Using a fence paint is a great way to add colour and character to a garden. In fact, many displays at national gardening shows and events demonstrate how fence paints can enhance and transform outdoor living spaces.
For example, darker fence paints such as black, grey or deep blue can enhance the lush greens of plants and shrubs whilst lighter pastel shades and warm tones can introduce a more Mediterranean feel. In addition to adding colour, fence paints help to protect the wood from weathering and water ingress, therefore extending the life of garden fences.
Garden paints explained
The term ‘fence paint’ can be confusing as fence stains and coloured preservers are often referred to as fence paints. Confused? In a nutshell, paints tend to be opaque and available in a wide spectrum of colours whereas fence stains, preservers and oils tend to be clear or only available in shades of brown, green and black, although this is not always the case.
Although wood preservers are designed to protect wood from mould, algae and insect attack, coloured fence preservers are also used to stain and colour new and old wooden panels. Mainly available in light, medium and dark shades of brown some preservers are also available in black, greys and greens.
Exterior wood oils are also used to colour and protect fences. Available in clear and a multitude of translucent and opaque coloured finishes, the oil and wax content provides excellent weather protection, repelling rain so that it beads and runs off the wood. Coloured decking oils are also perfect for protecting and colouring wooden fences as in addition to colouring the wood, the wax, oil and resins keep the wood nourished and supple.
Creosote for fences
Those of a certain age will remember a time when virtually everything that was made of wood in the garden was painted with Creosote. The sale of Creosote is now regulated and can only be sold to farmers and for other, regulated industrial uses.
The good news is that there is a safer more environmentally version called ‘Creocote’. This Creosote substitute is perfect for use on sheds and fences and is available in light and dark shades of brown.
Top 5 recommended fence paints
These are the top fence care products that are most often referred to and marketed as ‘fence paints’.
- Cuprinol Garden Shades Paint: A water-based garden paint that’s ideal for all garden wood. Provides up to 6 years protection and available in many popular shades including several grey tones
- Ronseal Fence Life: One Coat Fence Life is ideal for wooden fences and sheds. Rainproof in just 1 to 2 hours, it colours and protects rough sawn wood and keeps it’s colour for up to 2 years. Also protects wood from the greying effects of weathering and UV damage and available in a range of colours
- Ronseal Fence Life Plus: 5 Year protection for both rough sawn and smooth planed sheds and fences. Provides all year weather and UV protection for long lasting colour. Can be applied by spray or brush and available in a range of attractive colours.
- Cuprinol Ducksback: A Wax enriched water repellent formula that weatherproofs sheds and fences for up to 5 years. Quick drying and low odour, the non-drip formulation is showerproof in just 1 hour
- Cuprinol One Coat Sprayable: Cuprinol One Coat Sprayable Fence Treatment has been specially developed for use with the Cuprinol Spray and Brush and the Cuprinol Pump Sprayer. Breakthrough technology allows you to spray accurately and evenly with minimal effort to achieve a professional finish in just one coat.
Spraying wooden fence panels
Painting a garden fence can be a daunting task. Using a garden pump sprayer is a great way to paint large areas in a fraction of the time. Before using a sprayer, a couple of precautions should be taken.
- Is the fence paint sprayable? Not all paints, stains or preservers are
- Is the garden pump sprayer suitable for spraying fence treatments? Many garden sprayers are only designed to spray water. As garden paints and other fence treatments are more viscous, the sprayer may not be suitable. A dedicated fence sprayer may be required.
- Is the product safe to spray? Some solvent-based products may be unsuitable for spraying and harmful if breathed in. Always check the manufacturers label and instructions
- If spraying solvent-based preservers, is the sprayer compatible with solvent-based products? many pump sprayers are only designed for water or water-based products. Solvents may perish or degrade the washers, seals and hoses of some sprayers. This said, if the whole garden fence can be sprayed in just a few hours or a day or 2, it is probably worth the cost of the sprayer
- Wear protective clothing to avoid spray coming into contact with eyes, skin and clothing.
- Take care not to get over-spray onto the neighbours side of the fence, their home, car or anything else
- Don’t try to spray paint in high winds or when rain is expected
When using a wood preservative prior to painting, it’s important to make sure that the preserver does not contain wax, oil or silicon. These types of wood preservative are often labelled as being water or weather resistant.
Wood preservers that contain wax, oil or silicon cannot be over-coated with water-based paint as they will repel the paint and prevent it from coating or staining the wooden panel.
If your fence has any signs of green or black mould, algae, moss, or other biological growth, it’s important that all surface matter is removed with a stiff broom or brush and then treated with a mould and algae cleaner. This not only cleans off any existing discoloration but will kill off any mould or algae spores in the wood before preserving and painting the fence.
Alternatives to fence paint
- Coloured Fence Preservatives: Available in a variety of colours, coloured wood preservatives both colour and protect wooden fence panels and posts
- Coloured Exterior Wood Oils: Coloured exterior wood oils are available in both translucent and opaque formulations. These products offer excellent weather protection with their high wax and oil content
For information and advice on other garden fence treatments click here.