Choosing a fence stain colour is not only a matter of aesthetics, but choosing the wrong colour can land you in a legal dispute. A Washington state couple's disagreement with their homeowner's association racked up £55,250 in legal fees, according to a 2007 Seattle Times story. Staining your fence typically doesn't have such extreme consequences, and you have several types of stains and many colours from which to choose. Stain not only beautifies your fence, it protects it from weathering and becoming discoloured.
Natural Wood Colors
Because most people want their wood fences to look like newer wood for as long as possible, instead of turning grey from exposure, natural wood tones are a common choice for fence stain. Most often available in semi-transparent finish that allows the character and grain of the wood to show through, common "natural" wood stain colours include cedar, redwood and various shades of brown. The Western Red Cedar Lumber Association recommends oil-based stain over latex stains for durability and colour retention.
Some people like the look of silvery grey weathered wood but want the colour to be even, not streaky and blotchy. Gray stain is available in many shades, from a classic silvery grey, to grey with blue or green undertones. A grey-stained fence may blend better with a house that is painted in shades of grey or blue. Gray or grey-blue stain also looks good on beachfront fences.
You are not limited to colours found in nature—exterior stain can be custom mixed in a wide range of colours, including green, lavender and red. Use coloured stain for a fun and funky look. If the idea of a lavender fence surrounding your home appals you, perhaps just staining the gate would provide an interesting accent, perhaps complemented by grey stain on the rest of the fence. Most stain colours are available in both semi-transparent and opaque stains, which looks more like paint. The Western Red Cedar Lumber Association states that opaque stain is best suited for textured wood surfaces.
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