How to paint your outdoor fence

Written by ryan lawrence
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How to paint your outdoor fence
Painting your wooden fence is one way of protecting it and extending its life. (RusN/iStock/Getty Images)

Over time, outdoor fences tend to turn grey, warp and rot thanks to exposure to extreme weather. This leads to a seemingly constant cycle of replacing sections of their outdoor fences one board at a time over a period of years. However, a single coat of paint can help preserve a fence for two to three times longer than a fence that is untreated. Before you slap a fresh coat of paint on your outdoor fence, you need to know the proper preparation techniques that will help your fence hold up over time.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Edger
  • Pressure washer
  • Metal putty knife
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Masking tape
  • Latex primer
  • 22.5 litre (5 gallon) bucket
  • 2 paint roller covers
  • Roller frame
  • Rolling poll
  • 10 cm (4 inch) latex paintbrush
  • Latex paint
  • Warm water

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  1. 1

    Wait for a warm day with little chance of rain. Remove any vines or other vegetation that could interfere with your ability to paint the outdoor fence. Use an edger to clip the grass near the outdoor fence short so it won't interfere with the application process.

  2. 2

    Use a pressure washer to wash away sawdust and dirt from the surface of the outdoor fence. Wait for the fence to dry completely before moving on.

  3. 3

    Use a metal putty knife to remove any loose or peeling paint. Use 120-grit sandpaper to remove any remaining loose paint.

  4. 4

    Use the sandpaper to smooth any splintering or rough areas on the outdoor fence. Sand with the grain and never against it to avoid damaging the surface.

  5. 5

    Cover any areas you do not want painted with masking tape.

  6. 6

    Use the metal putty knife to open the container of latex primer. Slide the paint roller cover onto the paint roller frame. Screw the paint roller frame onto the rolling poll. Pour the latex primer into the bucket. Fill it only about half its capacity.

  7. 7

    Dip the roller into the bucket of primer. Use the roller to apply latex primer to the outdoor fence. Move from left to right, being careful to smooth any runs as you proceed. Continue to apply primer until the entire outdoor fence is covered. Use the paintbrush to apply latex primer to any areas that proved inaccessible to the roller. Allow the fence to dry for two hours.

  8. 8

    Use warm water to clean the roller frame and paintbrush. Use your fingers to massage the water into the bristles of the brush. Shake the paintbrush vigorously to remove excess water from the paintbrush. Dispose of the used paint roller cover with your usual rubbish.

  9. 9

    Repeat this process, except substitute latex paint for primer. Use a new, clean paint roller cover.

Tips and warnings

  • Never attempt to paint over an unpainted outdoor fence without priming it first as this will lead to chipping and peeling.
  • Pressure washers are extremely powerful and have the potential to damage wood fences. Always begin on a low setting to avoid unintentional damage.

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