5 Picket Fence Painting Tips

Nothing says home quite like a picket fence around your property. It’s very traditional and very American. Every few years, though, it needs to be repainted and that can be a chore. It’s labor-intensive, that much is true, but there are ways to make the job proceed more smoothly and avoid the frustration some people experience when they paint their picket fence. These tips will help.

1. Cleaning

Peeling paint

Before you can put new paint on the picket fence you need to take off all the old, peeling paint. Start by scraping the larger areas, keeping a drop cloth at the bottom of the fence to make cleanup easier.

After you’ve done this, cover all the plants and bushes around the picket fence with plastic cloths—including those behind the fence—and use a power washer. This will take off more of the old paint very quickly and leave you with a much smoother surface for the new paint. You’ll also able to get down to bare wood quite easily.

2. Preservative

Your fence is very open to the elements. Before starting to paint you need to protect the fence with a coating of wood preservative that repels water. Do this by hand, with a paintbrush, to ensure you reach into all the nooks, crannies, and difficult areas. Be certain you cover all the exposed areas of wood and then give the picket fence several days to dry before moving on.

3. Primer

Painting primer

You should only need a single coat of primer for the picket fence. A thick coat is quite adequate; expect a gallon of primer to cover about 400 square feet. Use a paintbrush for all the tricky areas to ensure complete coverage. For the flat areas of fence, it’s quite possible to use a paint sprayer, but if you do, cover all plants and other items in the area from overspray.

4. Painting

When painting, don’t try and achieve perfect coverage in a single coat of paint. The results will be much better with two thin coats on the picket fence. Give the first coat four hours to dry before you apply the second coat. As with the primer, use a paintbrush to get the paint into all the crevices and tricky areas to ensure complete coverage. Be aware that you can spray the paint onto the picket fence if you desire. Again, cover all plants and other areas from overspray with plastic sheeting that’s disposable to aid in a fast cleanup. Keep the second coat as thin as the first and check for any spots you might have missed.

5. New Fencing

When putting in a new picket fence it can be simpler to paint the fence before it goes in the ground. It’s much easier to cover all the wood with a paint spray in this instance and the job goes by very quickly. It will also look much better when erected and there’s less danger of the wood in the ground rotting away.