How to Paint a Fence

How to Paint a Fence, how to paint fence panels

Whether it’s a brand new garden fence or an old one that needs sprucing up ready for summer, a fresh lick of paint or wood stain can make all the difference to the appearance of your garden. As well as enhancing your garden’s aesthetic, fence paint can also play a large role in the maintenance of your timber fence, helping it withstand the elements and all the external weather conditions such as rain and UV rays and that can cause rot and fading.

Regardless of your DIY prowess, painting a fence is a fairly easy job once you know how to. To help you get the best result, here at Arnold Laver, we’ve created a step-by-step guide for learning how to paint a fence to ensure a professional finish. 

Before You Start

Check the Weather

Before you begin painting, there are a few things you need to consider. The first is the weather. It’s crucial to plan any outdoor painting job on a warm and dry day, as cold weather will hinder the drying process and rain will ruin the effects of your hard work. Check the forecast 24 hours before you start painting, and, if your fence panels have already been exposed to rain, wait for them to completely dry first.

Check the Condition of Your Fence

Before applying any stain or paint, you’ll need to check over your existing fence for any signs of mould or dirt. If necessary, use a hose and brush or pressure washer to clean down your fence and wait for this to dry thoroughly a day or so before painting.

If you’re painting over existing fence paint, you’ll also need to remove any paint flakes or chips before you can apply a fresh coat, in order to get a smooth finish.

Choose Your Tools

Another big factor when deciding how to paint a fence is to consider your tools and application method. If you have a lot of fencing to cover, a power sprayer will make the job a lot quicker and less laborious for you (just make sure you plan for a day of low winds to avoid the spray hitting your grass or other surfaces). 

However, a good old-fashioned brush will also do the job, particularly if you’re only covering smaller amounts of fencing or touching up areas that need more precision than a power sprayer can offer. We recommend one wide brush for the fence panels themselves and a smaller-headed brush for the harder to reach areas.

Tip: If you’ve bought a new fence, it’s easier to paint the panels and posts first before putting it up.

Pick Your Paint

When it comes to how to paint a fence, it’s also very important to ensure you choose the right paint or stain for the job. Before you purchase any product, first and foremost always check the tin to ensure it’s suitable for external wood use. If you’re using a sprayer, you’ll also need to check your chosen paint is compatible, as not all are.

Tip: Bare timber wood should always be primed with a high-quality wood primer before painting in order to help protect the wood, extend the life of your paint and improve its final look.

Once you’ve picked out the colour of your paint or stain, we also recommend doing a patch test on a small area of your fence and letting it dry before you start the full painting process,  as this is the safest way to ensure you’ll like the overall finish.

Once you’ve chosen your paint or stain and determined your application method, you’re ready to get started! Our step-by-step guide is as follows:

  • Cut Back Grass

The first step when it comes to painting fence panels is to mow your lawn and cut back any bits of long grass or plants that may obstruct you while you’re painting, particularly along the bottom of your fence.

  • Lay Protective Covers

Next, to prevent paint hitting your flowerbeds, grass and any garden ornaments, we recommend laying down plastic sheeting that will catch any drips. If you have concrete fence posts or any other area you wish to keep clear of paint, taping a layer of newspaper over the top works well to keep them protected.

  • Prep Your Fence

Before you move onto priming and painting, give your fence a once-over to ensure there aren’t any protruding nails or screws that will get in the way. Additionally, you’ll need to check for any large splinters and sand down any areas that need smoothing to get the most even finish you can.

  • Apply Primer

Once you’ve finished the prep, you’re ready to apply your layer of primer. While you don’t have to worry as much about a neat job here, you’ll need to apply an even coat thoroughly across your fence panels. It’s very important you wait for your fence primer to completely dry before moving onto your paint or wood stain.

  • Start From the Top

Once your primer is completely dry, you’re ready to start applying your chosen stain or paint. We recommend starting from the top and working downwards in order to catch any drips and blend them in as you go.

  • Go With the Grain

When it comes to how to paint a fence with a brush, the neatest results are achieved by brushing either vertically or horizontally in the direction of the wood grain. If you’re using a sprayer, this will be much quicker for you! However, the same technique applies; move in fluid movements in the direction of the grain to cover each section evenly.

  • Brush Tricky Areas

Whether you’re using a brush or sprayer to apply your paint, you’ll still need to use your smaller brush to reach those tricky, angular areas such as latticing or gaps between your fence posts and panelling.

  • Touch Up

Once you’ve finished painting your fence panels and posts, take a step back and examine your work to check for any missed patches or uneven coverage that need a touch-up.

  • Remove Protective Covers

If you’re happy with your coverage and you don’t need to apply any more layers, it’s safe to remove your plastic sheeting and any protective newspaper.

  • Wait to Dry

Once you’ve finished, all that’s left to do is simply leave your fence to dry completely. If you’ve followed our simple steps, you should be left with a neat and even finish that will stand the test of time in your garden.

Now you know how to paint fence panels and posts, you can feel confident when it comes to the task. Looking for new garden fencing altogether? Discover a wide variety of attractive finishes, heights and widths to suit every garden here at Arnold Laver.

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