Man using paint sprayer to paint wooden panel fence

How to Guide

How to Paint a Fence

February 08th 2024

If you’re looking to freshen up your fences but aren’t sure where to start, take a look at our how to paint a fence guide. Our easy-to-follow guide will show you that with a bit of time and care you can restore and maintain your fencing and get your garden looking great again.

Before you Start

It may seem obvious, but you need to check if the fence you are planning to paint is yours. If it is your neighbour’s fence you may be wondering “can I paint my side of the fence”? If the fence is your neighbour’s responsibility, then you must get permission from them before undertaking any work on it including painting. Once you have the necessary permission it's time to get started!

What Will I Need to Paint a Fence?

We’ve outlined a list of tools you may need to invest in or dig out from your toolbox or shed to get the job done tidily and safely.

Get Ready to Start

If you’re fence is brand new and treated you are best to wait at least a couple of months before applying paint as the treatment needs time to fully settle. Before you start, make sure you’ve picked a dry day to get the job done; rain or drizzle is a big no-no for outdoor painting as it stops the paint sticking and drying properly resulting in a messy display with compromised protection. To avoid any paint spray or splashes getting anywhere other than the fence, ensure you are well covered including wearing eye protection, and use tarpaulin or other sheets to cover the area at the base of the fence. Tie back any shrubs or tree branches that touch the fence and make sure to move any garden furniture out of the way so you have good access to the fence.

Preparation is Key 

To make sure you get good, smooth, even coverage on your wooden fence whether its panel, picket or slatted, you’ll want to remove any flaking paint, dirt or debris using a stiff brush. A wire brush will help if there is a significant build-up, however be sure not to press too hard or you may damage the timber underneath. If there are any parts of the fence that need fixing or replacing due to rot, you should do this before starting painting.

Gloved hand using roller to paint brown wooden fence
Credit: Photo by fxquadro on

Painting Methods

There are a number of ways you can apply paint, stains, and wood treatment to a fence. These include using a paintbrush, a spray gun, or even a roller. The type of fence you have will help determine which method will get you the best result, and you may need to use a combination of tools.


If you have large fence panels a paint sprayer will get the job done more quickly than a paintbrush. Be sure to check the paint or stain is compatible with a spray gun as not all formulas are. You may want to use a brush to finish off some areas if your spray gun does not have a precision setting. This video shows how to use a spray gun effectively.


You may not have considered it but you can use a medium-pile roller to apply paint your fences. It will cover larger areas quickly, but you will also need to use a brush for the trickier to reach spots.


If you are painting a picket fence a paintbrush will give you the best control, helping you get around all the smaller, more fiddly bits. If you choose to use a brush to stain your fence be sure to paint in the direction of the grain.

Job Done

Depending on what type of paint or stain you have used more than one coat may need to be applied. Once you have finished painting be sure to properly clean your tools and put them away somewhere dry. 

Top Tips

What paint should I use on my fence? A good quality wood paint or wood stain should be used, use a well know brand of paint such as Ronseal or Cuprinol to ensure a quality finish.

How often should I paint my fence? A drip-treated fence should be treated yearly. If you are applying colour then this should be re-applied every 2-3 years to keep it looking its best.

Is it better to brush or spray a fence? This is down to personal preference; a sprayer will finish the job a lot more quickly than a brush, but a brush will get into the tricker spots more easily.

How long does fence paint take to dry? This varies by paint type but typically it can take between 4 to 12 hours before the paint dries and a further coat can be applied.

Image of blog author Cat Burke

About the Author

Cat Burke

Cat is a member of the E-commerce team and is passionate about all things product, from power tools and TVs to cushions and curtains. She enjoys tackling basic DIY tasks at home and has taken on jobs such as stripping wallpaper, painting rooms, and upcycling furniture.

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