How to Paint a Picket Fence

Updated February 21, 2017

The traditional look of a picket fence has many benefits. A picket fence determines a yard's perimeter, keeps pets enclosed and adds kerbside appeal. When constructing a new fence, or repainting an old fence there are several tips to keep in mind.

Scrape off any peeling paint and debris if repainting an old fence. Power washing the fence will remove additional dirt and give a smooth, clean surface for paint to adhere to. Cover plants and bushes with plastic or buckets.

Coat the entire fence with water repellent preservative. Make sure to include sides, ends and underneath areas of the fence railings and posts. Allow to several days to dry.

Prime the fence. The paint can be sprayed or rolled on. Use a brush to get to hard to reach crevices. Again, coat all sections of the fence. Allow to dry. Approximately 400 square feet can be covered with one gallon of paint.

Apply two coats of latex house paint. Wait four hours minimum between coats. Again, the paint can be sprayed or rolled on. The paint should be exterior grade.

Consider painting the pickets of a new fenced before installation. The pickets can be spray painted, and allow easier access to all sides.

Repaint fencing as necessary. Continually update of the fence to ensure wood posts are sealed and protected from weather.


Vinyl fencing is an alternative option to wood when building a fence.


Always wear a mask when spraying paint.

Things You'll Need

  • Fence posts and pickets
  • Primer
  • Latex paint
  • Paint sprayer or rollers
  • Brushes
  • Plastic
  • Buckets
  • Masks
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About the Author

Julie Hampton has worked as a professional freelance writer since 1999 for various newspapers and websites including "The Florida Sun" and "Pensacola News Journal." She served in the U.S. Army as a combat medic and nurse for over six years and recently worked as the Community Relations Director for a health center. Hampton studied journalism and communications at the University of West Florida.