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

What kind of paint do you use on a fence?

It’s important to use the best exterior paint for fences to ensure your paint job lasts. Our exterior paint range includes 13 colours of high-coverage paints designed to be used on all kinds of outside surfaces, from masonry to wooden fences. 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.

Tools you’ll need to paint a fence

First, the tools you’ll need: 

When should I paint my 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:

  • Schedule your fence painting for a day when 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.

Can you paint a fence in winter?

You can, but try to paint your fence in the summer months when it’s more likely to be dry. This will allow the paint to set better.

How do you clean a wooden fence before painting?

You can manually remove things like cobwebs, but we’d recommend using a power hose or pressure washer to remove stubborn dirt and debris from the fence surface.

How do you prepare a fence for 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:

  • Once you’ve cleaned your fence, it’s time to prep it for painting. Remove any loose or flaking bits and sand down for a smooth and even surface
  • Protect your flooring or outdoor furniture from any splatters by covering them with a dust sheet and decorators canvas
  • If the wood 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.  
  • If the wood is new but non-treated or well-weathered, it can be painted straight away (well, with a diluted coat first). Apply a diluted first coat of 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.

What is the best way to paint a fence?

  • 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!

Fence painted in Green 09 Exterior paint


What is the best colour to paint a fence?

If you’re working with a small space, opt for lighter colours to open it up and make it look bigger. For more colour ideas, check out the best masonry and exterior paint colours.

So there you have it - everything you need to know about painting your fence. This means it’s time to get painting! Wondering which other garden surfaces require exterior paint? Check out when you need to use exterior paint