How to Paint a Fence With A Roller [In 6 Easy Steps]

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Your fence is undoubtedly an important part of your home. It provides privacy, security, and a great deal of curb appeal.

Once you have successfully built a fence to secure your home, routine maintenance can keep it neat and strong for years.

By taking care of the finish, you’ll be preventing damage from insects and rot and helping to reduce decomposition.

Interestingly, painting a fence can be an easy task if you know how to do it properly. By the time you’re done reading this guide, you will learn how to paint a fence with a roller so you can enjoy all the benefits it brings to your property.

Compared to paintbrushes, rollers are known to be easier and faster to use. This is why most people often use it for their fence painting project.

Importance of Painting Your Fence

how to paint a fence with a roller

Here are some of the reasons why you should always keep your fence painted and neat:

  • The fence panel will remain will not rot, but be in good condition
  • Endure seasonal weather conditions
  • Improve the look and style of your fence

Taking care of your fence will refresh and breathe life into it while protecting it against the elements, such as rainwater which creates splits and cracks, and UV rays which cause the wooden fence to grey over time.

How Often Should You Paint Your Fence?

Depending on the type of paint you use, you may need to repaint your fence every two to four years.

Moisture is always the enemy of fence. Adequate painting or staining helps to prevent moisture from damaging the wood fence.

Furthermore, your fence painting frequency will also depend on the weather in your region. With rainy regions, for example, you may need to do it more often, while dry regions may need less frequent fence maintenance.

Most painting experts recommend every 2 to 3 years, but the best way to figure out what you need is to check for beading.

On a sealed or stained fence, if water doesn’t bead up on the surface anymore, but instead soaks in, that may be the best time for maintenance.

Finally, you also want to check painted surfaces for chips, cracks, and wear to know when you need to paint the fence again.

What Paint Should You Use for Your Fence?

Wood paint is the best to use for fence painting. This is because it is durable, tough, and in most cases can easily be wiped clean.

Additionally, using undercoat or primer on your panels before painting will help to increase the lifespan of your fence, so you won’t need to redecorate very often.

There are lots of paint products out there that you can use on exterior wood fence. They’re designed to be highly durable and weather resistant.

This is usually oil-based paints, but it’s always good to check the product information to see exactly the paint’s intended use.

For your fence painting, you want to use a treatment or color that’s created for rough sawn timber. Most paint colors and stains are specially developed to color and protect fences, sheds, and other garden wood.

Make sure you go for a stain or paint that’s ideal for exterior use. Also, don’t forget to buy enough to cover all areas of the fence. And if you’re using a paint sprayer, check the stain or paint’s compatibility.

You can also apply a little amount of the paint to a portion of the fence that’s not too noticeable first and let it dry to ensure you like it before painting the entire fence.

Finally, here are some of our most recommended paints for fence:

Tools Needed for Fence Painting

While our primary focus on this article is painting a fence with a roller, you still need to understand that painting by hand can take lots of time, especially if you’re doing it for the first time.

So you might want to consider using a pump sprayer as they’re 5X faster than using a roller.

Rollers are basically best for painting small fence areas. But if you are going to be painting a large fence, it may be worth investing in a paint sprayer for fence.

That said, below are the necessary tools you’ll need for the job:


You’ll obviously need more than one roller for this job. A 9-inch roller should be used to cover large areas, while a smaller 4-inch roller is ideal for staining the nooks and crannies.

While trying to buy the right roller for the job, consider the nap of the roller. For example, fences that are rough will need rollers with deeper naps so you can get the best coverage.

And you will need the biggest nap for a highly textured fence. However, if you’re in doubt about the right roller to buy, seek professional advice.

Finally, a long-handled roller will be required for tall fences, in order to cover areas that would otherwise be hard to reach.


In most cases, you will need a paintbrush to smooth the stain or paint and get to the deepest crevices of the fence. So, it’s important to get a 1-inch paintbrush and large 3-inch paintbrush as you may need them along the line.

