Tips for Painting a Wooden Garden Fence


You may wish to paint your fence to spruce it up for summer and stop it looking so weathered. Maybe you’ve decided you want to paint it green as opposed to the current dark brown, to give your garden some vibrancy.

Or you could simply need to touch it up, which doesn’t only keep it looking fresh but will also protect it from the weather and keep your wood in better condition.

Either way, painting your fence can be an arduous task, especially if you have quite a lot to do. Whether you have fence panels, fence boards or even just a trellis separating a section of your garden, the sheer thought of getting started can be a challenge.

Thankfully, Speedy Hire has all the tips you need to know below. We also have all of the tools and equipment you could possibly need, available to hire today. Because if you have a job to do, you want it done right, the first time.

All our hired products come with instructions and useful information, and are checked before each hire to ensure they’re safe and in full working order.


Before painting your fence

  • Check the weather forecast. You need dry, warm conditions. Too cold, and the paint won’t stick. This is a summer job ideally
  • You also need to ensure it isn’t windy if you will be using a paint sprayer
  • If your fence is a bit grubby in spots, hire a pressure washer to get it looking new again. Bear in mind this should be done a few hours before painting your fence. You don’t want to be painting wet wood, so it needs time to completely dry
  • Inspect the fence. Do any panels need replacing? Are all of the nails in good condition? If not, make the corrections before you even open your paint tin
  • If you need to replace wood on your fence, a 2nd fix nail gun will be a real timesaver when it comes to nailing it all together
  • You may also wish to sand back any sections of wood where the paint has flaked, or the wood is feeling a bit rough. Hiring an orbital sander will ensure it is smooth again, and the paint will be more likely to stick to this surface.

Always wear the correct PPE for your task. If you are making repairs, you will need safety gloves, eye protection and a dust mask. When painting, you should wear safety goggles, gloves and clothing to cover your skin, as well as a mask to prevent the inhalation of fumes.


Using a paint sprayer

A paint sprayer is how we would tackle the task. It is quick, so perfect for anyone with a lot of fences to cover. It is also great for getting right into those tiny corners and edges that a large brush simply won’t reach.

You don’t need to guess the amount of paint you need either. The shaft of the paint sprayer simply drops into the paint tin, so you don’t waste anything.

And, if you’re not yet convinced – it means no pouring of paint, and no need to clean brushes afterwards. Enough to tempt anyone.

You will need:

Check your chosen paint is suitable for use in an airless paint sprayer. This information should be available on the tin. Brands such as Cuprinol and Ronseal are usually fine. Outdoor wood paint is often oil-based.

The Aristospray QT290-110 airless sprayer works with all exterior paint and wood preservatives as well as indoor emulsions, so it is an ideal product for this use.


Step 1: Cover the surrounding area

The one downside of a paint sprayer is that it can get messy. You should lay plastic sheeting on your grass or other floor surfaces, to stop splashes and drips from spoiling anything. Remove items such as plant pots and hanging baskets out of the way, and tie back any plants which are in the ground.

You can also cover these plants with plastic sheeting to protect the leaves. Try to use lightweight sheeting here so the plants don’t get squashed! A cheap thin bin bag could work.

Also think about your fence posts. If they are concrete, and you don’t want to get any paint on them, cover them too. But if you’re going for the full refresh, wait for the fence paint to dry before painting the posts too.


Step 2: Prime

If you haven’t yet carried out the repairs to your fence or sanded any required parts, now is the time to do it. Remember to wear PPE such as goggles, a dust mask, and gloves for this.

Use a dry scrubbing brush to remove any dirt which wasn’t removed using your pressure washer, and then prime your wood. Good quality external wood primer will be available in most hardware stores.

Follow the instructions and ensure it is dry before moving on.


Step 3: Spray

Read our guide on how to use a paint sprayer before you get going. This will tell you how to set everything up, which is handy if you are new to the world of paint spraying.

Once you’re feeling confident and have set everything up, get spraying. Be careful to aim for the fence. You may wish to do a quick test spray back into the tin to get a feel for the power of the spray – you don’t want to be taken by surprise.

You can also try a test patch on an area of the fence which isn’t too visible. This way, you can also check the colour is good!


Step 4: Tidy and clean

Most top-quality branded fence paints only require one coat of paint, but there are various reasons why you may need a second. Maybe you are using a very light colour that needs to be a bit more vibrant. Or, if you’re covering a darker colour, you may still need to block this out.

If you do want to go over it again, wait for the first layer to dry before respraying. You may also spot that some tight edges or corners haven’t been covered with paint, in which case a small paintbrush will do the trick.

Once you’re happy with the colour and finish, you’re done painting! The great thing about using a paint sprayer is that there are no brushes to clean. But you do still need to clean your sprayer. Just clean through with warm water, following the instructions which come with your hired product.

Then it is just a matter of removing all your prep work. Plastic sheeting may come in handy again, so check it is dry before storing away. Check the fence is dry before removing any plant ties, too.


Using a brush

You can also use a paint brush if you’re concerned that the paint may go everywhere, or if you have fence slats rather than panels and are worried that the paint could spray through to your neighbour’s garden.

It is more time consuming, but there are some tips to remember:

  • Brush in the direction of the wood grain for a smoother finish
  • Use as large a brush as possible, which will be quicker and also give consistent results
  • Have a small brush to hand for any touch-ups, though
  • Dedicated fence or masonry brushes are best, as they’re usually a bit harder wearing and give better control with outdoor paint
  • You may need to give your fence a second coat of paint when using a brush. The first tends to soak in so you won’t get the full vibrancy
  • Start from the top and work your way down. This way, you catch the drips
  • Wash your brushes as soon as you are finished. This will stop them from drying out and becoming unusable. Try warm soapy water first, but you may need white spirit if your paint is oil-based

If you do want to use a paint sprayer but are anxious about the paint going through any gaps, inform your neighbour. Some plastic sheeting pinned to their side of the fence will stop this and will take no time at all to set up.


Ready for more DIY tips?

And there you have it. That’s how to paint your garden fence, using an airless sprayer.

If you enjoyed our blog, we hope you find the tips useful. And when you’re ready to tackle the next DIY project, we have all of the tools needed to get the job done, available to hire online, at your local depot or from selected B&Q stores. Open an account today.

Check out our skills & projects page for some inspiration. Don’t forget to share your handiwork with us @speedyhirediy too.


*Image by Mikes-Photography from Pixabay
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