Blue fence

Fence Painting: Tips for a Stunning Transformation

Is your fence looking tired or grey and lost its sparkle? Or worse, is the previous finish is peeling and flaking? Then take a look at our fence painting tips to learn how to achieve the best transformation and get your fence looking like new again!

Tools & Materials

  • Your chosen finish – Paint/Stain/Oil
  • Paintbrush/roller and roller tray
  • Scrubbing brush/broom, sponge, bucket and/or pressure washer/garden hose
  • Diluted bleach solution (if mould, mildew, algae or moss removal is required)
  • Wood stripper such as Prepdeck or Aquanett (if previous coating removal is required)
  • Wood cleaner & brightener/neutraliser such as Net-Trol
  • Dust sheets, tarpaulin or plastic sheeting
  • Step ladder if required
  • PPE – Safety GFaltroggles, Gloves, Mask etc.


Before jumping into painting, you must first prepare the wood and surrounding area. As we always say, ‘preparation is key’ and as with all coating projects, ‘if you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail.’ In fact, preparing surfaces for a finish is just as important as choosing the finishing product.

Step 1: Prepare the area

Remove any old nails or screws sticking out of the fence panels and replace them where needed. Remove anything and everything that is on or up against the fence such as hanging baskets, plant pots, garden furniture etc. If it is not possible to remove them, you can cover them with a sheet or tarpaulin. If the fence borders onto a patio or deck, you should protect this too.

It’s also worth trimming back any plants, grass or any other foliage so you have clear access. You may be able to simply place dust sheets to cover the plants, alternatively, you can use plant ties or stakes to pull plants backwards, away from the fence.

Step 2: Prepare the wood

Now that the working area is clear and protected, you are ready to prepare your wood. What you need to do will depend on the age of the wood, the previous finish and what state it is currently in:

My fence is peeling/flaking from a previous finish

Before and after Prepdeck with packaging shotIf your fence has a previous coating that is peeling and/or flaking, you will want to begin by removing this. One way is by sanding it off, or you could opt to use a stripping product such as Prepdeck or Aquanett.

Prepdeck is specially designed for the removal of old solid and semi-transparent stains as well as unsightly grade stamps and other finishes from wood.

Aquanett is a powerful wood stripper for the removal of new, old and encrusted oils from wood that have been blackened by UV rays.

My fence is grey but has no previous finish

Before and after Net-Trol with packaging shotIf your fence was recently installed (6-12 months ago) and left to weather naturally and therefore has no finish applied, then you may just be able to give the wood a deep clean before applying your finish. We recommend using a product such as Net-Trol – our powerful wood cleaner and brightener that restores greyed and weathered wood to its natural colour without damaging the wood’s fibres.

It effortlessly removes both surface and ground-in dirt leaving the wood looking bright and vibrant. It is fast-acting and can restore the original colour of your wood in as little as 15 minutes with no laborious and backbreaking sanding!

My fence is brand new

If your fence is brand new and unfinished, it will likely have something on it called ‘mill glaze’.

Mill glaze is a shiny surface that is produced on new timber through the milling process. During this process, natural oils come to the surface of the timber through the machining heat. As the wood cools, these oils produce a glaze on the surface of the wood. If left, this glaze will prevent the penetration of any coating.

seasoniteIf you wish to paint your new wood, the mill glaze first should be removed. To do this you could sand the entire surface, or you could use a combination of Prepdeck and Net-Trol. You can learn more about this process in a previous blog post, ‘How to remove mill glaze‘.

Alternatively, you could let your new wood weather naturally for 6-12 months and then apply your chosen finish. Leaving the wood to weather naturally exposes the mill glaze to the elements which over time breaks it down. We recommend an application of Seasonite new wood protector if you choose to do it this way, as it protects new wood from splitting, cracking and warping in its fragile first year.

My fence has mould, mildew, algae or moss

For the removal of mould, mildew, algae or moss, we recommend using a 50/50 bleach water solution, scrubbing it into the surface, leaving it for around 10 minutes and then rinsing thoroughly.

