A good layer of paint will not only improve your fence’s aesthetics but can also prevent premature wood rot and protect it from the elements like sun, rain, wind and even insects.
In this guide, we’ll answer questions like:
- How do you prepare a wooden fence for painting?
- Do you need to prime a wood fence before painting?
- What tools and supplies will be required?
- How long will it take to paint a fence?
Painting Supplies and Tools
Before you begin giving your fence a facelift, you will need the following tools and supplies to do the job:
- Exterior wood paint
- Wood primer
- Sanding paper
- Bed sheets
- Plastic sheets
- Dry brush
- Warm water
- 2” or 5” brush
- Paint rollers
- Ladder – only if you have a tall fence
What Type of Paint Do You Need?
In the preparation process and while you learn how to paint a wooden fence, you’ll come across several types of paint. It is important to know which of the following paints will best suit your needs:
- Acrylic Paint: This type of paint is chemical based and more elastic. It expands better upon contact with wood. It also offers better protection from the sun.
- Latex Paint: Latex paint is more affordable than acrylic and easier to apply. It’s also easier to clean.
- Oil-Based Paints: Oil-based paints spread smoothly over a surface, allowing you to cover a larger area more thoroughly with just one coat. It shrinks less and tends to hold up well in high-traffic areas. However, it takes much longer to dry than other paint types.
- Primer: A primer is an undercoat paint that is a must. You need to apply this on your fence surface before any other paint. It creates a bonding layer on the wooden surface and seals it. Primers allow other paints to stick better onto the wood, and it also protects the fence from moisture and mildew.
Choosing the type of paint you are going to use is based on several factors like your budget, how much time you can spend working on your fence and the local weather conditions in your area.
How Much Paint Should You Use?
Next, you must determine how much paint you will need to purchase. Each brand of paint will have different coverages. It is best to check the label to see how large an area a can of paint can cover. On average, expect to paint up to 150 to 250 square feet for every gallon of paint you purchase. However, some brands and paint types will allow you to cover larger areas.
Compute the total square footage you need to cover with paint. Don’t forget that you must paint both sides of the fence and add that to your computation.
Prepare Your Surroundings
Before you paint your fence, you should protect the other surfaces around it that you don’t want the paint to get on. This can include your patio floor, plants, furniture, nearby trees and other items close to your fence.
You may have to trim some shrubs that have grown over your fence. Then, remove any fixtures nearby or cover them with plastic or old bed sheets. You can also mask off the ground to protect it from dripping paint.
How Do You Prepare A Wooden Fence For Painting?
Before you learn how to paint a wooden fence, you should first prepare it for painting. Doing so will help ensure that the paint sticks well onto the wood, making the coat last a long time.
Clean and Repair
The first step in preparing your wooden fence is to clean it and do some repairs if needed. You should go over your fence and look for signs of damage. Check if you need to replace any backer rails, posts and pickets. Make sure to remove any old nails or screws. In addition, you can seal any holes before painting.
Next, you can manually clean any cobwebs, dirt, mildew, mud and other debris from the fence’s surface. Alternatively, you can use a power washer to get things done faster. However, make sure to use the recommended settings when using a power washer, or you may damage the fence. Also, allow the fence to dry completely after washing it.
The old paint has already started flaking when you decide you are going to paint your fence, so you will need to use sanding paper to smoothen the surface. Even if the paint is not chipping, you need to sand the surface as a part of the preparation process to allow the paint to adhere better to the wooden surface. In addition, sanding creates a more even finish when you apply paint.
If you’re painting a new fence, you won’t need to sand it. The new wood installed on your fence will usually be pre-treated. All you need to do is ensure the wood is clean and dry.
Do You Need To Prime A Wood Fence Before Painting?
As explained earlier, you will need to prime a wood fence before you start painting, as priming will help seal the wood by adding a protective layer. A latex or acrylic primer will work well for most types of wood. However, if you use a type of redwood for your fence, such as cedar, it is best to use an oil-based primer instead.
How To Paint A Wooden Fence
Now that your surroundings have been prepared and your fence is clean and dry, the next step is to apply a primer layer to your fence. Ensure all panels are covered and leave them to dry for a minimum of 16 hours.
Next, you can choose your preferred tool for painting your fence. Your options include a sprayer, brush or roller. Make sure you know how to use sprayers, or you might waste paint and have a patchy or bubbled finish.
When using a brush or roller, use strokes along the direction of the wood grain. Make sure to apply even coats on all panels, beginning at the top and working your way down.
Allow the paint to dry for around 4 to 12 hours. After that, apply a second coat. Finally, don’t forget to clean all your tools with soap and water if it is acrylic or latex paint that you used or mineral spirit if you used an oil-based paint.
Should I DIY the Paint Job or Hire A Fence Painting Company?
If you don’t have the time or experience painting a wooden fence, it is best to leave it to the experts from Nortex Fence & Patio. We have over two decades of experience helping homeowners repair, prepare and repaint their fences to perfection. Call 972-382-7800 today or fill out this contact form to get a free estimate.