A Comprehensive Guide on How to Paint a Fence

How to Paint a Fence

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Paint can make a garden fence look attractive and stylish. Not to mention, it protects the fence panels from harsh weather conditions.

It’s a good idea to repaint your fence regularly to improve its durability. And whether your fence is old or new, fence painting is an easy project that can be completed with different tools.

In this post, we will show you how you can paint a fence in the way that suits you best.

Types of Paint

Before anything else, let us take a look at the different types of paint. The two main types of paints that can protect wood fences are:

  • Water-based paint, and
  • Oil-based paint

Both of these paints come in a variety of colours to match your home and garden. For example, the Cuprinol Garden Shades range offers you a variety of colours.

Step-by-Step Guide to Painting a Fence

Now that you know the types of paint, let us now go through the steps on how to paint a fence properly.

We advise looking at the weather forecast and choosing a day with dry weather because the paint dries more quickly on a sunny day. And, as painting isn’t the cleanest of jobs, we also recommend wearing some old clothes.

Step 1: Mow Your Lawn

Start by mowing your lawn and raking up any remaining grass cuttings from the surrounding area, especially if the grass comes right up to where the wood fence sits. Grass blades can get in the way when painting a fence and either leave irregular patterns or stick to the wet paint.

Step 2: Trim the Vegetation

If your wood fence is close to plants with long branches, you may also have to trim the branches to allow yourself more working space. Plus, long branches might scratch the fence and scrape off the paint when fresh.

Step 3: Cover the Surrounding Surfaces

As painting can be quite a messy job, we suggest you cover the surrounding plants and vegetation. Dust sheets might help you protect your lawn, and plastic sheeting can protect any bushes or garden furniture.

Additionally, you may want to place some plastic sheeting around the fence base or even under the fence so that any paint drips are caught and don’t stain your grass or flooring.

Step 4: Prepare the Wooden Surface

When your surrounding space is protected, inspect whether the wooden surface is in good condition. Check for cracks or any loose bolts/nails and smooth out any rough areas or defects on the surface.

Step 5: Clean the Fence

wooden fence with unfinished painting

Cleaning the fence will improve the adhesion between the wooden surface and the paint. You may otherwise find that dirt particles and grime interfere with the paint’s adhesive properties and make the surface look uneven.

If your fence is very dirty and mossy, you can give it a quick blast with a pressure washer. However, make sure you do not do this for too long, and also let the wood dry out completely before applying any paint.

Step 6: Sand the Fence

If you are repainting a wooden fence that was previously painted, you have to scrape off the old paint first. This can be done using a scraping tool or sandpaper. After that, sand the surface of the fence to get an even finish. If you are still unsure what to do, check our article on how to remove fence paint easily.

Step 7: Protect Handles and Hinges

To cover the parts of the fence that you don’t want to paint, we recommend using high-quality masking tape. For example, you may not want to paint your fence posts, hinges, and handles as their materials may not be compatible with the paint you are using.

Step 8: Prime the Wooden Surface

The best fence paint often includes some primer that prepares the wood for the paint for long-lasting results. By applying primer, your paint job is likely to last for longer and looks smoother and better, too.

Application Methods:

Here are some ways to prime the wooden surface. All of them are effective. It is just a matter of preference and the supplies that you have available.

Option 1: Using a Brush

Firstly, check the wood’s grain direction, as you could be painting in vertical strokes or horizontal strokes. The important part is to apply the primer in continuous movements, following the grain direction of your garden fence.

Apply the primer to each panel or section, one at a time, before moving on to the next bit. In this way, you achieve an even and non-hurried coating.

Option 2: Using a Foam Roller

If you prefer using a foam paint roller, you have to pour the primer into a large container before starting the application process.

After that, dip the foam slightly into the priming solution until it soaks into the foam. Next, give the foam a few rolls on the side of the container to attain an even coating on the roll and then, starting from the top, prime the wooden panels.

While a roller is great for quick jobs, some rollers may not be as accurate and precise as paintbrushes. If your fences have many corners and finer details, you may prefer using a paintbrush over a foam roller.

Step 9: Give It Time to Dry

Let the primer dry off before proceeding to the next step. Read the manufacturer’s guide for more precise timings, but always double-check whether the primer is dry completely before applying any paint.

Step 10: Apply the Paint

Read the instructions listed on the can to get more insight into the paint’s components and the best application method.

The exterior paint should have components that can withstand harsh conditions. Once you find the most suitable paint for your fence, choose your preferred application method and start painting.

If you choose the paintbrush option, you have to submerge the brush bristles in the paint and apply the paint to the timber panels, following the wood’s grain direction. Follow the same technique that you used while applying the primer solution to the wooden panel.

If you opt for the foam roller, put the paint in a large pan, then dip the foam in the pan and apply the exterior paint on the timber panels in a sequential manner.

Roll the roller in the same direction as the grain while making contact with the wide face of the panel. If the roller is not effective in applying paint on tight spots, you may have to switch to using a brush.

While some paints can cover a surface with a single coat, other paints may need several applications for complete coverage.

A Fresh Coat for a Fresh Start

While painting might seem like a tedious and time-consuming task, it is an easy procedure which helps you maintain your fence and even increase your home’s curbside appeal. However, remember that you should make sure that you’ve prepared the lawn and the surrounding areas to get the best results possible before you start painting.

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