Regardless of the state your wood is in, we recommend giving your fencing a good deep clean and allowing it to dry for at least 24 hours prior to the application of your chosen finish.

Choosing your finish

Wood paints

As painting your fence every single year is very time-consuming, exhausting and not to mention expensive, we recommend using a premium product that lasts.

Black shed and fence paint with festoon light bulbOwatrol Shed & Fence Paint is different to other paints on the market as ours contains a bonding primer, Emulsa-Bond. This gives it excellent adherence without the need for lengthy preparation and priming and so only 2 coats are needed in most cases.

We are so confident in its abilities, that we have guaranteed* it against peeling and flaking for 15 years when applied to vertical surfaces and 5 years on horizontal surfaces, when applied as per the instructions onto bare wood.

Available in 35 colours with a matt finish, Owatrol Shed & Fence Paint:

  • Can be used on all wood types – softwood, hardwood, and modified wood (such as accoya) both new and weathered.
  • Protection, not just decoration – provides exemplary protection against harmful damage caused by UV rays and the weather.
  • 100ml sample sizes (buy one, get the rest 1/2 price) as well as FREE colour cards available.
  • Can also be applied to decking, cladding, garden furniture as well as masonry surfaces such as stucco.

Please note:

All previous coatings must be completely removed before application of Shed & Fence Paint. This is because the bonding primer Emulsa-Bond will not adhere well to anything other than wood and as such, any stains, oils, paints etc. will create a barrier and therefore the desired finish will not be achievable.

Wood oils/stains

If you prefer the more natural look of your wood, perhaps you’re wanting to use an oil or wood stain instead?

Owatrol Textrol

Textrol on garden fenceTextrol is our most popular saturating wood oil finish, with UV protection for exterior soft and hardwood. It is a penetrative product which saturates the wood to protect it from within – this means that there’s no film on the surface and as such, it will not peel or flake.

Textrol enhances the natural beauty of the wood whilst providing a mildew-resistant finish, with exceptional and long-lasting protection from the effects of moisture, weathering, and UV rays.

It is applied ‘wet-on-wet’ which saves time as you don’t need to wait for coats to dry during application and the maintenance is easy with no stripping or sanding required – simply clean with Net-Trol and re-coat as required.

Available in 8 shades, including clear, with a matt finish, application of Textrol is quick and easy:

  • Apply the first coat of Textrol and allow it to saturate into the wood (15-30 minutes).
  • Apply a second application and allow it to penetrate for 15-30 minutes.
  • If required repeat this procedure until the wood is saturated i.e. will accept no more oil.

If you want to achieve a similar look but use a water-based product instead, why not use Aquadecks?

Owatrol Aquadecks

Aquadecks on fence cladding by R&A Pressure Washing services Ltd.Aquadecks is a water-based penetrating wood finish that provides a flexible, long-lasting rich, matt finish for all woods, including exotic hardwoods. Aquadecks saturates, penetrates and stabilises the wood from within to minimise cracking, warping and other damage caused by the sun and rain.

Just like Textrol, Aquadecks is applied ‘wet-on-wet’ saving you time as you don’t need to wait for coats to dry during application. The maintenance is also easy with no stripping or sanding required – simply clean with Net-Trol and then re-coat as required.

Available in 6 shades, with a long-lasting matt finish, Aquadecks:

  • Saturates and stabilises wood to protect it from damage caused by moisture and UV rays
  • Can be applied to new or weathered wood
  • Premium UV-absorbing trans-oxide pigments
  • Fast drying with low odour
  • Easy maintenance – no sanding or stripping required

Please note:

All previous coatings must be completely removed and the surface must be clean, dry, and free from grease, grime, dirt, mildew etc. before application of Textrol, Aquadecks or any other Owatrol product. This is because they are saturating products and therefore its place is inside the wood – as such, any previous coatings or contaminants will create a barrier and therefore will not be able to achieve the desired finish.


