How to Paint a Fence

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Painting a wooden fence doesn’t exactly take a brain surgeon, but there are little things along the way that you can miss or do incorrectly that could make the paint job look wrong or worse – make the paint job not last as long as you would like it to.  Because of this, we have created a little guide on painting a wooden fence along with some common mistakes you should avoid and tools you will need to complete the job.

Calculating Quantities

One of the biggest mistakes people do when painting ANY surface is that they either buy too much paint or not enough.  There are many different websites that have these calculators that help you figure out how much paint you would need, one to consider is, simply add in your measurements, indoor or outdoor paint, textures, peaks, etc. and then you would receive a calculated number at how much paint you would need.  So for instance of you are doing a wooden fence, 20 feet x 6 ft. tall, with peaks at 3inches, regular textured paint, outdoor, you would need about 0.4 Gallons / Per Coat 123 so. Ft.  Definitely good for those people that are horrible with math!

Right Type of Paint

When visiting the local paint store, you will get dizzy at the sheer amount of paint options available; different types, colors, textures and more.  But, if you are painting an outdoor fence, one of the best options to go with is an oil based or water soluble paint, these also work incredibly well for wood materials.  Stick with the brand you naturally know and love, try not to find off name brands because these tend to be cheaper for a reason – they aren’t made as well, have a lot of chemicals, or they just end up needing 3 extra coats.

Choosing the Best/Right Tools

Painting with Brushes:  Brushes is the old school way of going about this, but if you are going to use a brush, make sure that it’s specifically for wood and not another material like concrete, metal or walls.  Brushes should be used in accordance with whatever you are painting, so if you are painting big wide wood fences, use a wide brush, if you are painting smaller slimmer fence panels, use a slimmer paint brush.

Painting With a Roller: 

If you think using a brush is going to take too much time and you want this to go a little quicker, you might consider using a quality roller.  Obviously a bigger roller has more surface which will make the painting go by much quicker.  Just be sure to look out for drips and globs of paint or the fence will look like a mess after it dries.

Painting with a Sprayer

This is sort of the newfound way of going about this.  It’s quick and easy and great for longer fences or taller fences.  Make sure that if you do this option that you aim lengthwise along the grain, rather than against it.  Spray downwind, and always, no matter what type of paint it is, wear a mask and goggles for extra protection.

Surface Preparation

As with any surface, it’s important you prep it beforehand.  Since its outdoors, this means mowing the lawn so that the grass isn’t up against the fence, covering any plants, bushes and trees around the area so you don’t get paint on them – especially if you are using a sprayer!  You should also trim any bushes or trees and make sure that you use a leaf blower to remove any grass clippings, leaves and dirt away from the fence line.  Use a drop cloth as well, especially if you are near your driveway or a sidewalk and make sure that the fence is smooth, dry and clean.

Painting Applications

The paint and the amount of coats you use is really going to depend on the quality of the paint, the thickness of the paint and the brand of the paint.  When possible consider looking at manufactures instructions to see how many coats you should use.  Nonetheless, IF you are painting a dark surface with light paint, you would need more paint coats than if you were painting a light surface with dark paint.

Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you out.  If worse comes to worse and this is something you really don’t want to do, don’t have time to do or you just have no interest in being responsible for the outcome, another thing to think about is hiring a New Jersey house painter to do all of the cleanup, prep and painting for you!