Paint or Stain a Fence
Jared Sawyer - The Dalles, OR

Hardwarian Jared Sawyer

Sawyer's True Value

The Dalles, OR

Paint or Stain a Fence

Level: Beginner

A good-looking fence is a large part of your home’s curb appeal. If your fence is starting to look a little worse for wear, now is a good time to paint or stain it. Whether you have a wood or chain-link fence, a well-applied stain or paint job every few years will help your fence last longer and keep it looking great.

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  • Paint or Stain a Wood Fence

     
    • Step 1: Prepare the Ground
       

      Before you paint or stain a fence, you will want to get rid of any leaves, grass or weeds along the base of the fence by mowing, raking, weeding by hand or spraying a weed killer. Place a drop cloth below or next to the fence to catch debris, dripping paint or overspray.

    • Step 2: Prepare the Fence
       

      As with all painting or staining projects, preparation is key to good-looking and long-lasting results. You’ll have to clean, scrape and sand your fence with medium-grit or fine-grit sandpaper before you can paint. You may want to use a pressure washer to clean the fence and blast off loose paint. You can also use a garden hose with a power nozzle, a scrub brush and a solution of detergent and water.

      Finish removing loose paint using a paint scraper. Use a power sander to blend any raised paint edges into the surrounding areas. Sponge any mold or mildew spots with a half household bleach, half water solution. This will keep the mold or mildew from growing back.

      You should also check your fence for any termite or insect damage. If you find insect activity, replace the damaged wood.

    • Step 3: Paint or Stain a Wood Fence
       
      paint

      To make sure your finish stands up to the elements, you'll want to use a high-quality stain or exterior paint with UV inhibitors, such as True Value Woodsman® stain or True Value Weatherall® Extreme exterior paint and primer in-one. Use a roller, pad or sprayer to paint large, flat surfaces. If you choose a sprayer, use an airless model or rent a high-volume/low-pressure (HVLP) sprayer. This will give you greater control with less overspray. Whatever applicator you choose, you’ll also need a paintbrush to catch any drips and work paint into hard-to-reach areas. For watery stains, use a stain brush, which holds more finish with less dripping.

      Helpful Tip

      It’s a good idea to do a yearly cleaning and touch-up of any peeling areas on your fence. If your wood fence is unfinished or not stained, consider using stain instead of paint. While stain must be reapplied more often than paint, it involves less preparation.

      Safety Alert!

      Wear safety glasses and a dust mask or respirator when using a paint sprayer.

    • Step 4: Clean Equipment
       

      When the job is done and you’re finished painting or staining a fence, clean or discard the used roller sleeve and clean the roller frame and pan with the appropriate solvent (water or paint thinner, depending on the type of covering used). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for a thorough cleaning of spray applicators.

    Paint or Stain a Chain-link Fence

     
    • Step 1: Prepare the Ground
       

      Clear a space to work before you get started. Get rid of any leaves, grass or weeds along the base of the fence by mowing, raking, weeding by hand or spraying a weed killer. Protect the area by putting down a drop cloth to catch debris, paint drips or overspray

    • Step 2: Prepare the Fence
       

      Brush off any dirt, spider webs and debris. If there are any rusty spots or the fence is generally rusty, scrape off the loose rust with a wire brush before applying a rust-inhibiting metal primer with a roller or spray.

      Helpful Tip

      Don't attempt to paint a vinyl-coated chain-link fence. This type of specialized work should be done by a qualified fencing professional.

    • Step 3: Paint It
       
      painting the fence

      Apply paint liberally to chain-link with a 1 1/2" nap roller. Roll slowly at a 45-degree angle to work the paint into the chain weave. Have a helper follow up with an almost-dry roller. Use a brush to paint the posts, horizontal supports, gates and other hardware to complete each section.

      To eliminate the dripping associated with rollers and brushes, you can also apply two light coats of paint with a sprayer and follow up as needed with a brush. However, with a sprayer you'll be wasting a lot of paint since much of it will spray right through the fence. If you do choose a sprayer, be sure to paint on a day that's not windy—you could end up with paint mist everywhere.

      Helpful Tips

      Thin paint will give better coverage on wire fencing. Thin your paint with up to one pint of solvent per gallon of paint.

      For slow-drying paints, string up some caution ribbons or hang "wet paint" signs to warn people. If you've got pets, keep them on a leash until the fence is dry.

      Safety Alert!

      Wear safety glasses and a dust mask or respirator when using a paint sprayer.

    • Step 4: Clean Up
       
      finished fence

      Once the fence is painted, you can discard of disposable materials like the used roller sleeve. Thoroughly clean the roller frame and paintbrushes with water and then hang them on hooks to dry. Pick up your drop cloths.

      Now step back and admire your fence staining or painting handiwork. With a little preparation and a couple coats of paint or stain, you’ve made your fence look like new.

  • Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.

    Before you begin, use the shopping list below to uncheck the tools you already have to complete this project.

    Then, print or save your updated list and bring it to your local True Value hardware store, where an expert Hardwarian will give you the remaining tools and expert advice you need to complete this project.

    You can also shop online for these project items at TrueValue.com and receive FREE shipping to a participating store.

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