Saturday, 31 May 2008

Painting Fences - Spruce It Up This Spring

Painting your fence every few years is a great way to spruce up the look of your yard and extend the life of the fence. Different types of fences require different methods of painting.

Your previously painted wood fence will need to be touched up every year or two, or completely repainted. Either way, these fences often have offset boards that defy ordinary painting methods and are usually made of rough lumber. The paint tool of choice should be a sprayer.

Prior to painting you should prepare the fence by scraping away any flakes and chips.

If your fence is not too large, a handheld cup sprayer would work, these usually have a quart size reservoir. For a larger fence, refilling a quart size reservoir would become tiresome. Instead, consider renting an airless sprayer with a suction tube that can be used with any size container.

Try to control your overspray by following these tips:

-Do not spray paint on windy days. Wait for calm weather to paint.

-Check the opposite side of the fence and be sure that there is no car, lawn equipment or other object near the fence. Ask your neighbor to move everything of value from the area.

-Buy plastic sheeting and staple it so it drapes over the opposite side of the fence. When you paint the backside of the fence, remove the sheeting and cover your own side of the fence so that airborne paint is stopped before it can travel or become windblown.

-Finally, don't over thin your paint or stain.

Chain-link fencing has a durable galvanized coating that keeps it trouble-free for years. Eventually, though, even this galvanizing will fail, and the fence will require painting.

Wire fencing can be difficult to paint. Brushing on paint is usually slow and tedious, while spraying the open fencing permits too much wasted paint from overspray. The best solution is to use a long-nap paint roller, about 1" to 1-1/2". The long nap reaches into the weave of the wire and covers hard to reach corners. Try to get your neighbor to paint his side at the same time. This way, you will see each others' misses and can touch up the paint as you go.

Before starting, use a rotary wire brush to clean away loose rust on the fence. You can also use an ordinary wire brush to clean the surface. When everything is properly prepared, wipe down the fence with a sponge that has been soaked in mineral spirits. When the fence is dry, apply the paint. Be sure to use a paint designed for covering metal, not woods.

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