How To Prepare And Use Wood Fence Paint

homeowner applying brown wood fence paint in backyard with blue sky

If you have a wood fence in your yard, you may be wondering how you can help it last the longest. Wood fences last over 20 years if properly cared for. Maybe you are considering repainting a painted fence to keep it looking its best.  In any case, you need wood fence paint, and you’re curious about the options.  In this article we will cover some of the most common ways to apply wood fence paint, and a few things to look out for in the process.

How To Prepare To Paint A Wood Fence

First, If you have a painted fence, you will need to do some preparation work before repainting.  To prepare a painted fence for the next coat, you’ll want to clean the fence surface with a pressure washer.  Once you have the surface clean, you can inspect for loose paint which may be flaking.  Any loose paint should be scraped and removed prior to repainting.  This is also a time to inspect for rotting wood and any carpentry repairs you may need to make prior to the repaint.

What Is The Best Wood Fence Paint Type?

When painting, you want to use an acrylic latex paint in general.  This allows the paint to remain breathable and flexible which is important in the moisture rich exterior climate.  Also, as the heat of the sun expanding and contracting the fence panels over time takes place, the latex will expand with it.  

Follow the paint manufacturer’s instructions for application and you’ll be in good shape.  One tip to keep in mind when buying paint, is to take a chip of the paint from your fence to the store.  A good paint department or specialty store will be able to color match from a physical paint chip.  

Wood Fence Pant vs. Fence Stain

If you have a natural wood fence and you’re considering painting it, you may want to consider stain instead.  Colored fence stains look very much like paint, but have a much less frustrating preparation when it comes to repainting.  Though stain will need to be reapplied more often than paint to be looking its best, there is no scraping or flaking.  Stain will also retain some of the natural wood grains if you prefer that look.

paint brush applying gray wood fence paint to backyard close up

Whether you are painting or staining a natural wood fence the preparation is very similar.  You need to pressure wash the surface and clean any mildew, dirt or debris prior to application.  You can rent a pressure washer for this or buy one.  We prefer electric pressure washers since you don’t have to listen to the drone of the motor in between spraying.  They are incredibly inexpensive now, and will be the same cost new as a few days of rental would be.

Before you apply any paint or stain, you must wait for the fence to dry.  This can be hours in some climates, but may mean days in others.  I know it’s frustrating, but if you want your wood fence paint to adhere and look its best, you need to be patient.  

How To Use Wood Fence Paint

As far as application methods, you can use a sprayer.  We only recommend sprayers for paint, not stain, and only if you’re experienced.  It’s far too easy to apply too much paint with a sprayer, create runny spots and drips.  This can cause premature failure in the future requiring a lot of scraping at the repaint process.  

It takes longer, but a paint brush really is the best way to apply fence paint.  On additional way to paint your fence is using a paint roller. This is only useful if your fence is perfectly flush.

Wood Fence Paint Summary

Wood fence paint or stain is one of those maintenance items you will be thankful you completed.  It can be a hassle to go through the effort to complete it, but you will find it’s a gratifying project.  Fences are a large percentage of the visual area in any backyard, and when looking their best make your backyard pop.