Do You Know How to Paint a Picket Fence?

redbazelApril 11, 2009

I googled, but I can't find something simple and to the point that will help me decide whether to tackle this job.

My sister's white picket fence, installed two years ago, has something yellow coming thru the white paint. My DD says it's like a sap or something oily coming out of the white-painted boards. She wants to go over there and take on this fence re-painting project. I MIGHT be willing, but I need to have a clear idea of HOW MUCH WORK IS INVOLVED! I am working full time. So is she. Don't even THINK about suggesting my sister for this project. In fact, my sister has NO idea we are contemplating. Her mother-in-law, who is 80, lives in the back part of the duplex and it is worrying her. That's why we may do it. So, what do we HAVE to do????

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Can't believe I just saw this, Red - I'm your go-to gal on fence painting! There's nothing hard about it, it's just time consuming. These are spaced pickets? If so, then you have 4 sides on each picket to paint (duh) and the four sides of the top and bottom rails to paint plus fence posts. Hopefully you can access the fence from both sides to make life easier and a friendly neighbor shares the fence.

Clean the fence first, knock off any loose dirt and wash off anything stuck like bird poo. Then you need to use a stain blocking primer and unless the paint that's on there is particularly shiney, you can prime right over what's there. Once that's dry, paint away with an exterior latex. As for tools, it's really up to you. You can use mini rollers or a brush or a combination, which is what I do.

Now let me tell you my picket fence story; In my old house there was a picket fence in the backyard between my house and the neighbor - a not very neighborly neighbor. But I wanted to freshen the fence so I repainted it on both sides (because I am a neighborly neighbor) without stepping foot in her yard. I hung myself over that fence and painted upside down! Never heard a word from her, not thank you - nothing. But I came home from work one day to find the fence had been repainted - on her side only - in BLACK! Only thing was, she painted the sides of each picket, too, so that looking at it from my side I had a zebra striped fence! There was no getting through to her about the absurdity, and I really didn't want to initiate a legal/court response over paint. So I stewed for a few weeks then installed a privacy fence just inside the picket fence - lost a few inches of yard but it was worth it. That double fence stayed there till she sold and new people moved in 20 year later.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 2:24PM
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OK, Deb. You win for crazy neighbor story. And she couldn't be moved to freshen her fence till she saw what you had done. Weird. Glad for you she's gone.
Thanks for the help. In my head, I'm thinking..............maybe 2 or 3 hours work? Nope. I see the light. So, now we have to decide if we can do this. The installers (cheap labor) probably didn't prime at all huh, if sap is leaking through?


    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 2:34PM
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A sprayer is the way to go! Spot prime the bleedthru with a shellac based primer and spray the rest. Throw down some plastic over the shrubbery, prime, then paint. It can be a couple of hours worth of work with a sprayer.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 2:49PM
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I agree with live prime and spray it~~~

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 3:14PM
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Rent an airless sprayer, Kills may stop the oozing of sap, then spray paint with a nice outdoor paint.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 3:54PM
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The only picket fence I ever painted, I rented a large paint pump type sprayer; the kind that sits on a 5 gallon paint pail. They shoot paint like a mofo. Watch for overspray on everything nearby. Have a helper holding a good size hunk of cardboard behind the pickets. Brush out the paint if possible for better adhesion.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 8:46PM
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There are a lot of things I'll spray but a fence would be tough - too much risk of overspray as Casey said and if there is a driveway or cars in the vicinity - yikes. What's around it - a garden? just grass? That will make a difference.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 9:43PM
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I once watched painters paint my friends fence. They used a sprayer, but tacked one end of a painters drop cloth onto a 2x4. One guy held the cloth up behind the fence while the other guy sprayed. It took no time at all!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 2:25PM
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Just grass. Driveway on one side, the neighbor's dirt drive on the other.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 2:33PM
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I just finished ALL of mine. I had a brush and a bucket and a tiny brush for the hard to get to places. Wish I had had Deb here to help!! I couldn't use a sprayer as there were too many "things" that would be ruined so it was the long way for me too. I used white stain not paint. Much better I think than paint. We'll see though. But I am not doing it again for a LONG time LOL. c

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 3:50PM
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I paint a fence by piking up the phone, putting on a straw hat, making a nice dry martini, and watching the painters work.

But the drop cloth on the 2 x 4 and the sprayer sounds like a brilliant method!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 6:21PM
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I was going to say but Brownysmom beat me to it.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 7:19PM
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I painted a few panels of 4x4 lattice (8 ft high!) at my FL house. Never again. The next set, I hired out. I didn't think fencing was the right opportunity to learn how to use a sprayer. If you've done it before...then maybe. Dirt and grass does sound like a user-friendly situation though.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 8:06PM
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I would not want a sprayer to be used to paint a picket in my garden because of the spray onto the lawn, the flowers, the birds, etc. I want a painter adept at using a brush. There are many different brushes for hard-to-reach areas as well. I also do not want my pergola sprayed. I want good coverage so it does not have to be done every year.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 8:34PM
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