Using a fence paint is a great way to add colour and character to gardens. In fact, many displays at national gardening shows and events demonstrate how painting a fence can enhance and transform outdoor living spaces. And, with so many garden paint colours to choose from, there’s no limit to what can be achieved.
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 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 fence 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 semi-translucent, allowing the grain of the wood to show through. wood preservers and stains usually come in shades of brown, green, and black, although this is not always the case
Top 6 Fence Paints
These are the top fence care treatments that colour and protect wooden fences. Some of these products are actually wood stains but they all colour and protect wooden fencing and are often refered to as fence paints or paint for fences.
- 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. It also protects wooden fencing from the greying effects of weathering and UV damage and is available in a range of fence paint colours. This product can be spray applied with the Ronseal Precision Pump Fence Sprayer
- 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 brush or with the Ronseal Precision Pump Fence Sprayer, 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
- Timbashield Solvent Based Wood Stain: A versatile solvent-based wood stain suitable for all garden wood including garden fences. It colours and waterproofs with a blend of oils, resins and waxes. Quick drying formula that can be applied by brushing, spraying, roller and dipping. Creates a water-repellent, UV resistant finish that prevents dry-film fungal growth. Dries to a semi-translucent finish doesn’t mask the wood grain – adds deep colour to softwood and a light tint colour to hardwood
- 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
Spray painting 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 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 wooden fences 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 from mould, algae, insect attack and wood rot. More commonly available in shades of brown, green and black
- Oil Based Fence Treatments: Exterior wood oils are available in both clear and colour, translucent and opaque formulations. These products offer excellent weather protection with their high wax and oil content. 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. Either clear or coloured decking oils can be used
- Fence Stains: Water and oil-based fence stains are very much like garden paints. They seal, protect and weatherproof wooden fences and are available in a range of colours from brands such as Ronseal, Cuprinol and more.
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.
For information and advice on other garden fence treatments click here.
Garden Fence FAQ’s
Can’t find the answer to your garden fence care or maintenance project above? See our frequently asked garden fence questions and answers page, where we try to answer some of the more commonly asked questions relating to wooden fence care, maintenance, and fence treatments.