How to paint a fence

Smarten up your plot and shield your garden fences with a protective coat of paint

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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Painting garden fences: equipment checklist

– Stiff brush
– General purpose cleaner
– Bucket
– Wood filler
– Sandpaper
– Dust sheets
– Masking tape
– Woodcare paint
– Paint kettle
– 3in paintbrush

Step 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.

Step 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).

Step 3: Protect the surrounding area

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.

Step 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.

Step 5: Get painting

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.

Use the right kit

Sadolin woodfiller garden fences how to paint a garden fence

Sadolin Stainable Wood Filler, £12.99 for 250ml, Homebase

B&Q brush garden fences how to paint a fence

Harris Victory hand brush, 50p, B&Q

Cuprinol garden shades Seagrass garden fences how to paint a fence

Cuprinol Garden Shades, £20 for 2.5ltr, Wilko

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

This article originally appeared in Style at Home, July 2017.

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