Patio, Decking & Fencing

How To Paint A Fence

Whether you’re planning on renewing your garden fence with a new paint colour or just want to freshen up its weather-worn surface, learning how to paint a fence is a great way to give your outdoor space a new lease of life. A new coat of suitable exterior wood paint will also help to protect your fence against the elements – meaning it will stay looking newer, for longer.  

With our fence painting tips, you can learn how to paint a fence like a pro. Let’s get started.


Prior to painting your fence

Check the weather forecast, as British weather can be unpredictable. Rule number one of painting a fence is to do so when it’s dry and warm outside. This is because you need the fence wood to be dry, but not cold, as low temperatures can cause the paint to not stick properly. 

Here’s what you’ll need:



Before you start

As this project involves the use of hand tools, we recommend you read our DIY Safety Tips. Wear protective goggles and old clothing when painting, and appropriate gloves and a dust mask when sanding. If you require a step ladder, wear suitable shoes and place the ladder on a level surface. If any fence paint comes into contact with your skin or eyes, rinse immediately. 

Prep the area

First, trim or tie back any nearby plants to give yourself enough space to work. Cover surrounding vegetation and grass with plastic sheeting to protect them from toxic paint splatters.

Top tip: Check that your plants can handle the weight of whatever sheet you use.


Repair, wash and sand

Before painting your garden fence, inspect it for any small cracks or loose panels. Remove any decorations or hanging baskets and give the fence a wipe down.

Use a power hose it to remove any dirt or debris from the fence surface. Then, sand it down to smooth out any wood splints. If there are still spots of mould or debris, use a scrubbing brush.

Top tip: Wear a dust mask and goggles for this step.

Time to prime

To achieve a better result and increase its lifespan, apply a layer of wood primer to your garden fence before you paint it. Follow the wood primer’s instructions and ensure it’s completely dry before moving onto the next step.  


Let’s get painting

Choose a fence paint that has a tough and durable formula, specifically designed for exterior use. There is no ‘one tool fits all’ when it comes to painting a fence. You can use an exterior paint brush, roller or sprayer – or a combination of all three.  

If you’re using a large brush, ensure to paint following the direction of the timber grain to give it a smoother, more professional looking finish. Start from the top and work your way down so that you can catch any drips.  

If you do decide to use a sprayer, check that the paint you’ve chosen is compatible.  

Avoiding using a sprayer on a windy day, as this could blow paint into other areas of your garden. Even if you opt for a sprayer, keep a small brush handy for any touch-up work. 

Top tip: Before you start painting, apply a small amount of paint to an area of your fence that isn’t too obvious. Wait for it to dry and check you’re happy with the colour. 

Tidy and clean up 

Most good quality fence paints only require one coat. However, if you feel you need a second, wait until the first is completely dry. Once finished, remove all plastic coverings from your plants and vegetation, and any temporary plant ties or canes used. 

Clean your brushes in warm, soapy water to preserve them for future use. You may need to use white spirit, as exterior wood paint is usually oil-based.  

Carefully label and securely seal your fence paint and primer before storing them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, and off the floor to avoid rusting.


And there you have it – that’s how to paint a fence. If you enjoyed our fence painting tips, be sure to share your new garden masterpiece with us on Instagram, @Homebase_uk. If you need a little colour inspiration, check out our ‘Fence Paint Colours to Make Your Garden Look Bigger’ guide.





Writer and expert