how to paint a fence with a roller

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

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.

But that’s not all, we’re also going to show you how to paint wooden fence with a paint sprayer, in case you want a faster job.

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.[/su_note]

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.

Read Also: Mildew Resistant Paint Review

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.

Read Also: Best Paint for Exterior Surfaces

There are lots of paint products out there that you can use on an 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

[su_note note_color=”#ebeec6″ radius=”5″]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 fenced areas. But if you are going to be painting a large fence, it may be worth investing in a paint sprayer for a fence.

That said, below are the necessary tools you’ll need for the job:[/su_note]


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. But you can also use extension ladder for that.


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.

How to Paint Wooden Fence with Paint Sprayer

We’ve now entered the fun part! In this section, we’ll be looking at how to paint a wooden fence with a paint sprayer.

To start, fill your paint sprayer with your desired paint or stain. Read the manual that comes with the tool to find out which nozzle you’ll need on the sprayer, based on the paint type you’re using.

However, if you’re not familiar with paint sprayers, watch the short video below to learn how to assemble and dismantle the sprayer:

We suggest you do your wooden fence paint spraying early in the morning before the hot sun comes out. This will help you to get a nice smooth finish, instead of struggling to paint on already dried sections.

It’s also important to always keep a damp cloth close when painting in case of any overspray. It’s easy to clean paint on surfaces if you discovered it early enough.

And when you’re spray painting your wooden fence, the sprayer should be approximately 8-12 inches away from the surface you’re painting. Then move up and down the surface evenly, leaving a light coat of paint.

NOTE: Having too much paint in one spot can lead to runs of streaks, so endeavor to use thin coats.

When you are done painting the wooden fence with a sprayer, try to clean the tool immediately. This is because leaving it for too long results in it getting clogged easily. Even if you just want to stop and rest a little, never leave your paint sprayer for over 30 minutes, else, it can be a core to clean it out later.

Finally, when cleaning your paint sprayer, simply take it apart, and follow the cleaning directions on the manual. If you’re using oil-based paints, you can clean it up with mineral spirits, but water-based paints can easily be cleaned with soapy water.

Read Also: How to Paint a Garage Floor

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, the video below will give you a better understanding of how to paint a fence with a roller:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you paint a fence with a roller?

Yes, you can paint a fence with a roller and it’s very easy. You can paint all the flat surfaces using a roller and then paint the edges and fiddly bits with a paintbrush. Allow to dry completely before applying a second coat.

What kind of roller do you use to paint a fence?

Use a small 4-inch paint roller to stain the nooks and crannies of the fence and a bigger 9-inch roller to paint large areas. It’s worth noting that rougher fences will require rollers that has deeper naps, in order to achieve the best coverage.

Is it better to spray or roll stain on a fence?

You can do either of the two, but it’ll be faster to use an airless paint sprayer to apply wood fence stain. Using only paintbrush and roller for this task will be labor-intensive and very time-consuming.

Simply rent an airless sprayer from your paint store and you can effortlessly stain an entire fence in a few hours.

Do I need to prime my fence before painting?

Yes, we highly suggest you prime your fence before painting, as this will help to increase the lifespan of your wood so you won’t need to repaint them anytime soon.

How do you prepare a fence for painting?

Before painting your fence, you will want to get rid of any algae, moss, fungi, or lichen using a good fungicidal wash.

Also, if the wood was previously stained or painted, you will have to strip it back to bare wood. Just ensure that the surfaces are dry and free from dirt before applying the paints.

Can you stain a fence without pressure washing first?

Yes, you can stain a fence without pressure washing it; however, the new stain will likely not penetrate the wood properly as it will just sit on top of the old finish.

Does painting a fence make it last longer?

Yes, painting a wood fence can help it last longer and look more appealing. A good paint for fence will somewhat increase the lifespan of the fence by protecting it against rot, insects, wear, and tear.

Can you use a roller on a wooden fence?

A Word About Materials

Use a 9-inch roller to cover large areas, and a smaller 4-inch roller to stain the nooks and crannies. Consider the nap of the roller as you’re trying to purchase the right rollers right for this project. Rougher fences will need rollers with deeper naps, in order to get the best coverage.

Should I use a brush or roller to stain a fence?

For the best results with a brush, pick a staining brush that’s 4 or 5 inches wide. If you opt for a pad, the best type for fence staining is a pad with a fluffy nap, such as the pads that are sometimes labeled for use on decks. Finally, if you’re using a roller, any paint roller will do.

What Colour fence makes a garden look bigger?

A cream or off-white fence paint colour will create a bright, airy feel which naturally forms the illusion of a larger garden.

What kind of brush do you use to paint a fence?

Size — A brush size of 4 to 5 inches is ideal for the average fence. Rollers should be 9 inches long for the main surface, and 4 inches long for smaller posts and surfaces. Material — For brushes, stiffer bristles made of synthetic materials will help you apply stain best.

Can you paint over old fence paint?

Paint. Although you can’t stain over paint you can paint over stain. Sand the fence lightly to remove any dirt, weathered stain and loose bits of wood before working a couple coats of paint into every nook and cranny.

Can you use a roller to stain fence?

If using a roller, opt for a medium nap roller cover, then fully saturate the nap with the stain. Apply the stain in two- to three-foot sections of the fence at a time, taking care to back-brush, or re-paint over uncovered areas left by the previous stroke, with a wide brush.

What is a roller nap?

The nap of a roller cover refers to the length of its fibers—yet another important decision to make based on the project at hand. Different naps are good for different surfaces. As a general rule, the shorter the nap, the smoother the surface you’ll use it on.

How do you paint an outdoor wood fence?

Make sure you select paint and a primer that are appropriate for wood, and safe for exterior use. For wooden fences, we recommend oil-based paint, since it’s the most durable. When you have your paint and primer, do a test run by painting a small, out-of-the-way part of the fence and let it dry for 24 hours.

Can you stain wood with a roller?

You can use any tool – rag, brush, paint pad, roller or spray gun – to apply the stain. You can even dip the object into stain or pour the stain onto the wood and spread it around. It’s only important that you wipe off all the excess before the stain dries. Brushing is the slowest method of applying stain.

Can you use a foam roller for stain?

Should You Use A Foam Roller For Stain? A stain roller should have a high-quality foam cover in order to be stain-resistant. In order to stain a large surface area, this material can hold enough stain to cover it. If you can spread the stain or paint with each pass, you’ll be able to complete the job more quickly.

Is it better to brush or spray a fence?

Staining or painting your fence will help preserve and protect it from the sun and weather while improving your home’s overall curb appeal. Using an airless sprayer for staining or painting a fence will allow you to finish the project up to 10x faster than using brushes and rollers.


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 questions about fence painting with a roller.

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