Basic Tips for Painting Your Wood Fence

Jan 01, 2011

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woman painting fence

Fence painting is an important part of wood fence maintenance. It's a good thing that it only needs to be done every few years, because it's a hard task with many steps. There is a lot of preparation involved, including power washing and protecting the grass, sidewalks and anything near the fence. And then there's the often-grueling task of scraping and sanding the fence. If you have the time and patience to do the job right, then go for it! But if you worry that you may not do a good enough job at scraping or just don't have the time and energy, then look into hiring a professionalpainter.

A wood fence adds curb appeal and can increase the value of you home — that is, if you maintain it properly. Staining or painting your fence every few years is a crucial step for preventing deterioration. Here are some tips that will help guide you toward a successful fence painting job.

Fence Painting Prep

1. Mow the lawn and trim the areasaround and at the bottom of the fence.

2. Clean any dirt or debris from aroundthe fence.

3. Power wash the fence with a pressure washer or a hose with a power nozzle. (Learn how to pressure wash a fence.) Keep a scrub brush and a solution of water and soap handy. Use a mix of 1 part bleach and 1 part water to remove mildew or moldspots.

4. Scrape the old paint. If the paint you are scraping was a re-paint layer, then you should consider sanding it down.

5. Check for termite infestation or damage.

6. Tape hardware and hinges.

7. Place a tarp, drop cloth or plywood pieces around the fence area to protect the sidewalk, grass, driveway, shrubs, etc.

Additional Tips

  • Work on the fence in sections.
  • It's easier on you (and better for the paint) if you don’t work in the direct sun or during the heat of the day. Direct sun will make the paint dry too quickly and it won’t be able to provide proper protection.
  • If tall shrubs are growing close to your fence, slide a piece of plywood (around half a sheet) vertically between the fence and the shrub. You should be able to wiggle in between the plywood and the fence and lean back on the plywood, pushing the shrub away from the fence so you can get in to paint or stain behind the shrub. The board spreads your weightso no branches break, and when you slide the board out, the branches will snap right back. (source for the tip:
  • Check the weather forecast! Schedule your project when there is no rain in sight for at least 48 hours.
  • Lastly, but not least important, make sure you are in good enough shape for the job. If you have any back or shoulder problem then you may want to hire a painter to do it for you. This is particularly true if you have a big fence: You will be putting a large amount of strain on your back and shoulders.

Watch this Video on Painting a Wood Fence for additional help.

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