How To Paint and Treat Your Fence

When the summer rolls around, it’s the perfect time to set to work on your fence.

If you take your time with any painting or treatment, it can actually be rather therapeutic.

Fences act as great dividers in the garden. Not only do they serve as effective barriers between properties, they can also be used to great effect to partition off sections of the garden.

Outdoor timber can take a real battering from the elements. Rain and wind give your fence a hard life. With the proper preparation and treatment, you can extend the lifespan of your fence without undue effort.

Does The Fence Belong To You?

paint the fencce

Before you get busy with your paintbrush, check out that the fence is actually your responsibility.

Laws vary from country to country.

It pays to closely study the deeds and ownership of any boundary fences should be clearly marked.

How about if your neighbor owns the fence but fails to conduct proper maintenance? Try asking them to give you permission to paint or stain your side. Remember, if you don’t own the fence you could be asking for trouble by simply taking action without asking first.

Treating Your Fence: Preparation

Cover any plants with plastic sheeting. You might need to cut back any intruding foliage to make your life easier.

Use plant ties or canes to pin back any plants that are hanging over the fence panels.

Get rid of any old nails or screws in the wood first.

Sand down any rough patches and splinters. Get things as smooth as you can. This will make the treatment take better.

With an old fence, you’ll need to strip any previous treatments or paint back to the bare wood before applying a new treatment.

Clean the fence thoroughly. You can use a pressure washer or clean it by hand with a good solid brush.

You might need to use some fungicide to see off any fungi, lichen or moss. Use a fence cleaner to scour away any mold. It’s crucial that you let the fence dry out completely before you start any treatment or painting.

Apply wood preservative on any bare wood. This will stave off future rot or decay and make sure your fence lasts the test of time.

Pull any garden furniture out of the way then you’re good to go.

When To Paint or Treat Your Fence

It’s ideal to work on your fence when it’s dry but not excessively hot.

If you choose to work in the direct sunlight then the wood treatment or paint can dry too quickly.

Avoid working in the rain completely.

What Treatment Works Well?

When it comes to painting and treating your fence, you will come across many different products vying for your attention.

Look for high quality stain that will protect your timber rather than just applying a lick of color.

What Color Paint Should You Use?

This really comes down to personal preference.

Some people want their fence to look as natural as possible and to blend in. Others like to pick off certain colors like that of the decking or garden shed to use for the fence.

Think about what look you would like best and take your time to test out any colors you fancy before committing yourself.

To Spray or Not To Spray?

Small paint sprayers can be an extremely quick and efficient way of painting outdoors but is it right for you?

You need to think about the issue of overspray. With many paint sprayers, the transfer rate sees as little as 30% of the paint making its way onto the intended surface.

Think about an airless sprayer if you want to go down this route.

Overall, it’s probably a smart move to stick to a soft brush. You can get accurate results without needing to devote too long to painting.

If you have a particularly large expanse of fence to deal with, it might pay to invest in a sprayer. Check that the paint is designed for use with the sprayer and, for obvious reasons, don’t get to work if it’s windy.

How To Paint Your Fence

How to paint your fence

Before you launch in, test a small area of the fence first to make sure that the treatment is the correct color and that it sticks to the wood nicely.

Start with the top edge of your fence and paint all the vertical panels first.

Come across from left to right and paint each panel from top to bottom.

Be sure to focus on one panel properly and to do one side then the other.

After the stain has dried – normally about 12 hours – you can go ahead and apply a second coat for optimum results.

Remember, it’s false economy to use an old or worn brush. You’ll end up with the bristles falling out and a patchy, uneven coverage.

Keep your paintbrush clean as you work and always clean it thoroughly afterward. Use a thinner for best effect.

If you encounter any stray plants, try wedging them back as you paint with some cardboard. This should keep them temporarily out of the way.


We hope you have found this glance at painting and treating your fence useful and informative.

Taking your time is key to getting a nice neat finish so get the best brush or paint sprayer for the job and get painting!

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