Other handy materials you might need include:

  • Paint tray
  • Tarp
  • Rags
  • Mask
  • Paint stirrer
  • Garden canes
  • Safety goggles
  • Protective suit
  • Plant garden ties
  • Sandpaper
  • Ladder
  • Exterior wood preserver
  • Fence cleaner

How to Paint a Fence With a Roller

how to paint a fence with a brush

1. Cover your plants

The first step is to protect your vegetation and plants by covering them to ensure with something that they won’t be affected by the paint. If needed, you can also trim back any of the leaves to create space for yourself.

If any plants are still resting on the fence and you can’t cover or trim them, then pin them back temporarily using plant canes and ties.

2. Prepare your fence for painting

The next step is to prepare the fence panels by removing any old screws or nails sticking out of them. You should also remove any decorations and any other objects that may stand in the way.

Then sand any rough parts or fragments sticking out of the panels to make sure that they are as flat and smooth as possible to guarantee a fine finish.

3. Apply primer

Once you’re done with the sanding, apply a layer of primer to all the fence panels and allow it to dry completely.

This will enable you to achieve a better finish in the end, and improve the life of your paint.

4. Start Painting the fence with the roller

Using the roller and a large paintbrush, start painting the fence panels with your chosen color. Use vertical strokes for vertical panes of wood, and horizontal strokes for horizontal panes of wood.

Following the timber grain’s direction will also give you a smoother and better finish and also help you to get all areas of the fence covered much easier.

Apply the paint freely, ensuring that there’s enough to penetrate the wood fully while making sure you don’t leave drips. Start from the top of the fence and work your way down so you can catch every drop.

If your fence is built from lap panels, ensure that there are no drips going down the other side of the fence.

Alternatively, you can use a specially designed spray paint like the ones mentioned here, which can paint an entire fence in a matter of minutes, making it easier to paint evenly.

If you’re using a fence sprayer, be careful not to miss any areas. Use a paintbrush to paint the small spaces between posts and panels.

Furthermore, apply a second coat of paint to the fence panels if needed; however, most high-quality fence paint usually only need one coat.

5. Remove the coverings

Remove all the covering from your vegetation and plants as well as any temporary plant canes and ties you used.

Don’t forget to wait until the paint has totally dried up before uncovering them. So that they don’t get paint on them as it may damage the plant.

6. Clean your painting materials

Now that you’re done, the final step is to wash and clean your painting materials to preserve them for future use.

Oil-based paints are always thicker than water-based, and they usually require a white spirit to clean to ensure that all paint traces are completely removed. Using white spirit will equally ensure an easier and better cleanup process.

Fence Painting Safety Tips

  • Ensure that you wear a dust mask when prepping the fence. This way, you can avoid inhalation of the dust, which can be toxic to your health
  • Wear protective goggles to avoid eye splashes
  • To also protect your clothing, wear a disposable suit, except you have old clothes you aren’t bothered about staining
  • Always wear suitable gloves to prevent the paint from touching your hand
  • Use impermeable gloves for water-based paints, and gloves that are solvent-resistant for solvent-based products
  • You may also need to put on a respiratory facemask when using some paint products. Ensure you properly check the recommendations on the paint packaging before starting
  • If wood paint touches your skin, wash it off with warm soapy water immediately. And if the paint touches your eye, wash with clean, warm water until you get rid of all the paints
  • When painting high areas, use step ladders safely. You want to ensure there are no slippery materials at the bottom of the steps
  • Wear suitable shoes and be careful when climbing and working on the ladder

Finally, watch the short video below to get a better understanding of how to paint a fence with a roller:


I believe you now have everything you need on how to use a roller for fence painting. As you can see, it’s not as difficult as you thought.

All is required of you is to get all the materials mentioned here, and follow the step by step process here to give your fence a new life.

Let us know via the comment section if you have any question about fence painting with a roller.

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