how to4 min read

How to paint a fence

WordsMaha Elley


An easy way to transform your outdoor space and brighten up your garden is by giving your fence a fresh ‘lick’ of paint. This is a paint job that’s incredibly easy even for DIY newbies, as it doesn’t take a huge amount of time and skill. If you’re working with a small space, you can even use your choice of exterior paint colour to make your garden look bigger. Opt for lighter colours if you want to open up a space.

Learn how best to prep and paint your fence by following our easy step-by-step guide.

Tools you’ll need to paint a fence

First, the tools you’ll need: 

Choosing the right exterior wood paint 

News flash: we’ve just launched a range of exterior paint that works wonderfully on fences. Our exterior paint range includes 13 colours of high-coverage paints designed to be used on all kinds of outside surfaces. 

Oh, and you don’t need to worry about messing around with primer or varnish. With all the pigment-rich vibrancy of our indoor paints, our exterior paint has the extra durability needed to withstand the elements and has a lifespan of up to 10 years once applied.

When is the best time to paint a fence? 

Other than the prep step, when you paint your fence is one of the most important factors that’ll decide how long your paint job lasts and how flawless the finish is. Here’s when we’d recommend:

  • Try and paint your fence in the summer months when it’s more likely to be dry. This will allow the paint to set better.
  • Schedule your fence painting for a day where the temperature outside is above 10 degrees and there isn’t any rain forecast before the paint has had time to dry. This helps you avoid bubbling, blistering and the paint running back off the surface with the rain. 
  • Start painting earlier in the day to prevent your paint job from getting damp once the temperature drops in the evening.

How to prep a fence before painting 

Put the prep work in and you’ll find that your freshly painted fence will last you a lot longer. Here’s how to prep your fence before painting:

  • Remove any loose or flaking bits and sand down for a smooth and even surface,
  • If the wood is new or well-weathered, apply a diluted first coat (70% paint and 30% water). This is the most important step for long-lasting results. 
  • Some woods will stain and bleed through light colours, including plywood, red cedar and other resinous woods. Apply a stain block to these before painting.

How to paint a fence 

  • If the wood on your fence is new and treated, we advise exposing it to the elements for at least 6 months before painting. The treatment needs to weather before you apply any paint. 
  • Non treated wood can be painted straight away (with a diluted coat first). 
  • Starting at the top and working your way down, use a paint brush or roller to paint the fence panels with your chosen colour. If the wood panes are horizontal, use horizontal strokes, or vertical strokes for vertical panes of wood. 
  • Follow the direction of the timber grain for a smoother finish, as this allows you to cover all surface areas more easily. 
  • Leave your first coat to dry for a few hours before applying a second coat. We’d recommend a second coat for added durability and longevity. 
  • Leave to dry. Ideally, the paint would need 16 hours to completely dry without any exposure to rain or frost. If possible, leave it to dry overnight. 
  • Wake up to a better looking garden!

Interested in learning more about exterior paint? Read more about Lick's exterior paint here and discover the best masonry and exterior paint colours.