Whether it is out of economic necessity or due to just wanting to get your hands dirty and find a Do It Yourself (also known as DIY) project, one of the most immediately satisfying projects you can do, both visually and financially, is to spray paint your fence at home. There is nothing to compare the satisfaction you feel when you see the difference it makes in both the curb appeal of your home and in your own sense of satisfaction knowing you did it all yourself.
You are probably asking yourself where to begin with this DIY project, so let us help you with a few “tried-but-true” steps to ensure that you do it right the first time. Begin by measuring the size of the fence with its height, length and width. This will enable you to calculate how much paint you will need to do the job. Next, make a list of the tools and supplies you will need. Even though this is an outdoors project, you still want to protect areas you do not want painted, so a drop cloth and a tarp can start your supply list. You will also need a pressure washer, paintbrush and edging tape to cover the hinges, latches, lawn, patio, deck, garden and/or sidewalk areas you do not want covered in paint. You also need sanding and scraping tools and materials to prime the fence surfaces and prepare them for the actual paint application. Although the store may “stir” the paint initially, make sure you have additional paint stirrers so that you can remix the paint in between coats. Speaking of paint, if it’s a brand new fence, you will need a primer as well as the actual paint (colored or not) for the job. When spray painting, you can use the individual spray cans but if it is a big job, it’s best to use a spray gun and to buy one large container of paint to apply. Make sure the paint you get is an exterior, all-weather product.
Once you have bought, rented and assembled your supplies, it’s time to set up. This can be very time-consuming but, in the end, it can save you a lot of time and aggravation, so take your time and do it right from the beginning. If you are repainting a fence, you may need to remove several coats of old paint; if it’s a brand new fence, you will still have to prep the surface of the fence so that the paint better adheres to the surface. Either way, you must eventually sand everything down. It can be monotonous but take your time with this; don’t forget to do the sides/edges of each slat. Once done, go back and, with a slightly damp cloth, wipe off the sawdust. Better yet, use or rent a pressure washer to help clean and prepare the fence to be painted.
After you have washed the fence and while waiting for it to dry, set up the tarp behind the area you are working on so that it protects what you don’t want painted; also, put down the drop cloth underneath and in front of the fence to do the same for those areas.
Now you are ready to mix and apply that first coat, whether it’s applying the primer or actual paint. When using a spray gun, you need to slightly dilute the primer and/or paint for it to work most effectively with the machine. Refer to the machine and paint manufacture’s recommendations for the proper amount of water to add to the machine. If you are using spray paint, make sure you shake it and thoroughly mix the contents. Hold the spray gun or spray can on an angle so that the paint is applied to the sides of each slat while you are painting the front of the fence; this will help save you a bit of time in not having to go back just to do the sides. Check for any driplines on the fence and use the paintbrush to even out any excess paint. Make sure you let the paint dry completely between coats. Always sand and wipe down between applying coats.
One last word of advice: make sure you check the weather forecast for the next several days before you schedule doing this job. When doing an outdoor project, there is nothing more frustrating than having to deal with adverse weather conditions either before, during or after the project.
Have fun and good luck!