Preparing your fence for painting

Preparation is vital with any DIY project and painting your wood fence is no exception. Preparation is the foundation of a job well done, even if it is time-consuming. For example, pre-priming can take hours…unless, of course, you choose pre-primed Motueka Pickets that only require a good quality acrylic top coat to complete the job.

However, if you have an existing fence to paint, you’ll have to put in the hard yards to get the best results. Here are some essential preparatory steps to follow.

Choose the right paint and brushes – Don’t skimp on the paint you use, and the brushes you apply it with. Choose the best paint you can afford for long-lasting colour and durability in all weathers. A good brush will ensure an even finish, and bristles will be less likely to end up in your paint work.

Investigate the roller or spray gun option – You can save time by using a roller or spray gun, particularly if you’re painting wide boards with no gaps in between. A spray gun shouldn’t be used on a windy day – your neighbour might see red…or some other paint colour!

Clean it, sand it, brush it down – The key to a great finish is to have a beautifully clean and smooth surface to paint on. Don’t simply paint over what’s already there, as this could result in blistering, flaking and poor adhesion of the new paint. Sand off old paint, scrub off imperfections on older fences with a wire brush, or remove mould with a prep wash, and wait for it to dry. Any of these steps will ensure the best results. 

Put down a drop sheet – big drops of paint on the paths, tiles or garden beneath your fence look messy, have an adverse effect on plants, and give your neighbours the impression that your middle names might be “Slap Dash”. All this can be avoided by putting down a drop sheet, just as you would do if you were painting indoors.   

The primary importance of priming –You might be tempted to simply use two coats of topcoat instead of priming, but a primer will allow for better adhesion which boosts longevity of the top coat, while reducing the amount of topcoat paint you need to use, and providing a much better finish.

Watch the weather – Before you start painting, check the weather. Ensure the temperature range for the day matches the temperatures suggested by the paint manufacturer; that information is on the can. High humidity is not ideal, as is the prospect of rain!

If you want a stained look – You might prefer to apply stain to highlight the natural features in your wood fence. When choosing your stain, ask how it will look once the inevitable weathering and fading processes occurs. A reputable retailer should be able to give you an idea of how that stain will look once it loses its “newness”. For other style ideas, check out our Inspiration Page

Preparation really can be the difference between average and sensational. Be sensational! And be a bit smart too, by saving time on preparation. Remember, one of the best ways to do that is to choose Motueka Pickets pre-primed fence pickets that are ready to paint without too much prep.

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