How To Finish Wooden Driveway Gates

What You'll Need
Stain (or paint)
Paint roller
Drop cloth/newspapers
Painter's tape
Tack cloth
Pressure washer (if needed)

Wooden driveway gates can add privacy and security to a home, and they can also add a beautiful decorative touch. Refinishing wood takes a little time but can make gates look brand new. New unfinished gates should be finished as soon as possible to avoid water and sun damage. If you opt to paint, wood needs to be prepared just as carefully to ensure a long-lasting, good-looking result.

Step 1 – Start with a Clean Surface

If you're refinishing your wooden driveway gates, you'll need to remove any previous paint or stain. A pressure washer can help you remove loose paint. You'll also need to sand the wood thoroughly to remove the rest of any loose paint. Sanding will remove stain on stained wood and prepare it for a new coat. If you use a pressure washer, allow one or two days for the gates to thoroughly dry before you start finishing the wood.

Step 2 – Choose the Right Weather

Since your wooden driveway gates are installed outside and can't be brought indoors, be sure that there's no rain forecasted for several days before you start refinishing wood or staining for the first time. Dry weather will allow the stain (or paint) to dry well and seal the wood properly.

Step 3 – Choose a Stain

If you have a wooden fence that's already finished, use the same stain on the gates for a coordinated look. Otherwise, a stain that matches a shade found on the exterior of your house is a good choice. You have a variety of choices in wood finish, so compare the colors to the colors around your fence like grass or flowers to be sure you will like the look. Choose a stain that will protect the wood from both water and sun damage, like a product that contains UV inhibitors and a weather-proof sealant.

Step 4 – Prepare the Area

Use a drop cloth, newspapers, plastic or some other barrier to prevent getting stain on your driveway. Place it below the fence and don't forget to cover any plants or shrubs that might be growing near the gate posts. Use painter's tape to cover any hardware to avoid getting stain on those pieces.

Step 5 – Apply Stain

Use a tack cloth to wipe off any dust and debris. Then carefully apply the stain to the wooden driveway gates. Try to apply the stain in the direction of the wood grain. A paint roller works well for large, flat areas and a small paintbrush can help you apply stain in any carved or detailed areas, and around hardware. Avoid using strokes in different directions as much as possible, even in these small areas.

Step 6 – If You Opt to Paint

Painting can be done in the same manner, but use an appropriate primer first. An oil primer is your best bet. For the second coat you can opt for oil or latex, depending on the kind of finish that you desire.