Painting fences may sound like a boring and tedious task, and unfortunately, it is. However, an unpainted or roughly painted fence could ruin the look of your entire house, so you should really take fence painting seriously if you truly care about your home’s exterior.
If your fence has already been painted for a long time, chances are that it has started to peel and look unsightly. In this case, you need to remove the old paint and repaint the fence from scratch if you want to do a good job of it.
Step 1 - Clean Your Fence
Start off by cleaning your fence using the garden hose and liberal amounts of soap. If you happen to have a power washer, you can use it instead of the garden hose, but the latter will work just fine.
Make sure you get rid of any debris or dirt particles attached to the old paint of your fence, so they don't get in your way while performing the later steps.
Step 2 - Remove the Old Paint
Once the fence is duly cleaned, you will need to start stripping off the old paint. This is bound to take some time, so be patient and keep going till all the fence is dealt with. To get rid of the old paint, you can work with a scraper and sandpaper. Apart from stripping the old paint, you should also deal with any imperfections in the fence itself at this stage.
Hammer in any nails which have started to loosen, and use the sandpaper on any evident splinters. If your fence has any broken or especially thin posts, you may need to replace them with new posts before moving on to the next step.
Step 3 - Smooth Wood and Apply Primer
When your fence has been completely stripped of its old paint, smoothen the wood beneath by sanding it well. Once your fence is as smooth as it can get, give it a coat of primer.
Step 4 - Repaint the Fence
Make sure that the primer has totally dried, and then you can repaint your fence. You should ideally go for a coat of exterior house paint to better withstand the weather, which your fence will have to deal with.
In regards to color, you can decide to stick to the old one or go for something completely different—it’s up to you. Leave the paint to dry for a full 24 hours; put up a “Wet – Do Not Touch” sign if necessary.
Step 5 - Add Finishing Touches
Give your fence a second coat of house paint, leaving it to dry for 24 hours again. Then apply two coats of sealant, allowing enough time for the first to dry. Your fence should now look as though it has just been installed and painted for the first time.
If you follow these steps, repainting your fence should not be difficult. While it is true that the whole process takes quite a lot of time, the wait will be worth it since your fence will look as good as new.
Wood Fence Panels
If you do not have an old fence to paint, you may need to add one instead. Installing a wood fence is a beautiful way to add extra security to your yard. Plus, the installation process is quick and easy. To begin, check out these few steps.
Step 1 - Prepare Your Posts
Before installing the wooden fence, make sure that you have already installed sturdy fence posts. If the posts are older or not sturdy, you can add extra concrete around the posts. If you’ve just installed the posts, you should wait a few days before installing the panels, so that the cement can have time to set.
You also should have already installed the wood backing that you will install the panels on. This backing should go from post to post horizontally.
Step 2 - Purchase the Panels
When purchasing your fence panels, make sure they match with posts you’ve already installed. The best way to do this is to bring a post with you when you’re shopping for panels. In addition, measure the posts and fence already installed, so that you know what size and how many panels you need to purchase.
Alternatively, you can build your own wood fence panels. Though it will take more time and effort, building your own panels will save you money.
Step 3 - Install the Panels
Before installing the panels, recruit a friend to help you complete the project. This person will help hold the panels up evenly. Your helper can also use a level to ensure the panels are straight before you install them.
In addition, you can use a stand under each panel to ensure the panels are an even length from the ground before installing them.
Fasten the first panel to the posts and the wood backing with galvanized nails and a hammer or nail gun. Make sure someone is holding up the panels and supporting them while you're nailing them down.
Continue doing this until all panels have been installed. Remember to leave room to build a wooden gate if you want an entrance and exit point.
Step 4 - Stain the Panels
If the area you’ve installed the panels could be exposed to rain or snow, you should stain or finish the fence to ensure it doesn’t rot.
Making the Fence Look Old
A new wood fence adds value to your home. To make it look as though it has been a long-time fixture, follow the steps below to make it look old. This does require some elbow grease, and the time it takes will depend upon how much fence you need to treat.
Step 1 - Rough Up the Wood
Use a wire brush and go over all of the wood surfaces. Be sure to do both sides, so you get a uniform finish. Brushing the wood with the brush causes the wood grain to stand out.
After you have done both sides—as well as the gate, if it is made of wood—get out your water hose and rinse the wood. This will remove any loose debris caused by the brushing. Allow it to completely dry, and you are ready to start applying the old and weathered-looking finish.
Step 2 - Apply the Stain
Shake the can of stain to be sure it is mixed well. Remove the lid and begin applying stain to one small area at a time on your wood fence. After you have applied the stain, take one of the old rags and rub the stain in, while removing a lot of it at the same time. This will give your fence a weathered, old barn look once dry. Repeat this process on both sides of the fence.
While allowing the fence to dry, clean your paintbrush. If you notice the stain is too heavy on the wood, you can lightly sand it to remove the heavy areas. You will then be ready for the next step, which is protecting the wood stain finish.