Mr. O paintingOnce your fence has been properly prepared and is now dry, you are now ready to apply your finish.

Depending on the type of fencing you have will determine if you can use a brush or a roller.

A roller is quicker and easier to use on large flat fence panels. However, you may find it a whole lot easier to use a brush if you have lap panel fencing as the boards are usually quite thin and as such, getting a roller in there properly can be difficult.

Even if you are using a roller, having a small brush nearby is always handy for smoothing out any drips or getting into smaller, more difficult areas. We recommend a 3-4 inch brush/roller and a 1-2 inch brush for most fences.

Once you have your tools and have put on your PPE you are ready to go.

Applying your finish

  • Make sure to thoroughly mix your finish
  • Don’t overload your brush/roller – the majority of wood paints require 2 coats, so apply them evenly
  • Don’t overwork the finish – try to apply each coat evenly
  • Apply your finish in the direction of the grain (if the boards are horizontal, paint horizontally, if they’re vertical, paint vertically)
  • Clean up any drips as you go
  • Wait for the first coat to be completely dry before applying the next one (unless using a ‘wet-on-wet’ finish such as Textrol or Aquadecks)

Owatrol Top Tips

shed and fence paint application

Where possible, we recommend you use a high-quality paintbrush. This is because more often buying cheap means buying twice – a professional brush can make all the difference.

Using an old or inferior brush will not only make your job a lot harder, but more often than not, the bristles will shed onto your newly painted fence.

We also recommend using a high-quality finish. Using a finish that will only last 1 year before needing to be stripped, sanded and reapplied again is not only time-consuming but more often than not works out to be much more expensive in the long run.

If you are painting a fence that has a gate, we recommend you first remove the hinges, the door and any bolt/locking mechanism to make the job easier. If this is not an option, you can alternatively use masking tape and a plastic bag to try and keep everything as clear of paint as possible.

Fence Painting FAQ’s

How much finish do I need for my fence?

This is dependent on the type of finish you use. If you are using one of Owatrol’s finishes, each of our product pages has a handy coverage calculator on the right-hand side to help you determine how many litres you will require.

How long do I need to wait to apply a finish to my new fence?

As mentioned in the Preparation area above, we recommend waiting 6-12 months for your wood to weather naturally before applying a chosen finish. Alternatively, you can sand the wood or use Prepdeck and Net-Trol to remove the mill glaze and then apply your chosen finish.

How long does it take to paint a fence?

This really depends on how large your fencing is and what type of finish you are using. We have found that on average it usually takes one person 2-3 days to finish their fence. The majority of fence paints require 4-12 hours between each coat, so this can differ wildly depending on the type of finish used.

When is the best time of year to paint a fence?

Here in the UK, late Spring/Summer is usually recommended as the best time of year to paint any exterior wood. More often than not these months are dryer than others which allows the paint to dry and set correctly.

However, we highly recommend that you check the weather forecast before commencing any work. If your fence becomes too hot, the paint will dry too quickly and not properly set into the wood. It will also be difficult to keep a wet edge and brushes or rollers will not flow nicely.

Likewise, if it rains during the application process, you may find yourself needing to remove what you’ve done and start again from scratch.

Can I paint my fence whilst it is wet?

This is not something that we advise. Cooler weather is usually fine to paint in (you will want to avoid days below 10°C) but applying onto wet wood is not something you should consider as the finish will not be able to fully saturate/stick to the wood and you will end up needing to start all over again.

We hope you found this post on fence painting tips helpful. If you have any other tips, tricks or advice, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. We love hearing from you!

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*From the date of purchase when applied according to application instructions. See our Limited Warranty for further information.

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Owatrol Team
About Owatrol Team

Our team are ready and willing to support you with your requirements whether it is protecting your newly laid deck or renovating a luxury yacht, whatever the application Owatrol has the solution you are looking for.

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