How to paint your wooden fence to perfection

Paint and stain fence to keep fence in good condition

Everyone who wants to keep their wooden garden fence, stockade, barn, shed, and picket fence in perfect condition during every type of weather that the US throws at it, should use the best fence paint possible. The right fence paint protects the wooden types of construction from UV rays, temperature variation, moisture, ice and snow that leads to rotting wood, mould or cracks. Fence paint also keeps a nice (natural or popping) color on the fence. After all, the perfect fence paint, stain or oil lets you enjoy your garden and surroundings of your home without worrying that the fence painting must be redone every few months because it is blistering, peeling and cracking.

In this guide about fence paint and how to paint a wooden fence the best way, we let you know all the things you need to know in order to let you enjoy a durable wooden fence at home. Painting fences is after all a fun job that transforms the whole garden.


Buy fence paint, fence stain, fence oil

You can dive right into the buying options for the wood coatings you want to paint a fence with. Feel free to browse through the products. Below the products you discover more about oil, stain and paint for a fence.

Buying Tip: Don’t focus on a low price too much, as you don’t want to repeat painting when a low-quality paint wases off and fades.

KILZ Siding, Fence & Barn Paint White 1 Gallon
KILZ Siding, Fence & Barn Paint
  • White
  • 1 Gallon
Wood Defender Fence Stain Coffee Brown semi-transparent 5 Gallons
Wood Defender Fence
Stain
  • Coffee Brown semi‑tr.
  • 5 Gallons
Olympic Elite Woodland Oil Stain Mahogany Blaze 3 Gallons
Olympic Elite Woodland Oil Stain
  • Mahogany Blaze
  • 3 Gallons
Valspar Barn and Fence Paint White 5 Gallon
Valspar Latex Barn and Fence Paint
  • White
  • 5 Gallons
KILZ Waterproofing Wood Stain Semi-Transparent Redwood 1 Gallon
KILZ Waterproofing Wood Stain
  • Redwood semi‑tr.
  • 1 Gallon

Opting for wood stain, wood oil, wood paint

First, you need to decide what you want to achieve by coating your fence, barn, shed, stockade or paslisade: Does functional weather protection, no matter the color come first, or does coulor and appearance key for you, and what would that appearance look like? You can choose between wood stain, wood oil, and wood paint to paint a fence. They give either an opaque finish, a translucent finish, or a transparent finish.

Wood Paint

Paint for wood fencing gives a solid color and an opaque finish. The level of protection against sunlight, rain, snow, ice is high. Also if the paint is enrriched with mildewcide, it protects the wood as well as the painted finish against growth of mould and mildew. With paint you can choose from a large color palette, so it is the best option to make your garden pop. Fence paint is considered to be durable for several years (5 years is realistic, some promise 10). If the painted fence needs redoing, you will need to sand the existing layer away befor repainting.

Wood Stain

Stains for wood offer tinting the wood to beautifully emphasize the natural wood grain. Therefore, depending on how solid you mix the stain finish, wood stain for exterior wood hides imperfections and offers UV-protection, but does not compare to the complete protection capabilities of wood paint. Wood stain is considered environmentally friendly as it comes as a pigment powder to be mixed with water. Some are read-to-use stains that are either waterborne or based on organic solvents. If you like a natural look where the wood itselfs remains visible, stain might be the best option for you. For best weather protection, you shoul seal the stained fence with a compatible exterior wood sealer. There are also 2-in-1 stain-sealers for convenient use.

Wood Oil

Exterior wood oil is designed to penetrate the pores of the wood and act as a wood maintenance preservative. Depending on the exterior wood oil you choose, there are options that include mildew prohibitors and UV-stabilizers. Usually, wood oil can be applied over wood stain, but also enriches the wood by itself.


Painting the fence

A nicely painted wooden fence is a result of preparation, the best tools, and your personal motivation. Let’s find out about painting the fence with a paint sprayer and painting the fence with a brush:

  • Fences can be painted using a brush or an airless sprayer. A paint sprayer lends tself if you have a large surface area to cover. For an even result of the paint you still want to finish of with a flat large brush though. If you go for paint spray make sure the paint can be used for spraying, as it needs to be thinned; the paint tin or TDS of the product will give you the answer.
  • With a brush, you paint your fence the traditional and probably easiest way. Don’t save on the brush either, buy a good-quality brush with nylon bristle.
Paint fence

Holes in the fence should be filled before painting your fence.

Painting fence with paint sprayer: Tools you need to paint the fence

  • Fence Paint or Outdoor Wood Oil
  • Paint Sprayer or brush with nylon bristle, ca. 10 cm broad
  • Wire Brush/ stiff bristle brush
  • Dust Sheet
  • Masking Tape
  • Dust Face Mask
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Respirator

Important tip: Check the weather forecast before you start. You don’t need any showers or freezing temperatures while painting and during curing time. Do not apply paint in wet conditions.

Preparation is key to a long-lasting result

Before you start painting the fence, always remove debris first:

  • Wear the face mask protecting against dust, and take the wire brush to manually clean off mud, moss, dirt, debris, fungal growth, and dust.
  • If your fence indeed is mouldy, consider applying a fungicidal wash to kill mould and algae first.
  • Lay a dust sheet underneath the area you will work on to avoid paint splashing on the ground hitting plants and stuff.
  • Mask off any areas that you don’t want painted, like fence posts. Use a strong masking tape and some newspaper.

Painting the fence with brush

Grab your big (approximately 10 cm), flat paint brush, and:

  1. Start painting the top edge, then paint on any verticals and edges before moving on to the horizontal panels, one panel at a time.
  2. Leave the paint to dry for the time indicated in the paint’s instructions.
  3. Apply a second layer of paint in the same manner.
  4. Remove all the masking material and sheeting.
  5. Leave the second coat to dry.

Paint the fence with a paint sprayer

  1. Wear the respirator.
  2. Thin the sprayable paint down according to the paint manufacturer’s recommendations, if necessary.
  3. Pour the fence paint in the tank of the paint sprayer and stir well.
  4. Start spraying standing 30 cm back from the fence.
  5. Same applies as with painting with a brush: Start painting the top edge, then paint on any verticals and edges before moving on to the horizontal panels, one panel at a time.
  6. Leave the paint to dry for the time indicated in the paint’s instructions.
  7. Apply a second layer of paint in the same manner.
  8. Remove all the masking material and sheeting.
  9. Leave the second coat to dry.Leave the paint to dry for the time indicated in the paint’s instructions.
  10. Apply a second layer of paint in the same manner.
  11. Remove all the masking material and sheeting.
  12. Leave the second coat to dry.
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