How to Paint or Stain a Fence Using an Airless Sprayer
Staining or painting your fence will help preserve and protect it from the sun and weather while improving your home’s overall curb appeal.
Safety Notice: Whenever operating spray equipment, take proper safety precautions, stay alert, and be mindful of potential hazards. Wear protective gear such as gloves, safety glasses/goggles, spray sock (hood), hat, proper footwear, dust masks and respirators. Make sure there is adequate ventilation. If you’re painting in the vicinity of appliances, turn them off. (See Safety Precautions in your Sprayer Operation Manual.) Always refer to the specific instructions and safety procedures for the spray equipment you are using.
WATCH: How to Spray a Fence (2:57)
Suggested Tools & Equipment
- Graco, Magnum, or TrueCoat Paint Sprayer (visit Paint Sprayer category page to compare models)
- Spray tips – a wider spray pattern for large surfaces and narrow size for smaller surfaces (see tip selector)
- Empty buckets for priming sprayer and cleanup (two needed)
- Stir sticks
- Paint strainer bag – helps prevent tip plugs and provides a better finish
- Tarps, drop cloths, or plastic sheeting
- Masking tape
- Paint brush for touch-ups
- Magnum tip extension – for hard-to-reach areas that would otherwise require a ladder
- Pressure roller kit (optional)
- Additional airless hose sections if needed
- Spray shield
- Pump Armor storage fluid or TSL fluid (see pump protectant product details)
- Cleaning rags
- Stiff nylon brushes for cleanup
- Safety and protection equipment – safety glasses/goggles, dust mask/respirator, spray sock or hat to cover head
- Move any outdoor furniture away from the area to be sprayed. Remove any items that may be hanging on the fence such as plant hangers or trellises, and allow plenty of space for your tools and equipment.
- Cover all nearby shrubs, bushes, plants or surfaces you want to protect with plastic tarps to prevent them form overspray. Talk to your neighbor first if you’ll need access to their yard, and be sure to protect their items, landscaping and house as well.
- If you are re-painting, scrape off rough or flaking areas and sand along the grain of the wood. Whether painting or staining, wash the fence as thoroughly as possible with a pressure washer and cleaning solution. Allow surface to dry completely.
- Select the spray tip that’s best suited for the stain you are using and the surface to be sprayed. In most cases, a tip with a narrower 8-inch-wide spray pattern and a .013 hole size will give you the best control. Be sure the tip’s hole size does not exceed the maximum capacity of your sprayer (see spray tip info).
- If you’re using paint from multiple containers, mix it together in an empty 5-gallon container to ensure consistent color even if small color differences exist between individual paint cans. When spraying lighter materials like stains, select the lowest pressure setting that enables you to maintain a good spray pattern. Lower pressure settings will give you better control and a finer finish.
- Apply paint or stain by spraying along each board lengthwise, following the grain of the wood.
Visit How to Use a Paint Sprayer: Spray Techniques for more spraying pointers.
- Allow significant time for the paint or stain to dry; then remove all coverings from shrubs, bushes and plants on both sides of the fence.
- Return any furniture or other items to their proper place – don’t forget to move your neighbor’s items to their original locations as well.
- Replace any lighting fixtures that you removed and move furniture or other items back into place.
- Clean your airless paint sprayer after each use. Follow the directions in your user’s manual for Power Flush cleaning with water based materials or use the bucket method of cleaning if applicable. For more information, see Power Flush Video or refer to your Sprayer Operation Manual.
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