Welcome back to the Great Expectations Fence Painting Guide! This week, we cover priming your fence. Having successfully (and carefully) prepped from last week, we are now ready to apply the first layer of primer! If you are staining you fence, make sure and skip this step! Stain does not get primer it goes directly onto the fence! Here’s the big secret from the pros: the primer you buy is super important! Primer (unlike paint) is designed to seal against wear and tear. It also helps the paint to maintain its life, and color vibrancy. Buying cheap primer is the “death knell” for a well done job! The specific brand won’t matter but make sure it is formulated for bare wood or fences. Don’t be cheap! At least purchase mid grade! You will thank me later!
Once you have purchased your primer, its time to start the application! Make sure and start working early. You don’t want the heat from the sun to scorch your primer. Starting early will get you out of the heat, but will be warm, helping the primer dry correctly.
There are two primary ways to start fence priming: Spraying and rolling/brushing. There are upsides/downsides to both. Spraying is better most of the time. It ensures a very even coat of paint, and saves money by using less paint. If you are going to be spraying, the amount of prep work is significantly more. You need to ensure all bushes and plans are covered, and carefully seal any portions of the fence you don’t want painted (gate hinges, cross bracing, etc.). Paint rolling gives you much greater control, but is time consuming and labor intensive! If you have lots of little crannies to paint on the fence, it will be easier to maneuver with a roller/brush. Paint rolling allows you to get a good amount of primer on the board in one go, and brushing lets you get all the nooks and crannies well painted. Which is better depends on the fence itself.
Once you are ready to start the priming process, make sure and work in a pattern. The best pattern is to paint about five boards at a time. This will keep the paint equal and help dry it in sections. Start by painting the top of each board first, then move down towards the bottom using long smooth strokes. Place a piece of cardboard UNDER the boards you are painting to catch the additional paint drips. It also keeps your roller or brush from getting dirty.
That about covers priming! If you have any additional questions please feel free to email us, and we look forward to painting next week! To read more from our fencing series, check out the archives here!