How to Paint a Fence

Exposed to the elements and often not the first DIY project that comes to mind, a garden fence can take a beating and lose its appeal over time.

Offering a tired and worn older fence a fresh coat of fence paint is a great way to add interest and appeal to your garden, there are a wide range of colours and the big decision to make of choosing between a natural-appearing wood stain or a vibrant solid paint colour.

For those who are new to fence painting, there are more aspects worth considering than you may think. And in this actionable guide, we will be running through everything you should consider when taking on this weekend project.

Ready to learn how to paint a fence? Read on.

Steps to Paint a Garden Fence

So, what is actually involved in painting a garden fence? Let's take a look at what is involved step by step. Thankfully there are not that many steps to follow here. It just needs to be cleaned properly before having the top coat applied.

Clean the Fence

Preparation is the most important step in cleaning your fence you need to make sure you have a clean and stable surface to paint on.

Over time contaminants can gather on the surface of your fence that can impact the undercoat's ability to adhere to the surface.

Grab a wire brush and give your fence a good scrub. A power washer can be a godsend here too. The aim is to remove any potential contaminants such as algae or moss. All sorts of stuff can gather on a fence.

Once you have brushed it you will want to apply Homeenpoisto, our mould removal solution. This removes all microbial contamination from your fence. Leave this solution on for around half an hour once applied and then you are ready to proceed.

Finish Preparations

At this stage, it is also worth making sure no vegetation can interfere with your fence. If you have plants or any other greenery in your garden that you want to protect you can use plastic sheeting or a bag to cover it.

You can also do this underneath your fence if there is space to save any paint getting onto your ground. Dust sheets also work well here.

If the fence is in very poor condition then it will be worth repairing any damage before proceeding too. Little cracks can be repaired with wood glue or replacement panels if it is more serious.

Finally, you will want to tape over any areas you don't intend to paint ensuring only the fence panels are painted. Things like hinges, concrete posts, or locks where you will want to retain their natural appearance.

Apply your Paint

Once your fence is ready to paint it is time to apply your top coat. There is an important deicison to make here with a choice between paints or wood stains.


A wood paint will give your fence a solid coloured finish.

For this approach, we have two suitable systems,

  • For Smaller Fences or Areas:

Step 1: Begin by applying Ultra Primer to your fence. This essential step creates a clean and smooth surface, ensuring a superior end result. Additionally, the primer forms a waterproof seal, offering protection against adverse weather conditions.

Step 2: Follow up with Valtti Opaque, a specially formulated product renowned for its ability to withstand Finland's extreme weather. Its water-resistant finish allows the wood to breathe while safeguarding it from potential water damage.

  • For Larger Areas:

For large projects, we would opt for Ultra Pro 30, a quick-drying solution that offers a semi-matt finish. This versatile product serves as both a primer and topcoat, streamlining the painting process. Using a brush, evenly apply a single coat of Ultra Pro 30 to your fence. In most cases, one coat is enough to achieve the desired result, which will save you even more time and effort. Allow the paint to dry for approximately four hours, and you're ready to enjoy your new fence!

Ultra Pro 30 comes in larger 20-litre tins only, making it cost-effective for extensive projects that require ample paint supply.

Wood Stain

The other option is a wood stain. Wood stains highlight the natural features of the wood grain. Valtti Plus Kesto is our wood stain of choice. It comes in a selection of wood stains that will last for 10-15 years.

You still need to follow the same preparation phase. You will want to apply two coats of Valtti Plus Kesto leaving 24-hours in between.

Tools Required

Products Used

Tips for Painting a Fence

Now that you have a firm understanding of how to paint a fence.

Check the Weather Forecast

Imagine getting all the way through those steps above and proudly admiring your handiwork from the window and the rain comes on. Devastating. No matter how enduring exterior paints are when dry, they need a chance to fully cure first.

Thankfully, this is all easily avoidable by checking the weather forecast in advance. We need to ensure the surface to be treated will be clean and dry. The moisture content of wood has to be below 20%, so a few dry days before you start painting would help too.

During application and drying temperature of the air, substrate and product must be over +10°C and the relative humidity of the air below 70%.

Paint Carefully if you Have Neighbours

Nobody wants to upset their next door neighbours when giving their wooden fence a new look. One easy way to do that is getting paint on the wrong side of the fence, or even in their gardens. To avoid this take careful brush strokes and don't load your paint brush up too much.

What is the Best Time of Year to Paint a Fence?

I'm sure this won't come as much of a surprise to hear the best time to paint a fence is in the summer. Late spring or early autumn also works though providing you meet the requirements for weather conditions.

Paint Calculator

How much paint do I need? 

Use this calculator to work out your requirements, if you have any question please get in touch with one of our team who will be more than willing to help you.

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Disclaimer: Tikkurila UK Paint Calculator is provided as a guide only. The coverage rates will vary depending on surface being coated and the particular product range being used. More information on these products can be found on the cans, on the technical data sheets on individual product pages, by using our live chat service or by calling our technical team on 0131 334 4999.

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the estimate, however paint requirements may vary depending on the surface, type of paint, sheen level and colour chosen.