How to Paint Lattice: 6 Tips

What You'll Need
Newspapers or plastic sheets
Fine-grit sandpaper
Can of spray primer
Latex paint
Airless paint sprayer
Small roller and brush
Piece of cardboard
Glasses, hat and gloves

Wooden lattice makes a beautiful edging around a patio, but painting the slats can be a time-consuming task. If you don't want to by the more expensive, pre-painted lattice, buy the unfinished kind and paint it yourself. Following these tips will speed up the process and result in a smooth pained surface. 

Step 1 - Prepare

Spraying paint is messy, so lay newspaper or plastic sheeting over your work area. Paint, especially latex paint, can be difficult to remove from the skin; protect yourself by wearing protective glasses, hat and gloves.

Rent or purchase an airless paint sprayer and other materials at your local hardware store. Familiarize yourself with the airless sprayer and read the instruction manual before you begin. An airless sprayer uses a pump instead of an air compressor to push the paint and usually results in less overspray. Prop the lattice at an angle or place it on two sawhorses so you can work standing up. 

Step 2 - Sand the Wood

Using fine-grit sandpaper, sand the lattice by hand to remove splinters and rough areas. Sweep up the sanded particles or replace the newspaper or plastic before you paint. If they get paint on them later, they will stick to your shoes, and paint will end up everywhere. 

Step 3 - Prime before Painting

If you paint without priming, the paint will soak into the wood. It will change the color of the paint and waste much paint in the process. Apply primer first so your paint job will look better and last longer. Using cans of spray primer is quicker, but you could also apply it with a small roller and paint brush if you already have purchased buckets of primer.

Step 4 - Use Exterior Latex Paint

An exterior latex (oil-based) paint is a requirement for any outdoor painting projects. Place the sprayer intake tube into the can of paint and circulate the paint through the sprayer for a few minutes to remove any air from the lines.

Step 5 - Find the Right Spray Setting

Set the nozzle at a fine spray for a smooth, even coat. Try out different spray settings on a piece of cardboard first so you don't apply too much paint at one time. Move your hand in a fan-shaped motion as you paint. The sprayer will start as soon as you press the trigger. Start moving your hand before pressing the trigger. Overlap your strokes and cover all the insides of the slats.

Step 6 - Dry and Flip

To eliminate paint drips, dry one side completely before turning it over. Flip and repeat the process. Don't forget to run water or paint thinner through your sprayer immediately after you finish to keep the lines free of dried paint. If you didn't make too big of a mess, save the newspaper or plastic sheeting for the next time you decide to paint.

When the paint has dried completely, you can install it as a lattice fence or lattice wall around your patio or onto your garden trellis.