In this guide we’ll take a look at the best fence paints on the market.
I’ve compared colour, quality, longevity and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What Is The Best Fence Paint?
In a rush? Here’s my top choice…
Exceptional, classic finish without the harmful chemicals
This Bartoline Creosote Substitute Fence Treatment will give your fences a new lease of life. Coating them in a dark brown finish, the wood will be protected from the elements whilst looking completely refreshed!
Things to Know Before Buying Fence Paint
No matter how much hard work you put into your garden it will never look its best if there are tatty, discoloured fences surrounding it.
Luckily, painting fences is an easy task that can quickly transform your garden!
You’ll want to choose the best fence paint for your specific needs. Have a look at the information below to help you make an informed choice:
Fence paints will do a great job of transforming your garden boundaries. If you’ve been feeling like your garden needs a bit of jazzing up, a bit of je ne sais quoi, painting your fence can really bring it up a level.
You can choose from natural wood shades or go for a pop of colour to really brighten up the garden. You can make a feature of fences with bold contrasting colours or blend them into the background to make your garden look bigger. A lot of fun and creativity can go into this task too!
And of course, treating your fences regularly with a good fence paint will help protect them against rain, snow, and the diverse British weather in general. Paint can also prevent mould and rotting as well as protecting your fences from strong UV light that can cause them to dry and crack.
There are two ways you can go with colour. Natural hues (think: mostly browns and greys) or shades which bear a bit more semblance to the rainbow (think: Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain!).
Personal preference of course plays a huge part in what colour paint you should choose. But there are a couple of things to bear in mind on top of that:
The existing colour of your fencing
Despite what reviews may say, or the colour description itself, the finished colour of your fencing will depend on the existing colour. If you’re feeling quite specific about how you want the final shade to look, you might want to buy a test pot before buying a large can.
Of course, if you’re not as concerned with really finding one perfect shade, you might be happy to just go ahead and start painting. But do remember that colours may also come out darker than expected, especially once dried, which can really change the look of a garden.
How many coats do you want to do?
We’re all busy people. I get it. Some of us might enjoy the task of painting, whilst others might want it over asap.
If you’re keen to save time, and you don’t want any nasty surprises, check out the reviews for information about how many coats your paint will need.
As a general rule, darker colours may be able to get away with one application – depending on the original colour of the wood, whilst more vibrant colours are more likely to need two.
How many coats you need to apply also depends on the manufacture’s instructions for weatherproofing. For a lot of brands, one coat is enough to protect your fencing. However, do read the small print before making your choice. If it says it requires two coats, you can’t really get away with anything less!
Most paints will state roughly how much area one pot will cover. Compare this with the area that you’re looking to paint, and make sure to buy enough tins accordingly.
Do bear in mind that it’s easy to use more paint than the manufacturer intends: sometimes your application technique may be different to the one they used, or some may drip. It’s always a good idea to buy a bit more paint than you think, otherwise you may run into difficulty partway through a job!
For the most part, the longer the protection your fence paint offers, the less often you’re going to need to repaint.
Of course, colours may get less vibrant over time even when the wood is still protected.
The Sadolin fence paint offers up to five years’ protection, whereas the Johnstone’s Garden Colours and other products offer up to four years’. If you’re trying to protect your wood for as long as possible, consider the longest protection length you can find. However, it may limit you on colour choice.
If you’re the sort of person who doesn’t mind doing applications a bit more often, you don’t have to let the protection length limit you as much.
Price also comes in to quality of protection. When buying fence paint, I would not skimp on quality because you may soon see all your hard work go to waste when it quickly fades and wears off. You are investing a lot of time and energy in painting the fence, so it is worth using a product that will last a good few years.
The finish of your fence will depend on preparation as well as the paint you choose. Always clean off dirt, mud and mould before painting. If your fence is mouldy, then consider applying a fungicidal wash to kill mould and algae before going anywhere near a paintbrush.
You can either paint fences with a brush or use a fence sprayer. If you have a lot of fencing, a sprayer can save a lot of time. Most fence paints and stains can be used with sprayers, so you don’t have to buy a specific sprayable product.
If you only have a small area to cover, then simply invest in a good quality, nylon bristle brush.
Wash all brushes and sprayers thoroughly with warm water after use to prevent dried paint from clogging them up. Always dispose of leftover paint responsibly. Your local council will have details of where you can dispose of paints.
Everything We Recommend
More Detailed Fence Paint Reviews
Bartoline Creosote Substitute Dark Brown Fence Paint Review
This Bartoline Creosote Substitute Fence Treatment will make your fences look brand new!
This oil-based paint comes in a rich dark brown which is easily absorbed by your fence panels. It succeeds in protecting them from weathering and rot all year round.
