Best paint for a garden fence – a simple guide

Updated May 11, 2024 | Posted Apr 21, 2022 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 0 comments

I have been a professional decorator for almost 20 years. I just wanted to take a little bit of time to talk about the best paint for a garden fence, as it can be a great way of sprucing up your garden. In this blog, I’m going to take you through the three different types of products you should consider (water-based, oil-based and opaque), and give you the best example of each. This should make life easier for you when deciding. Click here if you need help on your method for painting a fence.


Johnstone’s Trade Shed and Fence Treatment


This is a water-based product, available online by clicking here, in several colours. Recoat time is roughly 2 hours, which can be a godsend if you want to apply multiple coats in a day.

The beauty of using a water-based fence paint is the ease of use, the cost of the product and the environmental benefits. This is the only product on the list that I don’t mind using over bare soil on a flower bed, without covering the ground.


The only real downside of using a water-based paint like this on a fence is the longevity of the finish. You may need to apply a “maintenance coat” of Johnstone’s Trade Shed and Fence Treatment every year or two to keep the fence looking good and protected from the elements. Full review  here.


Saddolin Classic All Purpose Woodstain


This may be over-kill for a fence paint, but I wanted to give you a premium choice. Saddolin Classic is one of the best woodstains on the market. It is used for any interior or exterior timber. Available online in several colours, this is an oil-based product which is fairly pricy.

Being oil-based, you’ll find Saddolin Classic slightly harder to use, and not as environmentally friendly as the alternatives. However, it will penetrate further into your fence and offer superior protection against rot. The longevity of the product is much better too, meaning you will only need to re-paint your fence every few years. Also, providing you take your time to work this product into every craves, you may get away with a single coat on your fence. Full Saddolin Woodstain review here.


Cuprinol shades


This is an opaque water-based paint that has been specifically developed for use on fences. It’s quite a remarkable product too! Not only will you achieve a solid colour in any shade you like, but it repels water like you wouldn’t believe. So much so, if you leave a day between coats, the cured paint will repel the new coat!! So, carry out all your painting in a single day!! You’ll find this paint very easy to use, great opacity and easy to clean off your skin.


Solid colours like this can look very good in urban gardens and it looks very contemporary. A minimum of 2 coats of Cuprinol shades fence paint should be applied, but your finished product should look great for five or six years. Click here to buy, or see a full list of options.


Best Tools to Paint a Garden Fence


Let’s talk briefly about the tools you may need to paint your garden fence. Let’s face it, there’s no point in splashing out on expensive equipment. Brushers and rollers are not likely to last long when used on rough timber, so make sure your tools are suitable, but don’t spend too much money.


Best Sprayer to Paint a Fence

If you are using water-based paint, then you could opt to spray your fence. Sprayers cost anything from £40 to £4,000, and you do get what you pay for. However, I’m going to give my recommendation on a sprayer based on the assumption you only need it for a handful of outings, and you don’t want to spend big. The Tilswall HVLP Sprayer is perfect to spray fences. It’s cheap, manoeuvrable, and extremely easy to use, perfect for a novice. It is noisy, but it will do the job perfectly. Available online here.


Best Paintbrush to Paint a Fence

I could have named one of a dozen paintbrushes to be honest. There are loads of viable options out there. I can’t stand those floppy “fence painting brushes” they offer at DIY centres. You need something with a bit of backbone, so it gets into every little gap and lasts for a while. It also needs to hold plenty of fence paint, and is cheap enough to throw away after you’ve used it. My recommendation is the ProDec Trojan paintbrush, available online by clicking here.


Best Paint Roller to Paint a Fence

Having a mini roller handy will make fence painting quicker and easier. There are dozens of brands out there which are all fine. You just need a relatively small diameter roller, with a thick, long pile nap for painting a fence. You can pick up any generic brand at your local DIY shop, or you can click here to buy online.

Floor Protection

I’m quite lucky as a decorator because I have old dust sheets I can use when painting a fence. You can buy dust sheets online, but I’d urge you to look for alternatives if you need to cover grass or flowerbeds when painting your garden fence. You could go for Corex sheets, cardboard, old bed sheets or curtains. Anything that isn’t too expensive and will protect the floor.

Dust sheets are fine on stone paths, but I don’t see the point in buying new if they’re going to get ruined anyway.

Updated May 11, 2024 | Posted Apr 21, 2022 | 0 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.


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