Step 3 - Preserve the Finish
Again, using your paintbrush, apply a coat of clear wood preservative to the entire fence, on both sides. This will protect the stain finish, and protect the wood from rain and other harmful elements. To keep your fence in good condition, reapply a preservative every one to two years.
How to Paint a Metal Fence
If you want to paint a metal fence, you will be in for a lot of work. This type is prone to holding excess water, attracting grime, and rusting, which all make it much harder to create a clean, professional finish that endures. However, if you follow the advice and the steps below, you can get a great, lasting paint job for all to see.
Step 1 - Remove All Rust Deposits
When you set out to paint metal, you need to make sure that it is ready to accept the primer and metal paint first. Metal, especially outdoors, is subjected to many elements that can damage it.
As mentioned previously, metal fences often become rusty, retain water, and attract oil or grime. So, the first thing you need to do is inspect the surface for rust deposits and clean the ones you might find.
Put on your work gloves, glasses, and mask, grab a wire brush or piece of steel wool, and get to work. Vigorously scrub the rusted area to remove the loose particles.
If you find that you're having trouble, use the wire brush for the bulk of the job and slowly progress down to steel wool to smooth what is left. This will be hard work and take time to finish.
Dampen a rag with mineral spirits once the large deposits are gone and begin removing the remaining rust. Replace the rag whenever it becomes too dirty, and dispose of the rags at a proper facility when you're finished.
It is important to note that you will not be able to remove all of the rust; the idea here is to get the metal surface as smooth and level as possible for painting.
Step 2 - Wash the Surface
Oil, grime, and the mineral spirits you've just used can inhibit certain metal paint, so it's always necessary to wash the fence prior to applying primer and paint to it. Fill a bucket with hot water and soap.
Soak a rag or a scrubbing brush and thoroughly scrub all the nooks and crannies of the fence. Rinse the soap off with a hose, and then dry the fence with a rag or allow it to dry overnight.
Step 3 - Paint the Metal Fence
You will first start with a metal primer before you paint to create the most durable, lasting finish possible. The primer gives the top coat something to adhere to.
If the primer is too thick to properly apply, add a little bit of the mineral spirits to it. Add it in very small amounts, stirring after each addition and only adding more if it's still too thick.
Dip your brush into the primer when it reaches the desired consistency, and begin applying it along the surface. Work quickly, using even strokes to prevent primer from pooling anywhere.
Pay special attention to streaks, bubbles, and any other imperfections, and in tight areas, use a smaller paintbrush to dab until the entire surface is covered.
After the primer has had a chance to dry—this can take at least one entire day—you can paint the metal fence with the topcoat. Choose a clean brush, dip it into your paint, and begin spreading it across the surface.
Apply the topcoat the same way as you applied the primer, looking out for missed spots, streaking, and pooling paint. Dab the hard-to-reach areas thoroughly as well. Wait for the paint to dry and apply a second coat if needed.
Step 4 - Apply Sealant
Since your fence is regularly battered by the elements, it's a good idea to finish the job with a sealantto keep your paint looking great. Look for a sealant that is designed to adhere specifically to painted metal.
This information will be found under the product's performance properties, but if you're still unsure about what to buy, consult a store associate.
Check your product's directions for when you should apply the sealant during the painting process. Many sealants come in spray form, so they're very easy to apply. Make sure you hold the nozzle at least six inches away from the fence as you spray, and move along the surface in slow, even passes for the best finish.
How to Paint a Vinyl Fence
Although they are often installed as a maintenance-free option to wood, there may come a day when you wish to paint your vinyl fence. Since vinyl fencing is more durable than regular wood fencing, keep in mind that its longer warranty could become void if you paint it and damage its surface.
However, if your fence has faded over the years or you have grown tired of the color, painting it can be as simple as staining wood.
Step 1 - Purchase the Correct Materials
Vinyl fencing is a smooth surface that will not take regular latex or oil-based paints. You will need an epoxy-based paint that adheres to the vinyl. You will also need to make sure your painting tools are right for the job.
Using the wrong brush or roller will cause uneven application, thus creating messy drips in the finish. Check the instructions on your product or ask your local DIY store about brushes and rollers that will work with your paint.
Step 2 - Prepare Fence
Even if you hose down your vinyl fence on a regular basis, there will still be a layer of dirt and grime that can prevent epoxy-based paint from adhering properly. Clean it off with a bucket of warm, soapy water before rinsing it off with the garden hose.
Take the time to dry off your fence with a clean towel, as this will remove any remaining residue that might affect paint adhesion. Let the fence dry before priming.
Step 3 - Cover with Primer
Priming your fence properly will ensure that your top coat does not crack or bubble prematurely. Use an exterior primer designed for vinyl products that is also mold and mildew-resistant. Wearing latex gloves, use a brush to fill out tricky angles and a roller to cover the larger areas.
