Painting Your Wood Fence

A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for your fence. Not only will it help protect the fence from the elements, but it can also give it a much-needed facelift. Whether you are looking to add some colour to your property or simply want to keep your fence in tip top shape, painting it will help you. Here are some good reasons why you should consider painting your property’s fence.

Paint Protects Against the Elements

Paint is essential for preserving surfaces and offering protection from the elements. Exposure to sun, snow and rain causes wood to become brittle and worn down over time. This deterioration can lead to costly repairs or even the need to replace your fence altogether. By applying a coat of paint, you are creating an additional layer of protection on the surface of your fence that will protect it from damage caused by the elements. Furthermore, by selecting higher-quality paints, you will benefit from the additional weather resistant ingredients they contain. Coatings manufacturers test their exterior paints performance in different temperatures and climates. Within each brand there are 2-3 product lines that do a good job protecting against Mother Nature’s worst.

Adding Curb Appeal

Curb appeal because of the fence
This fence brings curb appeal

Are you thinking of selling your home and impressing the new buyers? When it comes to improving the look and feel of your home, there is perhaps no better way to boost curb appeal than by painting your fence. Painting adds colour and texture, enhancing the appearance of your entire home and making it easier for your realtor to sell. If Keeping up with the Joneses is important to you, improving your home’s curb appeal will display your pride of ownership. Every neighbourhood has its own identity that’s influenced by the people and homes within it. Tastefully decorated homes are at least as important as clean streets, trees and landscaping.

Paint Hides Imperfections

Fences are constructed with wood that is not of the same finish quality as a front door or window. Paint will do wonders to hide small cracks and blemishes. Certain thicker paints (and primers) contain a higher percentage of solids and do an amazing job bridging small cracks and voids. One of our favourites is Benjamin Moore’s Regal Select “High Build” flat paint. This 100% acrylic coating is sag resistant, therefore allowing the painters to apply a thicker coat each time. The thick and flexible coat of Regal’s acrylic practically fills the small cracks in the substrate. It can be used on many substrates, including wood, vinyl, and other composites. Duration is a similar product made by Sherwin Williams.

Painting The Fence is Good Maintenance

Painting has proven to be a smart maintenance decision that always extends the life-cycle of exterior elements. When a fence is painted, it becomes easier to keep clean and it is kept free from mould and mildew buildup. A properly maintained fence will last for years, which means that you won’t have to spend money on it for a long time. We ‘ve all been through neighbourhoods with well kept homes where everything looks clean and perfect. If you visit these neighbourhoods during the summer, you will see busy painting contractors working away, applying their craft and protecting surfaces. As soon as your budget allows you, paint away and enjoy the long-lasting benefits of this effective maintenance strategy.

How to Prep Your Fence for Paint

New and weathered fence
New and weathered fence to prep

Before getting started with a brand-new paint job, there is some necessary prep work to be done. Let’s take a look at the proper way to prepare your fence for painting, so you can achieve the best results possible.

Prepping a New Fence

If your fence is new, or at least unpainted, first pressure wash it gently and remove any dirt, debris, or loose wood fibres. Once it’s clean (and dry), you’ll need to apply an exterior primer that’s appropriate for wood substrates. A good primer will help the paint adhere better and produce a more even finish.

Prepping a Previously Painted Fence

If your fence is already painted and you are looking to give it a fresh coat, the first step is to scrape off any peeling old paint. Be sure to remove all of the failing paint, down to the bare wood. Once you have a sound surface, sand the edges, clean the dust and spot-prime all the exposed surfaces. This will help bridge the unsightly imperfections and create a smooth surface for the new paint.

Replacing Damaged Wood in Your Fence

Some warped wood in the fence
There is warped wood within this unpainted fence

If there are any parts of your fence that are beyond repair, they will need to be replaced before you can proceed with painting. Check all of the boards and look for signs of irreversible damage, such as warping, cracking or wood rot. If you find any damaged boards, remove them and replace them with new ones. While you are at it, do a quick check of your fence gate too – make sure it’s still operating properly. If any carpentry work is required – do that now, before priming and painting. Tip: if all you find is just a few nicks and scratches, a little sanding and priming is sufficient.

The Type of Paints for a Fence

With all of the different paint and stain options on the market, it can be tough to know which is right for your fence. The most important factor to consider when choosing paint or stain is the wood and its condition. If your fence is new wood that has been prepared properly, you can use either exterior solid stain or paint. If you are staining your deck at the same time, you may want to use the same stain and colour. However, if you are dealing with paint as the substrate, you will have to use paint again. Stain works only on bare wood surfaces by penetrating the wood fibres.

Lattice fence with acrylic flat paint
Lattice fence painted with acrylic flat paint

Paints come in different sheens: mainly flat or glossy. Flat paints are easier to apply and do a better job of hiding blemishes. They are also breathable, which means that they allow moisture to pass through the paint film. This is very important for fences because it prevents the paint from blistering, and eventually peeling in humid environments. Glossy paints on the other hand, don’t hide imperfections and their non-porous film does not allow any moisture through. For these reasons alone we recommend using flat acrylic paint.

Our favourite solid stain is Arborcoat from Benjamin Moore. Arborcoat offers good protection for the wood and is suitable for many substrates. It is self-priming, so you can apply it directly on the surface. It resists blistering and peeling and it contains protectants against mildew and UV exposure.

If you are planning on using flat acrylic paint, we find Benjamin Moore’s Ben exterior to be good value. As with most Benjamin Moore products, it can be tinted to any colour you want, and it covers surfaces very well. It has a low temperature rating, which allows you to paint your fence late in the fall or early in the spring. Like most quality paints, it resists peeling and cracking and also contains mildewcide agents for humid environments.

Once you decide on which paint or stain to use, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s application instructions. Manufacturers want your fence to look good and their paint to last many years. Their reputation depends on it.


I hope we made our case that painting your fence will improve its curb appeal and extend its lifespan. Just don’t skip the not so glamorous task of prep work. Pressure washing and priming are essential steps whether you are painting a new fence or an older one. And if there are any parts of the wood that are beyond repair, they will need to be replaced with new wood. In the end, painting your fence may seem like a lot of work but we think it’s worth it.

Painter working on a fence
Painter working on a fence

If you don’t have the time or inclination to do the work yourself, consider hiring exterior painters like Ecopainting to help you out. We would be happy to give you a free quote on what it would cost to maintain your fence and keep your home looking good year-round!

1 thought on “Fence Painting”

Leave a Comment