How to Paint a White Picket Fence


A white picket fence brings classic cottage appeal to your yard, adding style and charm. But, a faded picket fence can detract from your home's good looks. Painting each picket by hand is a formidable task, but with an airless paint sprayer, you can restore your picket fence to its original good looks in no time. You'll have to remove peeling paint first, however.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint scraper
  • Random orbital sander
  • White exterior wood paint
  • White exterior wood primer
  • Airless spray gun
  • Paint strainer
  • Large plastic bucket with lid
  • Plastic drop cloths
  • Remove loose bits of paint by scraping or sanding. If only a few areas have loose paint, you can scrape them off by hand with a paint scraper.

  • Sand down the flat sides of the pickets with a hand-held random orbital sander. The sander will remove large areas of loose paint and smooth the surface of the pickets. Use a 100-grit sanding disk. You'll still have to scrape the sides of the pickets by hand.

  • Strain exterior wood primer and wood paint through paint strainers into separate clean plastic buckets.

  • Fill the reservoir of an airless spray gun with full-strength wood primer.

  • Cover shrubs, grass and landscaping items on both sides of the fence to protect them from overspray.

  • Power-on the spray gun and adjust the nozzle to deliver a fine, even mist.

  • Use slow, uniform, up-and-down arm motions to apply the primer evenly over each picket.

  • Spray from an angle to cover the inside edges of the pickets, but don't apply so much paint that runs develop on the fronts of the pickets.

  • Prime all the fence pickets. Let the primer dry completely.

  • Apply the first coat of paint the same way you applied the primer, using a fine even mist for light paint coverage. Let the paint dry completely.

  • Apply one, or more, additional thin coats of paint, spraying each one on lightly and uniformly. Because a heavy coat of paint will produce runs, you'll get better results from multiple thin coats.

  • Touch up areas between pickets with a small paint brush. A paint sprayer will give you the best coverage, but there may still be spots that do not receive enough paint, and you'll have to paint these by hand.

Tips & Warnings

  • Rent a quality airless spray gun. Cheap spray guns are more likely to clog, requiring you to thin the paint.
  • Test spray a scrap of wood before spraying the picket fence for the best results.
  • Keep the sprayer moving constantly when it's powered on to prevent runs.
  • Spray only on a calm day.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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