Best Paint for a Timber Gate

Updated May 11, 2024 | Posted May 10, 2022 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 2 comments

I’ve been a professional decorator almost all my working life. In this blog, I want to talk about the best paint for a timber gate. It just so happens I painted one recently, so I may as well take you through the process I took and the products I used. I hope it helps.

The wooden gate I painted was about three years old, and it had previously been treated with some sort of oil, but that had long since failed. My client asked me to paint a colour on one side, but she wanted to keep the other looking as natural as possible.


The Best Treatment for a Wooden Gate


Ok, let’s start with the “natural” looking side of the gate. The first thing I did was sand the timber to remove the previous treatment. The best tip I can give you when sanding timber before applying oil or varnish, is to always go with the grain. If you go the wrong way, you will see scratches through the oil.

the best wood oil or varnish for a timber gate

The oil I went for was Fiddes HB Wood Oil. This is a British made product, suitable for exterior timber. Touch dry in an hour and recoat after 4. I love this product for a few reasons. It is extremely easy to use, and it doesn’t take very long to apply. It doesn’t alter the colour of the timber very much, but it does bring out the grain and make the wood look richer. Ensure you apply at least 3 coats, sanding lightly in between. Available online by clicking here.

If you want a recommendation for the best brush to use, go for the Ciret Tank for oils and varnishes. It holds onto thin materials very well and is soft enough to really work it into the timber.


The Best Paint for a Timber Gate


My client asked for a nice, pale green on the “painted side”. I sanded and dusted the gate as standard. Because I was unsure about what the gate was treated with originally, and I wanted to prevent tannins from bleeding through, I opted to start by giving the timber a coat of Zinsser Cover Stain. This is an oil-based adhesion primer / stain block that can be used inside or out. You can dilute it for any porous surfaces such as weathered timber. Available online here.

best paint for a timber gate
best paint for a timber gate

Once dry, I filled the imperfections with HB42 wood filler, then sanded again. This gave me the perfect base on which to work!!

The paint choice for my topcoats was an easy one. I went with Wethertex MS11, which is a multi-surface renovation paint. Fully water-based, great opacity, easy to use and looks fantastic!! I love MS11 for any project like this, simply because the finish is so much better than comparable products. There are no visible brush marks and you’re left with a contemporary matt finish with a fantastic depth of colour. Available online.

The finish on both sides of the gate is fantastic, and with my product selection, I know it will look fantastic for many years to come.

Painting a Timber Gate

Mike Cupit talks through the best paint products to use on a garden gate.

Updated May 11, 2024 | Posted May 10, 2022 | 2 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.


  1. Vikki

    Love your gate renovation article – thank you. I’m wanting to renovate a gate but am worried about using an oil based primer (Zinnser you recommend) then using a water based top coat …. Is this definitely OK? Thanks for reading this!

  2. Sophie

    Hi there, I’d love to know what colour MS11 you used on those gates. They look lovely.


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