Gardening FAQ’s

Here at Home-Gardener we’re often asked questions about gardening and garden wood care. Although we may not always have the answer to every question, our gardening faq’s aim to answer some of the more commonly asked questions.

If you cannot find the answer to your question below, contact us using our ‘contact us‘ page and we will endeavour to get back to you within 24 hours. If it is a common question and one that we don’t already cover, we will add it to our gardening FAQ’s (frequently asked questions) pages.

can you use oil-based decking stain or oil on wooden fences

For new fence panels or wooden fences that haven’t been treated for a number of years, the simple answer is yes. Decking oils and oil-based decking stains, clear or coloured, offer great protection against weathering. Oil-based decking products also help to keep exterior wood nourished and supple, therefore helping to prevent any cracking, splitting, warping, or shrinkage of the fence panels.

Always do a test area before starting any project and read the manufacturers instructions and directions at all times on any product tins or containers.

What is the best fence paint sprayer?

There are a numerous, inexpensive, shed and fence sprayers on the market, all of which can dramatically cut down the time taken to treat or paint garden fence panels. Before using a garden sprayer, it is worth checking that the fence treatment product being used is suitable for spraying. Some products may be too thick or viscous to spray whilst others such as solvent-based products may not be safe to spray. If a solvent-based product such as a wood preserver is being sprayed, it may perish the washers, seals and hoses of some pump sprayers so check to see if the sprayer is solvent resistant. Even if it’s not, it should provide several days of problem free spraying meaning that the cost of the sprayer is still worth the time saved to get large scale projects completed.

Popular pump sprayers or garden sprayers

Is there a fence panel paint calculator I can use?

Working out the area of a garden fence to estimate how much fence paint is needed is fairly straight forward. Many sites that sell fence paints, stains, exterior wood oils and fence preservers have calculators on their websites to help with this if required.

The way to do this manually is fairly simple. Take the height and width of the fence panels, lets say 6 feet wide by 6 feet high, times them to get the square area so 6 x 6 = 36 square feet. If doing both sides of the panels simply times this by 2 (6 x 6 = 36 x 2 = 72 square feet).

Although this will give you an estimation to work out how much fence paint or other fence product you need, it’s worth baring in mind that every piece of wood is different in terms of type, structure, how porous it is and if it’s new or old. This means that some fence panels will absorb more or less fence treatment than others meaning that the estimated coverage may be slightly over or under what is actually required.

how can I prevent my wood fence from turning grey?

Wooden fence panels will naturally turn grey or silver over time as a result of the Suns UV (Ultra Violet) rays and weathering i.e rain and wind. If the fence panels are new, they can be treated with a UV resistant exterior wood oil suitable for fences. Alternatively, using a clear decking oil with UV filters will also help to protect the colour of the timber.

One thing to keep in mind is that these wood oils will not stop the natural greying process but will slow it down, much like a suntan cream protects skin from UV damage. If fence panels are losing or have lost their colour, this can be restored by either using a coloured wood preservative or a coloured exterior wood oil or coloured decking oil.

What’s the difference between a decking stain and fence stain?

A wood stain can be any product that colours the wood be it a coloured fence stain, coloured wood oil, including decking oils or coloured wood preservative.

coloured decking oils tend to be more durable than fence stains as they have to withstand direct contact with foot traffic and pooled water which makes them ideal for use on garden fences too. Decking oils are also very easy to maintain requiring just a maintenance coat as and when required to keep fences weatherproof and protected. Unlike some types of coating type stains, decking oils will never crack, flake or peel off the wood.

can you use fence paint on garden furniture?

It depends on what type of paint it is and also the condition of the furniture.

Many garden paints or fence paints are water-based and perfectly safe for use on garden furniture. They are ideal on most types of bare-wood garden furniture or furniture that has not been oiled, varnished or stained. If the furniture has been previously painted or stained it will require sanding to remove any lose, flaking material and to provide a key for the paint. If it has been previously oiled it will need to be thoroughly sanded and degreased with Methylated Spirit to remove all traces of oil from the wood.

Previously oiled garden furniture that has not been re-oiled for a number of years and allowed to weather should be fine to paint after a light sanding to remove ingrained surface dirt and debris.

If the furniture shows any signs of mould, algae or fungi, it will need to treating with a garden furniture cleaner first. This will remove all traces of biological growth and kill off any mould or algae spores in the surface of the wood. Outdoor furniture can then be treated with a wax free wood preservative. Using a wood preserver that contains wax or silicon will likely prevent the paint from adhering to the furniture surface.

What is the best way to treat a slippery patio?

Slippery patios are usually as a result of mould, algae, lichens and other biological matter that is growing or decomposing on the patio surface. The best way to cure this is to use a stiff broom or brush to clear away all surface matter, then treat the patio with a mould and algae treatment. This will kill off and clear active and dormant spores in the surface of the patio. Once this has been done the patio can be treated and sealed to protect it and keep it looking great. Find more information on how to treat, clean and restore garden patios here.

Which wooden sleepers should I use in my garden?

Wooden sleepers can be a great addition to almost any garden, but care should be taken when choosing which type of sleeper to use. Modern reproduction sleepers could be better for raised vegetable beds whilst reclaimed, hardwood sleepers are likely to be better for garden retaining walls and garden paths. Wooden sleepers and especially softwood sleepers should be treated to help protect them and prolong their life. We cover all this and more in our garden sleepers care and maintenance page here.


We always recommend that test areas are done to assess product suitability and final finish, before starting any project. For technical advice, troubleshooting or any other product or situational queries, always refer to the product manufacturer’s published information and guidance. For technical information on products and their suitability for a given project, contact the manufacturer’s technical support departments directly. Contact details including phone numbers can usually be found on the manufacturer’s products and/or website. cannot be held responsible in any way, shape or form for the guidance given in our gardening faq’s or any other part or page of our website. This is due to the unpredictable nature of wood, its age, species, condition, previous history including previous treatments and/or contamination, environmental, and application considerations, which can all differ from one piece of wood to the next and which will ultimately have an effect on any wood finish applied, including but not limited to suitability, colour, performance and overall results. If in any doubt about the suitability of a product for a given project, always contact the product manufacturer before starting any project or seek the advice of a professional contractor.