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Painting a Fence

We have a shadow board fence around most of our backyard and would like to paint it.  We have a few questions.

We are thinking of using a power painter/sprayer.  Are these effective?  Is it better to rent one or buy one?  This fence appears that is was painted or stained previously but has faded. Would paint or stain be better?  Do we need to use a primer?  We appreciate your time to answer.





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Posted 2012-08-08T15:30:42+0000  by JMRivelli JMRivelli

Welcome to the community JMRivelli. Have no fear ThePaintAvenger is here. It seems you got a fun project on your hands citizen. I just looked up what a shadow board fence looked like because I was not familiar with that type of style but it looks great. Paint or Stain it’s a matter of personal preference, I like stain it looks better and lasts longer.


Staining the fence:


If your fence was previously painted I would advise to sand it with palm sander with a fine grit because you’re just sanding the surface. Here’s one of our many palm sander’s we have at The Home Depot.




The Dewalt 26441 1/4 Sheet Palm Sander offers users a 2.4 Amp motor which sands at 14,000 opm, providing a superior finish. The sander features a textured anti-slip top and body grip providing ultimate comfort and control during use. The Dust-Sealed Switch protects against dust ingestion for longer switch and tool life. Sealed 100 percent ball-bearing construction provides longer life. The sander also features a high capacity dust bag with built-in vacuum adapter providing users with maximum dust collection with or without a vacuum.


  • 2.4 Amp motor sands at 14,000 opm, providing a superior finish
  • Textured anti-slip top and body grip provides ultimate comfort and control during use
  • Dust-Sealed Switch protects against dust ingestion for longer switch life
  • Sealed 100 percent ball-bearing construction provides longer life
  • High capacity dust bag with built-in vacuum adapter provides maximum dust collection with or without a vacuum
  • Dual plane, counter-balanced low-vibration design reduces user fatigue


Once your fence is sanded power wash the dust particles and apply a wood prep.




Premium all in one wood cleaner

A cleaner specifically formulated to clean and brighten wood surfaces as well as remove mildew stains. This unique product will also remove tannin bleed, red clay stains, rust stains on wood and masonry, and clean vinyl/aluminum siding, composite decks and more!


Be sure to have a source for water, hose with nozzle and stiff bristle broom or brush.

Wear protective clothing, goggles, acid resistant gloves.

You can apply this product with a pump sprayer





The RL Flo-Master 1.5-Gal. Polyethylene-Tank Sprayer is designed for applying sealers and semi-transparent stains to wood and masonry surfaces such as decks, fences, patios and driveways. The translucent tank provides easy liquid-level monitoring while the flat, fan-patterned nozzle delivers uniform coverage.


  • Applies chemicals to masonry and wood
  • 1.5-gallon capacity
  • Translucent polyethylene tank for viewing of liquid levels
  • Flat-fan nozzle provides consistent coverage
  • Flow control can be locked for continuous spraying
  • Flow-control slot in the pump handle for convenient storage



Once this is done power wash the fence if you do not own one you can definitely rent one. Check your local Home Depot for pricing.



There are two different stains and again a matter of personal preference.


There’s a semi-transparent which means you can see the wood grain.



The Behr Premium 1-Gallon Semi-Transparent Acrylic Deck, Fence and Siding Weatherproofing Wood Stain is formulated for easy application with a brush, roller or sprayer. The formula provides complete weather protection for your decks, fences and siding. It resists mildew growth for long-lasting beauty.


  • Provides complete protection for decks, fences and siding against snow, rain, ice and sunlight
  • Formulated for easy application with a brush, roller or sprayer
  • Requires only soap and water for chemical-free cleaning
  • Resists mildew growth to maintain a pristine appearance
  • 300 sq. ft. of coverage



A solid color stain which hides the wood grain and it looks more like paint.





 The BEHR Process Corporation Premium 1-Gallon Water-Based Deck, Fence and Siding Weatherproofing Wood Stain resists the growth of mildew to maintain a pristine appearance. This stain protects your exterior wood surfaces from harsh weather conditions. It can be applied easily with a brush, roller or sprayer.


  • Designed for application on exterior wood surfaces including decks, siding and fences
  • Formulated for use with a brush, roller or sprayer for an easy application
  • Water-based formula cleans up with soap and water
  • Weatherproofing formula protects against harsh weather conditions
  • Resists UV damage to maintain a like-new appearance
  • Waterproof formula helps prolong the wood's natural beauty
  • Resists the growth of mildew to maintain a pristine appearance
  • Provides up to 300 sq. ft. of coverage

Now you’re ready for spraying, I suggest if you’re going to use a power painter/sprayer rent it if it’s for one time use. If you think you can use it on other projects in or outside of the home buy it.

If you haven’t worked with a sprayer before, grab a huge piece of card board or old ply wood that’s been hanging out in the garage and practice. Get a feel for the sprayer, play with the settings to control how much paint flow is coming out. Best part of this whole process everything is water and soap clean up. Check your local Home Depot for pricing Information.




This is probably one of the easiest ways.

If your fence was previously stained or even painted use a Bin Primer.



