What You Need to Know About Painting a Fence

What You Need to Know About Painting a Fence

WORDS Stephanie Durrant PHOTO Futurecontenthub.com/Magazinefeatures.co.za

Because a protective coat of paint will smarten up your garden and protect your fences, giving them a new lease on life.

Painting the garden fence can be the instant makeover your garden is crying out for – and it doesn’t cost the earth. Unsure how to paint a fence? Don’t worry, we have all the know-how you need to tackle this satisfying job. Set aside a day to get the task done – although another pair of hands will make it go quicker!

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

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. Replace any rotten sections, and repair small areas of damage with exterior wood filler (sand flush with the wood when dry).

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

DO A PATCH TEST. Give the paint or stain a good stir before you start. Do a patch test in an inconspicuous place to check that you’re happy with the colour before painting the entire fence – just as you would during interior decorating. It’s important to see what the colour will look like once it’s dried.

GET PAINTING. Apply brush strokes in the direction of the grain. 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 paint into the wood. Leave to dry completely before doing another coat. Two thin coats will give a much better result than one thick coat.

Expert Tips

  • Contrast a pastel-coloured fence with dark garden furniture.
  • Vibrant colours are ideal for making small spaces feel bigger and brighter, while on-trend dark feature shades are great for larger gardens. Read more about the fundamentals of understanding colour, here.

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