There has been an explosion of fence stain colors available today. Gone are the days when you have to choose between a half dozen shades of brown or red. With this bounty of choices comes the challenge of narrowing it down to just one.
If you are looking for inspiration for your next fence staining project we have included lots of pictures of the most popular colors on the market. If you are having trouble choosing the perfect shade to coordinate with your home we will include tips for choosing the best fence stain color.
Choosing a great fence stain color will elevate your outdoor areas and make them even more enjoyable than before.
Consider these fence stain colors for your home.
Traditional Fence Stain Colors
These colors fit with a traditional architectural style. If you like a classic or timeless look these colors might be for you. They tend to favor more natural wooden fence stain colors.
This soft brown color from the folks at Ready Seal is a very traditional fence stain color. Its neutral qualities make it a very versatile color.
If you want a fence stain color that is bright and stunning, redwood is the way to go. With its warm red undertones, this color will stand out in your backyard. Many manufacturers have their version of this color.
Pecan is a very popular color from Ready Seal. It is a medium, warm brown that is not too dark and not too light.
Rustic Fence Stain Colors
These colors are great if you love a rustic or ranch vibe. Whether you actually live in the country or just want to bring a little of that feel to your backyard space, these colors will be a great addition to your backyard.
Sable Brown is one of Wood Defender’s most popular semi-transparent colors. It is a medium brown that is very versatile. It can fit many different home styles.
Leatherwood is quickly becoming a close second to Cedar Tone for the most popular transparent color. This rich warm brown looks great in a rustic ranch or in an upscale modern backyard.
This color is a very lightly tinted stain. It will add a little bit of warmth to your fence while highlighting its natural beauty. It is a great color to pair with cedar.
Cedar Tone is also a great natural looking color for cedar fences. It highlights the warm red tones in a natural cedar fence.
Modern Fence Stain Colors
Modern fence stains are not limited to the traditional brown and red tones of the past. There are options for using black, and gray as well. This category has the biggest range of color options available. Everything from a completely natural looking clear stain to the darkest black will compliment a modern style home nicely.
Black fence stains are becoming more and more popular. This trend definitely has a modern feel to it and pairs well with contrasting white exteriors.
Cape Cod Gray
Cape Cod Gray is a warm gray fence stain color from Wood Defender. Using a medium gray color is a great way to add a contemporary vibe to your outdoor space.
A clear penetrating sealer gives this fence a natural look. The clear glow formula from Wood Defender has been recently updated to give it even more longevity. This removes one of the biggest drawbacks to using a clear sealer because it no longer has to be applied every year.
Gray fence stain colors are a very popular modern style stain. This color from Expert Stain and Seal is a great cool tone gray. This type of gray can be hard to find in a wood stain.
Elegant Fence Stain Colors
These colors give your outdoor space a classy feel. They are a great choice if you want to upscale the look of your outdoor space. If you tend to go for a high-end look, these colors can elevate your backyard.
Oxford Brown by Wood Defender is a darker transparent stain color. It looks elegant in this horizontal fence with metal decorative poles.
Dark Walnut from Ready Seal elevates the look of this high-end backyard.
Coffee Brown is a rich semi-transparent color that will give a chocolatey look to a new fence. It is also great for older fences because the strong pigments will cover up imperfections in the wood.
This is the mahogany color from Sherwin Williams. It is a rich warm red with brown tones.
Tips For Picking the Best Fence Stain Color
While your best fence stain color is based on your taste and preferences, here are some guidelines that can help you narrow it down to the best option.
- Match the Architecture of Your Home
If you already have stained elements on your home like cedar accents or posts, consider staining your fence with a matching or similar color. Also, try picking a color that will coordinate with your exterior paint scheme. You can hold up samples next to your house to see how the fence stain color looks next to it.
- Consider Your Personal Style
As mentioned above, different fence stain colors will tend toward one design style or another. Choosing a color that fits with the design style you prefer for the rest of your home will help it look like it belongs.
- Remember that Dark Colors Recede
Do you want your fence to be a featured element in your yard or a supporting, background element? Lighter brighter colors will have a tendency to stand out. This can make your fence the statement piece for your yard. Darker colors, on the other hand, will recede and be less noticeable. This is great if you want your fence to be a backdrop for your landscaping or other decor.
Choosing Your Transparency
Fence stain can range from transparent to solid. This refers to the amount of wood grain you can still see once it is applied. A solid stain will cover the wood completely, similar to paint.
Clear Fence Stain
Clear stain does not have any pigment in it. It will still protect the wood from moisture but does not provide any protection from UV rays. The wood will likely still turn gray, but the clear stain will slow this process down. Clear sealers often need to be applied every year.
Transparent Fence Stain
A transparent fence stain has pigment in it but still allows most of the wood grain to show through. This stain is a great option for new cedar because it highlights the beauty of the boards.
Semi-Transparent Fence Stain
A Semi-Transparent stain will have more or stronger pigments while still allowing some of the wood to show. These stains are great for pine fences because transparent fence stains often look uneven on pine. It is also great for older fences that might have imperfections you want to cover.
A solid fence stain will completely cover the wood grain like paint does. These stains can be the longest lasting but also have the tendency to peel off. This makes them harder to maintain in the long run. Solid fence stains will also give you the most color options. I recommend using solid stain over paint for a fence.
Colors by Manufacturer
Below are some links to the fence stain color options available from major stain companies.
Take the Next Step
Now that you have selected the perfect color for your fence, read our guide to staining a fence.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it better to paint or stain a fence?
I recommend using a quality oil-based fence stain to preserve your wooden fence. This type of treatment will protect your fence from the elements and be easier to maintain over time. To learn more read stain vs paint.
What is the most popular wood stain color?
Among the most popular colors in my experience have been Cedar Tone, Leatherwood and Coffee Brown.
All of the colors listed above were selected because they have been the most popular over the last few years.
What is the most popular fence stain?
One of the most popular fence stains has consistently been Ready Seal. For a very similar alternative you may also consider Wood Defender.