Today's Tom Sawyer: Painting our picket fence
March 27, 2007 8:56 AM   Subscribe

We are replacing a section of our white wood picket fence that someone's car hit and want to give the whole thing another coat of paint while we're at it so that the new section will blend in with the old section. What do we need to do?

First, I don't know what type of paint to use. One home improvement site said to use a non-glossy paint so that you don't have to sand it off the next time you reapply, and another specifically said to use a semi-gloss. Help! (I am thinking about something like this severe weather exterior latex flat finish paint (15 yr warranty)?)

Also, the fence is huge and I'm concerned about the amount of work related to the repainting project. Google has suggested that we need to clean off all mildew by hand with a bleach solution or the mildew will just grow through the new paint. Google also says to run a wire roller by hand over the whole thing before painting to loosen any peeling paint. Is this correct, and can anyone recommend any time-saving devices? This is alot to do by hand! (Note that there would be less than a week between all cleaning/prepping and the actual painting, so we'd have to replan this if any of the prepping required a long lead-time.)

Finally, my parents are helping with the actual replacement part and I think that is under control (replacing a post and two fence lengths with new materials and some old unbroken parts salvaged from the knocked-down fence), but if you have anything to say about that, too, I'll listen!

Thanks, in advance, for your input!
posted by onlyconnect to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
Best answer: I'm an experienced painter in film, commercial and residential painting...

1.] Is the original an oil based paint or latex¿
2.] Is it a matte finish or semigloss, an experienced painter will tell you.

To test whether it's an alkyde or latex, take a clear nail polish remover ]acetone[ on a cotton swab and rub a spot. If paint comes off, it's latex based, if it gets shiny, it's alkyde based. Reason being, if it's alkyde, you'll need to prime it first before applying a latex top coat. If it's latex, just sand and apply topcoat, no primer required. I am suggesting a Latex paint be used. Doesn't fade as fast, is durable ]it's like painting in plastic[ and clean up is with water, not mineral spirits.

Alkyde based paints fade faster than latex. You won't be able to get the original paint colour and expect it to blend in with the rest of the fence colour. Nowadays, I see no reason to use alkyde based paints. The exterior latexes are unbelievable. Paint companies do a lot of R&D on these things. Alkyde being better is from days gone by. A latex primer called Gripper by ici/Duluth, is so sticky and good, it'll take 2 days to just get it off your hands./

Take a small paint chip sample to the paint store and they will colour match it dead on. Use a blade and pry off to the left of new addition And to the right of the new addition, to see if there is a huge colour difference. It will have to be taken from a spot where you can see it, where the sun has worked it's magic on it. Just a quarter cent size piece is sufficient.

You always sand before applying a fresh coat. No such thing as 15 yr warranty. No way. One could expect maybe 5 years +, but... and at $15.00/gallon, that's unbelievably cheap. A more expensive paint covers better, less coats and is worth the money. Avoid Behr ]HomeDepot brand[ it's crap. Around $45.00/gallon in Canada is a top grade price.

As I'm in Canada, Exterior Latex top line Benjamin Moore, Ici/Duluth Exterior Guard and Para are good. Top of the line though, not mid grade.

If the fence you replaced is raw wood, you'll have to prime it. The wood may have had a preservative coat ]that green coloured one say[.
A quality primer is Zinsser. Use their Alkyde Primer ]I think it's called Bullseye[, because it'll cover the knot holes and they won't bleed through with time. Don't use a latex primer for outdoors. Then you can use latex, 2 top coats over it. A primer is not a top coat paint you understand.

If painted surfaces are going to be repainted, always use a scraper ]the 5in1 or 9in1 tool for instance[ to remove loose paint. Then you need to sand it, depending on the condition of the surface, an 80 grit or 100 grit, so the surface will be smoother.
If a surface to be repainted is showing mold, then yes, a bleach solution wiped on with a cloth will be recommended. Let dry properly before applying primer.

Painting is a lot of work. Physical work to boot. Short cuts¿ I don't think so. If you omitt certain steps, that's your shortcut, but after time, your shortcuts will show. The paint will peel, because you didn't sand or prime paint over an alkyde, for instance. It'll look great after painting, but about that 15 yr warranty...if you didn't follow procedure, you won't get a nickle back, I'm sure.

Any more questions¿

Good luck. Oh, use a good quality brush, not from the dollar store, it'll make the experience less painless. 1 brush, 3" wide, nylon, which you wash and reuse. Washing/cleaning brushes is another topic though....
posted by alicesshoe at 10:22 AM on March 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Wow. That was so helpful. Thanks, alicesshoe!!!
posted by onlyconnect at 10:38 AM on March 27, 2007

I was going to say something along the lines of "make sure when your friends go by you pretend to be having a really good time painting the fence..."

Then I saw your title, which rocks more than my cheap comment could.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:34 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

You're welcome and good luck. Paint shorter strokes and the final pass all the way one stroke. Load it up with paint.

Yeah, wear a straw hat and one long straw for between your teeth./
posted by alicesshoe at 7:01 PM on March 27, 2007

Response by poster: Hi, hey, one more question. Are you saying all of the old paint of the fence should be scraped and sanded off? Or just scraped/sanded off enough to make the wood porous enough to hold another layer of paint? I don't really understand why we'd have to get all the old paint off . . .

Thanks again!
posted by onlyconnect at 8:19 PM on March 27, 2007

« Older Taking the plunge into plasma   |   How do I delete a stubborn mpeg file? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.