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The B-I-N 1-gallon Shellac-Based White Primer-Sealer is suitable for priming and sealing interior surfaces and for spot priming on exterior surfaces. The primer-sealer is formulated to adhere on dense, smooth or slick surfaces without pre-sanding for flexible application and the high-hide formula helps prevent persistent stains from showing through.


  • Great for use on interior surfaces and for spot priming on exterior surfaces; can be applied in freezing temperatures
  • Suitable for application on interior ceilings, walls, doors, trim, cabinets and furniture
  • Superior adhesion on dense, smooth and slick surfaces without scuff sanding
  • High-hiding formula blocks stubborn and persistent stains
  • Seals bleeding knots and sap streaks; seals in the acrid smell of fire
  • Seals water, soot and grease stains
  • Fast-drying formula reduces time before recoating


As for The Paint I recommend the exterior Behr Ultra





BEHR PREMIUM PLUS ULTRA Exterior Paint and Primer in One, featuring NANOGUARD Technology, provides an extra protective shell that shields against damage from sunlight, moisture, stains and dirt. It’s the perfect choice for all weather climates, even for application in temperature as low as 35°F (2°C). The unique molecular structure provides excellent adhesion to multiple surfaces including metal, wood, vinyl, masonry, stucco and brick.


  • Paint and a primer in one
  • Ideal for painting rusted metals and tannic woods or making drastic color changes
  • Exceptional hide and coverage
  • Enhanced mildew resistant finish
  • Backed by limited lifetime guarantee
  • Simple application with brushes, rollers and sprays
  • Satin enamel sheen offers a pearl-like appearance

Good luck on your project we would like to see pictures when it’s done thank you. Any more questions I’ll be happy to assist. ThePaintAvenger

Posted 2012-08-09T14:55:07+0000  by Soheil_HD_BOS




I am familiar with shadow board fencing as it is very common here in the Portland, Oregon area, where it is also known as "ggod neighbor" fencing. I actually have ove 250 feet of it around my lot.


To answer your first question: Does a sprayer lend itself to the painting of this type fence. The answer is yes and no. If both you and your neighbor are going to use the same color stain/paint on the fence, there is no problem. However, if he is going to treat his side with a different color, he will be very unhappy if you spray yourside! Why? When you spray the back board, you will get "blowback" which will then deposit your color on his side of the fence. This will probably not make him happy. Further, even if you brush or roll the fence, certain areas, such as the top of the bottom rail, show to his side of the fence. Also, you will have to be very careful not to accidentally hit his side while rolling/brushing or have drips work their way around to his side.


Obviously, it is best if you can decide on a common color for both sides of the fence. It is also highly desireable that both sides of the fence be stained/painted for optimum protection. You don't want moisture entering the boards from an unsealed backside.


At this point I wil make the assumption that the fence is rough cedar, as this is by far the most common material for this type of fence. If the fence has been stained/painted previously, you will never get all the original color out of the wood. This leaves you with the choice of either using a transparent stain of a similar tone, or going with either a solid hide stain or out right housepaint.


My personal choice, both for ultimate protection and dealing with the existing color, would be to go with a solid hide acrylic stain. A solid hide stain will totally hide the grain, but let all the texture of the rough cut grain show. Solid hide stains are also self-priming, that is, you just go around twice with the stain. Solid hide stains give far more protection than the semi-transparent or transparent stains. It is the amount of pigment in a stain which blocks the sun's UV rays which break down the wood.


Why do I prefer stain over paint? Paint puts on a much heavier film. This tends to hide the texture of the wood. But further, it also lets the wood breathe less than stain. Wood that cannot breathe will probably be subject to peeling. Fences, like decks, have many areas which can allow water to work its way into the grain of the wood. Come the heat of the summer, that moisture wants out. If the paint film cannot let it respire fast enough, it will peel.


Two of the most vulnerable areas of a fence are the top and bottom of the boards. These end grain areas will wick water  into the boards. Further, fences never get stained before assembly. The bare board sits on the bare rail. Water can seep into the board at this point.


One concern when using acrylic paints or stains over cedar is the possibility of tannic acid bleed through. Cedar contains water soluble tannic acid which might leach its way through the stain to the surface. This is less likely on older cedar which has been exposed to the weather. It would probably not be noticable on darker colors. Further, if 24 hours of cure time is allowed for the first coat, it is highly unlikely that it will continue to bleed through to the second coat.


Preparation: Fortunately, rough cut cedar allows for very vigorous power washing. Power washing alone will knock off most of any graying and a lot of the original color residue. If signsof mildew or algae are present, it is a good idea to use a mildecide. Behrs All In One Deck Cleaner will do a good job of aiding in the cleaning. It is best applied with a pump sprayer.


My first choice for a solid hide stain would be Behr's Solid Color Deck,Fence & Siding Stain. This is actually the mid-line grade from Behr, but it has gotten a "Best Buy" review from Consumer's Report. It will supposedly last up to 15 years. Verticle surfaces such as fences perform much better than decks, so this is not an unreasonable claim.


Hope this has been helpful..

Posted 2012-08-10T06:05:25+0000  by ordjen
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