I think the first paint job I ever did was when my sister and I painted our Aunt's fence. If your painting chain link, wood, vinyl or any other type fence, you will find that it can be a huge chore when changing environmental conditions, have deteriorated the fence's previous finish.

If your looking for information on the best way to go about painting chain link, wood, vinyl or any other type fence, along with what products to use, the following page should help you get your how to paint a fence project completed.

For those who are painting chain link or a metal fence such as wrought iron, please refer to the painting chain link or metal fence section at the bottom of this page.

A fence made from vinyl can be painted in the same fashion as a wood fence but needs a specific primer prior to top coating. Most vinyl fences will also need to be sprayed using a paint sprayer depending on the fence being coated, if you are going to use a sprayer there is a fence spraying section below.
Before begining any job talk to your local paint supplier, regarding the products and tools one should use, in regards to the surface or project that you are staining or painting.


Whether your painting chain link, wood, vinyl or any other type fence, in most cases the work consists of scraping away old peeled, flaked coatings and then applying a paint or stain product, over top of the previous finish.

Both tasks of scraping and painting can cause a mess, so be sure to use drop cloths, painters tape and cardboard, especially when using a paint sprayer.

When your fence is raw cedar, redwood or treated lumber, you might want to let leave the wood uncoated depending on ones environmental conditions. Talk to your local lumber supplier or home improvement center regarding the kind of wood your fence is construed from and if it would be a good idea to leave your fence boards to weather naturally or coat them with a stain or paint.

Painting chain link, wood, vinyl, iron or any other type fence will require the application of eather a latex or alkyd product which has been manufactured to be a stain or paint coating.

If your fence has a previous coating and your going to recoat, it's probably best to stick with the original kind of coating. With that said, for those who wish to change from an oil to a latex (stain /paint) or visa versa , you still shouldn’t encounter any problems other than those mentioned below. If the fence has a paint finish, you can in most situations apply a solid stain to recoat, even so it's probably best to talk to your local paint supplier regarding the product, tools and materials to use for the type of surface being finished.

Semi-transparent oil stains and to some degree solid oil stains will give the least amount of work when it comes time for recoating. Another advantage with oil or alkyd stains is there ability to flow over the material being coated with a better spread rate (coverage) than latex. Yet, with excellent flow also comes a good number of runs, (especially with semi transparent stain) and the runs that appear seem to show up just after you have walked away. If you do decide to use an alkyd or oil product, be sure to regularly return to previously coated work, so as to touch up runs before they dry especialy when spraying chain link. Also, remember, with the ease of recoat comes a shorter duration between when you recoat, as oil (alkyd) products do not tend to last as long as latex coatings.

In almost all cases latex based products are easier to clean up and have a better last-ability than oil or alkyd coatings the drawback with a latex product is it can require more scraping of peeling paint when the coating finally fails, because of the pealing problem it's probably not a good idea to use a latex product when painting chain link or other intricate type fence materials like wrought iron. Not unless you intend on being diligent about recoating before the old application of latex starts to crack and peel.

Elastomeric will give the longest time between coats and is the only paint that I would recommend for a fence. What’s the disadvantages of elastomeric you ask. Well cost is one, due to it’s lower coverage rate and elastomeric can also require a good amount of scraping after it out lives it’s life span.

Flaking and peeling paint will require scraping and dirty boards need to be washed before you begin staining or painting chain link, wood, vinyl, iron or any other type fence.

I don’t recommend using a pressure washer on wood as they can scar the wood, unless of course the washer has a low setting, if so then you should have no problems using your washer.

Regular garden pressure and a scrub brush before painting chain link, wood, vinyl, iron or any other type fence will in most cases do the best cleaning job no matter how dirty your project is.

After the fence is washed, let it dry out completely before applying your coating. Also, if your going to end up with a large amount of old paint scrapings, you might want to scrap peelings onto a drop cloth, then throw the scrapings from your drop cloth into a garbage can. Smaller amounts of paint peelings on the other-hand will usualy degrade or blow away within a year or so.

When scraping, use scrapers that are sharp and have a smaller tool close by for the hard to get at places. As an example, for the boards face I use a regular (the wider the better) paint scraper, and a 1" to 3" putty knife for the difficult to scrape areas.

Some stain manufacturers recommend brushing only, especially when applying a semi-transparent product. I have always used a brush and roller with no problems on wooden fences. You’ll need to decide what tools will work bests with the project that you are doing.

If you do decide to use a brush and roller (low nap), applying a solid stain is a good choice. Just make sure the roller is about the width of the fence board, as a normal size roller can be cumbersome because fence boards side by side are almost never perfectly flat. Another thing to keep in mind is rolling each individual board in an up and down manner, like you would roll a wall, tends to work the best.

When your fence boards are spaced an inch or more apart, use a long skinny speed roller to coat the fence boards along with it’s face. Fence boards that are spaced closer together, need to be brushed or for a faster job, sprayed using a paint sprayer.

Painting chain link, vinyl, iron or most other types of fence with a brush and roller is do-able and will work fine but in most cases require the help of a paint sprayer.

For fast results a paint sprayer is your best bet. With the use of extra hands (that are inside a pair of gloves) on one side of the fence holding a large piece of cardboard and another chunk of cardboard slid under the fence to protect the ground you will have those boards, spindles, posts, or chain links sprayed out in no time.

If you do decide on spray painting chain link, wood, vinyl, iron or any other type fence, make sure you are familiar with the sprayer itself and remember to protect areas that you don’t want painted by using cardboard, painters tape, drop cloths, plastic or paper.

A paint sprayer (see using a paint sprayer above) is by far the best way to go about painting chain link, or any other type metal fence such as wrought iron, also, a new chain link fence should be left to weather for a year or two otherwise peeling and flaking will usualy occure. Once the chain link has weathered, spray on a coat of primer, one that's recomended for the type of metal your chain link is.

No mater what kind of metal your fence is manufactured from, you will need to use the proper primers and top coatings. Talk to your local paint supplier regarding primers, sprayers, tools and products that will be required for the job being done and type of surface your coating.


The most important thing to remember when painting chain link, wood, vinyl, iron or any other type fence is to recoat as soon as you begin to see the old finish begin to fail. Waiting to long for recoating, in the majority of situations will end up creating more work for you in the end, not to mention the extra cost to the old pocket book.

Most of the fence jobs I do are sprayed with a solid latex stain (the lighter the color is the better). Once the job is done I recommend recoating within five years. My own fence on the other-hand, is rolled with an alkyd semi-transparent stain, which I will change to an alkyd solid stain when It comes time to recoat. The stain has lasted about three years and by the looks of it will require very little scraping when I do re-stain, but as mentioned earlier, since it is an alkyd based product the finish has faded a lot and I would prefer to spend less time keeping the runs so using a solid alkyd stain as appose to semi-transparent should help.

Drop cloths, cardboard and plastic may need to be secured using tent pegs, rope, tape and rocks or bricks especially when it’s a little windy.


Looking for decorating solutions other than painting chain link, wood, vinyl, iron or any other type fence. Click on the home link. You should be able to find an idea by reading the text. If I have missed something or you would like to ask a question, e-mail me. Your address will be held in the strictest confidence. I‘ll also try and answer you, in as prompt a manner as possible.