This product is easy to apply. However, it is slightly on the runny side, so I would recommend wearing gloves and protecting nearby surfaces (particularly the ground). Once dry, the finish is excellent; this treatment will transform your garden from a bit dated, to ‘spring fresh’ overnight!
I believe this is the best fence paint on the market. If you want the look of traditional creosote without the harmful chemicals, this Bartoline Creocote Fence Treatment will allow you to achieve just that.
Ronseal One Coat Dark Oak Fence Paint Review
This Ronseal Fence paint treatment is suitable for all rough sawn timber. It comes in a range of wood colours: from Ebony to Harvest Gold. I used the Dark Oak option on my shed and found it gave good coverage; however, the colour was a little less rich than the Cuprinol paint that I also tried.
I found the product easy to apply, using either a sprayer or brush. It is a little runnier than the Cuprinol product so splashed a bit more.
I chose the Dark Oak shade because my shed was already quite dark. I would recommend that you choose a shade the same or darker than your existing fence colour for best results. The tub contains enough product to cover 6 fence panels with one coat.
So, to conclude, this Ronseal Fence paint is relatively easy to apply and gives a good long-lasting finish.
Cuprinol Less Mess Rustic Brown Fence Paint Review
This Cuprinol fence paint is specifically formulated for rough sawn timber, making it not only suitable for fences, but also for other timber structures like sheds and wood stores.
The product is easy to use; it doesn’t drip much or make a lot of mess. It can be applied with a brush or sprayer and gives good coverage with just one coat. The finish it leaves is nice and waxy, even on old fences that haven’t been treated for a while.
The 6 L can cover up to 10 fence panels making it great value for money. Most importantly, my fence looked like new after just one coat!
The paint dries quickly, and it is really easy to clean up afterwards with just some water and a little washing up liquid.
This fence care product is available in a range of natural looking colours including Woodland Green, Rustic Brown, Rich Oak, Autumn Red and Autumn Gold.
I chose the Rustic Brown. At first, it seemed much lighter than the tin suggested. However, it dried to a rich dark brown that I am delighted with. Of course, the colour achieved may vary depending on the existing colour of your fencing.
If you want excellent value and a fantastic finish with minimum mess and fuss, the Cuprinol fence paint is a great option!
Johnstone’s Garden Colours Fence Paint Review
If you’re are looking for something a bit brighter to jazz up your garden, this Johnstone’s Garden Colours paint comes in a great range of stylish colours. It offers subtle blues, bright pinks, and everything in between! What’s more, you can use it on most wooden garden surfaces including fences, sheds and garden furniture.
I used the Bold Plum to paint a small wooden playhouse and it came up a treat, looking like new in no time at all. It dries very quickly leaving a nice waxy, water-repellent finish. I gave the playhouse a second coat to make the bold colour really stand out and was extremely pleased with the final result.
The paint will provide up to four years’ protection for up to 30 m².
A word of advice: from experience I would say if you choose a bold colour you might want to give it two coats to really make an impact.
If you want a solid, long-lasting fence paint that’s a little different from the traditional wood colours, this Johnstone paint will help you have a little fun in the garden!
Sadolin Shed & Fence Paint Review
This super-protective Sadolin fence paint offers up to five years’ protection for exterior wood surfaces such as sheds and fences. It comes in a range of natural wood shades as well as a classy grey.
Its waxy finish easily repels rain and moisture and it is showerproof in thirty minutes – you can still apply it even in the changeable British weather and not have to worry too much!
What’s more, it’s easy to apply because it’s quite thick and does not drip. As a result, it’s easy to achieve great coverage and a rich finish. The 5 L can provides enough paint to cover a huge area making it excellent value for money.
This is the best fence paint if you’re looking for long-lasting protection, a beautiful range of natural colours and great value for money.
Fence Paint FAQ
If you choose a good quality fence paint, you can soon have your fence looking like new again.
- Brush the fence down with a wire brush and remove any mould with a fungicidal wash before painting.
- To overcome the problem of the mismatched panels I would go for a shade similar to the darkest panel or slightly darker.
- You may have to apply two coats of the product to even out the colour of the fence, but I’m sure it will look great once this has been done.
However, splashing plants with paint can cause them damage. I would recommend covering plants with something light but thick enough not to let the paint through – a dust sheet would be ideal. Once the paint is dry you can remove the dust sheet and the plants will be fine.
Generally, darker colours will make your garden look bigger as they visually recede into the distance.
A dark green will blur the boundaries of your garden even further – it’ll blend with the plants and appear to go on forever! Personally, I think the best fence paint colour is a darker, natural looking brown or green to complement your garden.
This really differs between manufacturers and it’s best to check the instructions carefully. Some paints need more applications and it also depends on your application method.
Speaking very generally (ballpark figures!), with one coat, 5 L could cover ar0und 30 m² (approx. 10 fence panels) and 9 L could cover around 54 m² (approx. 17 fence panels).