How to paint a fence – treat your wooden fence to keep it looking fresh

Smarten up your plot and shield your garden fences with a protective coat of paint
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  • Unsure how to paint a fence? Don’t worry, we have all the know-how you need below. Set aside a day to get the job done (although another pair of hands will make it go quicker!) and don’t forget to put on high-SPF sunscreen before you start!

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    How to paint a garden fence

    Cuprinol garden shades garden fences how to paint a fence

    Image credit: Cuprinol

    What you’ll need

    • Stiff brush
    • General purpose cleaner
    • Bucket
    • Wood filler
    • Sandpaper
    • Dust sheets
    • Masking tape
    • Woodcare paint – such as Cuprinol Garden Shades, shown above, or Sadolin Superdec, below.
    • Paint kettle
    • 3in paintbrush

    1. Choose the right day

    The wood has to be dry, so tackle the job when no rain is forecast for a few days. Avoid very hot days, though, as the sun will dry out the paint before it’s had time to penetrate the wood properly.

    2. Prepare the surface

    Use a stiff brush to remove dirt and flaky bits. Scrub away any algae with a diluted general purpose cleaner and let it dry completely. Replace any rotten sections and repair any small areas of damage with exterior wood filler (sand when dry so it’s flush with the wood).

    3. Protect the surrounding area


    Image credit: Cuprinol

    Use dust sheets to cover plants or paving that might be splashed. Trim back any foliage that’s getting in your way and gently detach and pull back any climbers. If your fence posts are concrete, cover with masking tape. Do likewise with any handles or metalwork attached to them.

    4. Do a patch test

    Give the paint a really good stir before you start. Check that you’re happy with the colour by doing a patch test in an inconspicuous place before you do the entire fence.

    5. Get painting


    Image credit: Sadolin

    Apply brush strokes in the same direction as the grain and try not to spread the paint too far. Don’t overload the brush and work the paint into the wood well.

    For end grains (such as the top of fence posts), dab the brush in a stippling motion to really get the product into the wood. Leave the paint to dry completely before going back to do another coat.

    Two thin coats will give a much better result than one thick coat.

    Another job to tackle: How to plant a hanging basket – transform your garden with this pretty outdoor accessory

    Garden fences will look amazing with a fresh coat of paint, whether you love brights or neutrals. What colour will you go for?

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