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How to paint a wooden fence

Painting a fence is a great way to bring life back to your yard and freshen up your property for years to come. It’s also one of the easier DIY jobs you can take on, maximising your satisfaction for a very achievable amount of work – even if you’re a total DIY novice. 

Park Road Timber & Hardware have put together a handy guide step-by-step instructions on how to paint a fence.

Which tools will you need?

Before you start any job, it’s important to have the right tools to set yourself up for success. We recommend:

  • a paint roller or large paintbrush
  • a large tarp
  • power washer or fence cleaner (optionally)
  • a wire brush for scouring
  • Enough paint to cover the job

When it comes to the fence paint itself, you’ll need to make sure it’s durable enough to survive being out in the elements for years to come. The two main options will be either an oil-based paint or a water-based paint, with oil-paints being the more durable option but taking much longer to dry (hours to even days).

If you live somewhere that the weather won’t allow this, a water-based paint might be best as they tend to fare better in climates with fluctuating temperatures due to their ability to expand and contract with the wood.

When is the best time to paint your fence?

The weather can have a huge impact on the quality and longevity of your paint job. For the best results, you want a day that is dry and clear – making spring and summer the best time of the year to attempt it.

If the day is too warm, then you run the risk of the paint drying too quickly, which doesn’t allow for it to soak into the wood properly and won’t last nearly as long. Ideally you’ll want to wait until your fence is in the shade (if possible) before you start painting, so that the wood isn’t already too warm before you begin.

Steps to painting your fence.

Now that you’re properly prepared with the right paint, painting equipment and time of day/year – you can get to painting! Here are the steps you’ll need to take as you bring life back into your fence.

Prepare the surroundings.

Preparation is key for any good paint job, and outdoor fences have a few extra considerations to take on board. It’s a smart idea to inspect your fence for any noticeable damage or issues that may get in the way when you’re painting or sanding. This can be the obvious stuff (like the missing slat you’ve needed to fix for years now), or it could be the occasional nail that has worked its way out of the wood over time.

Hammer that nail back in place, and replace the slat – start the job off right!

Cleaning a fence before painting is also advisable, preferably with some sort of high pressure water cleaner and a brush to get the tough grime off before the paint goes on. 

You’ll also want to make sure that any flowers or plants that are growing alongside the fence are sufficiently protected from any of the paint that’s about to be applied, either by pegging them back (which will be fine for a short period of time) or by temporarily covering them with a tarp.

If your fence has previously been painted, you may need to sand it back to remove any traces of the old paint layer and make sure that your fresh coat goes on evenly. Newer fences often arrive pre-treated and won’t require this step.

Time to paint.

The first step when it comes to actually beginning to paint the fence is to apply a primer layer. Some see this step as optional, but it will protect your fence against mould and provide a better surface for your paint to stick to.

Once this layer is completely dry, you can apply your first coat of paint. The best way to paint a fence is to start at the top and work your way down to avoid any drips, and always brush in the direction of your panels (horizontal for horizontal panels, and vertically for vertical panels). Don’t be afraid to use a lot of paint, but always aim for an even finish. Allow this layer to dry completely and then check to see if it needs another coat.

Your paint supply experts

If you have any questions about how to apply paint to your wooden fence, the expert team at Park Road Timber & Hardware is here to help with all the advice and equipment you’ll need to get the job done right.

Get in touch on (03) 03 9909 5397, fill out our online contact form or visit us in-store today!

Your Local Hardware Store

At Park Road Timber & Hardware has the tools, equipment and specialist advice needed to help you get the job done.

Whether you’re about to start a large scale DIY project, need tools for a small job or anything in between, we are here to help. As the one-stop shop for all your DIY needs, Park Road Timber & Hardware have got you covered.

Give us a call today on 03 9909 5397 or send us a message via our online contact form, to begin your DIY journey today.