How to Paint a Cedar Fence

Cedar fences can enhance the look of a home. Their natural look make them ideal for homeowners who dislike the artificial appearance of vinyl. Cedar's relatively low cost makes it the appropriate choice for homeowners who are on a budget. Unfortunately, untreated cedar fences tend to turn gray over time and can even warp or rot due to years of enduring varying weather. Many people choose to paint their cedar fences to enhance their appearance and protect them from the elements.

Many people choose to paint their cedar fences to enhance their appearance and protect them from the elements.
  1. Wait for a warm, dry day. Ensure that the cedar fence is free of any vegetation that might interfere with your ability to paint the fence.

  2. Use the pressure washer to clean any dirt and dust from the surface of the cedar fence. Allow the cedar fence to dry completely before proceeding.

  3. Use a metal putty knife to remove any loose or peeling paint. Use 80- to 120-grit sandpaper to remove any remaining loose paint. Skip Step 3 if the fence is unpainted.

  4. Use blue painter's tape to cover any areas you do not want painted.

  5. Use the metal putty knife to open the container of latex primer. Slide the paint roller cover onto the paint roller frame. Screw the paint roller frame onto the rolling pole. Pour the latex primer into the 5-gallon bucket. Fill it to only about half its capacity.

  6. Dip the roller into the 5-gallon bucket of primer. Use the roller to apply latex primer to the cedar fence. Move from left to right, being careful to smooth any runs as you proceed. Continue to apply primer until the entire cedar fence is covered. Use the 4-inch paintbrush to apply latex primer to any areas that prove inaccessible to the roller. Allow the fence to dry for two hours.

  7. Use warm water to clean the roller frame and paintbrush. Use your fingers to massage the water into the bristles of the brush. Shake the paintbrush vigorously to remove excess water from the paintbrush. Dispose of the used paint roller cover with your usual garbage.

  8. Repeat Steps 5 and 6 except substitute latex paint for primer. Use a new, clean paint roller cover.


  • Never attempt to paint over an unpainted cedar fence without priming it first since this will lead to chipping and peeling.
  • Pressure washers are extremely powerful and have the potential to damage wood fences. Always begin on a low setting, and stand 4 to 5 feet away from the cedar fence to avoid unintentional damage.