A paint sprayer, if you have one or can buy one, will give you a more even finish and covers the same area in about half the time as a roller. However, remember to wear safety goggles and a dust mask if using a paint sprayer. Finally, allow the primer to dry before painting.
Step 4 - Apply Paint
Paint your vinyl fence using the same method as you did with the primer. If you are using the same paint sprayer, make sure you clean it thoroughly and allow it to dry, so primer and water are not mixed with your top coat paint.
Wrap brushes and rollers with plastic cling wrap instead of cleaning them between applying coats of paint. Also let the paint dry completely between coats and before applying a sealant.
Step 5 - Finish with Sealant
Protect your newly painted fence by applying a high-gloss sealant. A good sealant will protect the vinyl from the elements and keep the paint from cracking or fading quickly. Once your sealant dries, you will be able to enjoy the maintenance-free benefits that vinyl fencingoffers for many years to come.
How to Plant a Natural Fence with Bamboo
Fences are a great way to create some privacy between your yard and your neighbor’s, but traditional fencing is usually quite pricey to purchase and install. That’s where a natural, affordable, and charming alternative to regular fences comes into play: bamboo fencing.
This is an alternative that you plant yourself, creating a natural barrier between your yard and someone else’s. Below, learn more about this idea and how to plant your own bamboo fence for the privacy you yearn for, along with the charm and beauty of incorporating another natural element into your yard.
The Benefits of Having Bamboo in Your Yard
There are a host of benefits to having bamboo in your yard. First, there are over 1,000 different types of bamboo, available in a range of heights and colors. The different varieties of these plants also have different growing habits and needs when it comes to temperature and sun exposure.
Regardless of where you live or how your yard is situated, with so many different variations of bamboo, it’s practically guaranteed that there’s one to suit your needs.
Another benefit of bamboo is that it’s quite resistant to pests. Animals such as deer do not typically eat this plant, and other mammals such as rabbits usually won’t mess with bamboo, allowing your fence to stay intact.
Finally, bamboo also has environmental benefits as it is known to absorb greenhouse gases and then release oxygen into the atmosphere. Because bamboo is one of the world’s fastest-growing plants, it has a quicker harvesting time than most other plants.
This makes this a more renewable resource, and the root system of bamboo prevents soil erosion.
How to Plant Your Bamboo Fence
Now that you’re excited about all the great aspects of bamboo, you’re probably wondering how to plant your own bamboo fence.
Step 1 - Plan and Measure
The first step to preparing for any kind of fencing in your yard, including bamboo, is to plan where it will go and measure the space. Since bamboo plants usually have wide roots, you should avoid planting them any closer 1½ feet away from any other underground structure.
Step 2 - Decipher What Bamboo Species is Best for You
For this step, you’ll need to conduct a bit of research. There are many varieties of bamboo, and there’s likely one that will thrive well in your particular yard and climate. Figure out which variety matches the criteria of where you live so that you can ensure that your fence will live a long and healthy life.
In choosing the ideal bamboo for your yard, consider how rapidly it grows and how tall it can grow to be.
You’ll also want to choose a bamboo species that is the right style for your yard. The color of bamboo can differ from one species to another, and for some varieties, the color of its leaves can change in the autumn and then fall off for the winter.
Step 3 - Purchase Your Bamboo Plants
Once you’ve decided on the variety you’ll use, visit your local nursery to purchase your bamboo plants. The most affordable option is to use younger plants, but it’s important to consider the fact that these will likely take approximately three years to reach their “matured” height.
Step 4 - Map Out Planting Spots
You’ll likely want to create your fence out of bamboo plants that you purchased in pots, so map out where these plants will go. It’s entirely possible to create a dense fence—better for privacy purposes—as bamboo does well when planted close together.
Allow between one and three feet in between each potted plant as you map out where they will go.
Step 5 - Dig Holes
Now that you know where each plant will go in the ground, prepare the holes for your bamboo. These should have a diameter that is about two times the diameter of the root ball. The height of the hole should be able to fully accommodate the root ball, plus a few inches.
Step 6 - Add Compost
Add compost to the bottom of each hole to create a solid base for your plant.
Step 7 - Add the Plants and Fill with Soil
Add a bamboo plant to each hole and secure it by filling the hole with soil. Keep in mind that bamboo does best in well-draining soil.
Step 8 - Add Mulch
For the best results with your fence, spread two or more inches of mulch on top of the ground of the plants. Bamboos do best when they are moist, and this layer of mulch will allow the plants to retain moisture easily.
Maintain Your Fence
Going forward, water your bamboo plants about one or two times a week, especially for the first three to six months after planting. Ensure that the plants have a layer of mulch at all times to keep moisture towards the roots, which prompts successful bamboo growth.
While you don’t need to trim bamboo leaves for the health of your plants, you can if that creates the aesthetic you’re going for.
Don’t waste your money on a traditional fence when you can easily create your own natural and effective bamboo fence in your yard.