Besides its cosmetic effects, paint provides outdoor structures with protection against the elements. Fences, in particular, need a protective coat of paint every 2 to 3 years. They're usually built away from other structures and trees, which could otherwise shield them from the elements. Paint helps iron and metal constructions resist rust and corrosion. It also fortifies wood against the effects of wind, rain, snow and extreme temperatures. Fence-painting is a time-consuming, but important, undertaking. By doing it at suggested intervals, you can strengthen the fence, reducing the likelihood of it needing to be replaced. If you want to learn how to paint a fence, follow these steps.
Prep the area around the fence. Preparation is a critical phase of fence-painting. You want to protect the vegetation along the fence line while readying the surface for painting. This is a time-consuming process, but it makes the job easier.
- Mow and edge the grass along the fence line. Trim back bushes and shrubs that abut the fence. Use a leaf blower to blow dirt and grass clippings away from the fence line.
- Spread a drop cloth or plastic sheeting under the section of fence you'll be painting. Keep it in place throughout the project to collect residue from prep work and protect against spills.
- If the fence was previously treated, scrape off loose or flaking paint.
- Pressure-wash or sand a new, untreated wood fence. It's best to sand a fence that was painted before. This helps the paint adhere to the wood. If necessary, use a scrub brush and a 1-to-1 mixture of bleach and water to eradicate mold on the fence. Let the surface dry.
- If you're painting iron or metal fencing, use a steel brush to remove rust and then sand the surface with medium-grit sandpaper.
- After sanding, wipe off residue with a clean rag.
- Seal and tape off parts of the fence you don't want to paint, like ornaments, gate latches and handles and other hardware.
Pick the right paint for your job. Make sure you use an outdoor paint on your fence. These are specially treated to withstand the effects of weather and come in a variety of types.
- Acrylics: Acrylic paint is durable, providing an excellent layer of protection for your fence, but you might have to apply a primer to an untreated surface before you can paint.
- Acrylic stains: Stains bring out the natural beauty of the wood and usually don't require the primer coat that paints do. They also are easier to re-coat and require minimal surface prep.
- Oil-based outdoor paint: Oil-based paints may require multiple coats and may not protect as well as acrylics, but they do provide a superior-looking finish.
- Enamels: Enamel paint is ideal for iron fencing and gates. Usually, you'll need to treat the surface with a rust-inhibiting primer.
- Automotive epoxy paint: The benefits of automotive epoxy are, it's a 1-step process and is very durable. You will have to mix in a hardener with this paint, which does force you to get the job done within about 6 hours.
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