How to Remove Spray Paint From Wood Fence

Written by ehow home & garden editor
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Whether you have inherited a fence that has been covered with spray paint, or you accidentally sprayed your wood fence while involved in another project, there are a number of ways to remove it. Untreated wood will weather, so you'll want to decide first if you need to bring the wood to its natural surface. Think about the end result you want before tackling the job.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Sand the wood to bring it down to its natural state. If the spray paint is spotty, you will probably have to sand the entire fence so that it will be even. Wood left untreated will weather and you'll see there you sanded if you don't do the whole thing.

  2. 2

    Use a palm sander or orbital sander if you have a large area to sand. The fence should be stable enough for you to apply pressure and thick enough to withstand the loss of a layer of the wood to the sanding. You also may have to change the paper on the sander more often as the spray paint will clog the rough paper. Use sheets of sandpaper to get paint off inside of posts.

  3. 3

    Paint over the entire wood fence if it is older and you don't require a natural wood look. This method is the easiest and most efficient way to remove the awkward spray paint. Use an outdoor weather primer before you apply the final coat of wood house paint to the fence.

  4. 4

    Rub spray painted pictures, graffiti or over spray with denatured alcohol or lacquer thinner. Apply the chemical to a rag and rub the area that has been painted. This method is best for spot removal and for paint that has not become too embedded in the wood grain.

  5. 5

    Purchase a special eco-friendly paint remover that is applied and washed off after sitting for a while. carries a variety of solutions for paint removal from all kinds of surfaces, including wood fences.

Tips and warnings

  • Any kind of paint remover will also remove the finish from the wood.
  • Wipe off wet paint as soon as you see if on the fence to maintain the wood's finish.
  • Rinse wood after sanding and let it dry before painting or applying preservative.

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