damage,  and other environmental factors.
  4. Additionally, those dark pigments can help to conceal imperfections in the wood, creating a uniform appearance. This makes this stain a good option for older fences.

However, there are situations where a black fence stain might not be the best option. If your home has a more traditional or rustic style, a black fence might look out of place. Black is definitely a modern touch.

Additionally, if your outdoor space already has a lot of dark features, a black fence could create an overwhelming and unbalanced look.  Black fence stains work best when they are used to contrast with lighter colors.

Black Stain Options

a wooden fence with a black oil-based fence stain.

When it comes to choosing a black fence stain, there are several brands and types of stains available on the market. Cabot, Wood Defender, Behr, Olympic, and Expert Stain & Seal are just a few of the popular brands that offer black fence stain. 

Each brand offers a variety of options with different levels of opacity, finish, and durability. It is important to research each brand and read reviews to determine which one will work best for your specific needs and preferences.

Top Black Fence Stain Brands

Oil-Based vs Water Based

There are both oil-based and water-based black fence stains available on the market. Each one can be a good choice depending on your situation. In general, we recommend using oil-based penetrating stains for most fences. These stains will be the easiest to maintain over time and give the best protection for the fence.

Most oil-based stains have some level of transparency. Depending on the look you are going for, this can be good or bad. If you like the black fence stain look but want the stain to look more natural an oil-based stain is the way to go. If on the other hand you want to make sure to get complete color coverage a water-based solid stain is the better option.

Water-based solid stains are similar to paint in that they completely cover the wood. Unlike regular house paint though, these products are made to be applied directly to bare wood. They will be more durable in the long run than using regular paint.

How Wood Species Affects Black Fence Stains

a white painted house with a black fence

Another important consideration when staining a fence black is the type of wood that the fence is made of. Certain types of wood, such as Pine and Fir, may not take the stain as well as other types of wood. Cedar and Redwood are both known for absorbing stains well and will likely look better. 

Since pine fences tend to absorb stain less evenly than cedar it may be better to use a solid stain with these. It is important to research the specific type of wood that your fence is made of and to choose a stain that is appropriate for that type of wood.

Tips For Staining a Fence Black

When staining your fence black, there are a few additional tips that can help ensure a successful outcome. First, it is important to protect any nearby surfaces, such as the ground or nearby plants, from the stain. This can be done by covering them with plastic or a drop cloth. 

This is especially important with black stains because the dark pigments will be really noticeable on many surfaces.

It is also important to note that black fence stain can require more maintenance than other colors. Because black stains can fade more quickly than lighter colors, it may be necessary to reapply the stain more frequently to maintain the desired color. Additionally, because black stains can show dirt and debris more easily, it may be necessary to clean the fence more often to keep it looking its best.


In conclusion, black fence stain is a growing trend in outdoor design that can provide a bold and dramatic statement in your outdoor space. Whether you are looking to create a modern and contemporary look or simply want to conceal imperfections in your wood fence, black fence stain can be a great option.

Ultimately, whether or not to stain your fence black is a personal choice that depends on your individual style preferences and the specific needs of your outdoor space. While black fence stain can provide a striking and modern look, it may not be the best option for every situation. It is important to consider factors such as the style of your home, the size of your outdoor space, and the type of wood your fence is made of when deciding whether or not to use black fence stain.

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Author: Matt Stone
Matt has worked as a professional painter for over 10 years. This includes much experience with all types of wood stains. He loves to write about wood stains to help others make good choices to protect their homes and make them beautiful.

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