How to Paint a Wooden Shadow Box Fence

Shadow box fences are sometimes referred to as "good neighbor fences" because the vertical fence planks are placed on both sides of the fence.
If your fence happens to straddle a property line, the construction of the fence will require cooperation with your neighbor, as will the painting. This type of fence is best painted with the combination of an electric airless paint sprayer and a large house-painting brush. The project will take some skilled brush work and patience to get every nook and cranny covered without leaving any drips or runs.

Step 1

Examine the wood closely to see whether you want to paint the fence and then decide whether you want to use paint or an outdoor stain. Some woods, such as redwood, cedar or bald cypress, can be left natural. Others, such as pine and fir, take well to paint.

Step 2

Clean the fence with a garden hose and a high-pressure nozzle. Soap and water should not be necessary. Any cleaning can be done with a wire brush. Let the fence dry.

Step 3

Choose a primer-sealer that will cover the knots and occasionally oily spots of a softwood, such as pine or fir.

Step 4

Stir the primer-sealer thoroughly and fill the paint sprayer with the paint. Apply the paint from a distance of about 6 to 12 inches and always have the sprayer in motion when you are painting with the machine. The primer coat does not have to be solid, but still coverage should be at least 75 percent. Be sure to brush all runs and drips of paint with a brush right after you have sprayed and the paint is still wet.

Step 5

Let the paint dry for 24 hours.

Step 6

Proceed with the top coat in the same manner that you applied the first coat except coverage will be more complete. You also have the option of using the large paint brush to give all areas a brushed look. This requires spreading the wet paint with the brush until every spot of wood is covered. An alternative method is to just use the brush on paint build-ups and thin spots.

Things You Will Need

  • Garden hose
  • Wire brush
  • Primer-sealer paint
  • Top coat of paint
  • Electric paint sprayer ( a compressor sprayer may also be used)
  • 4-inch polyester paint brush
  • 2-inch trim polyester paint brush
  • Rags

Tips

  • When you paint the fence, work with two people. One can spray and the other can come behind with a brush.
  • Paint from the top down with special emphasis that all wood exposed toward the sky is completely covered.

Warnings

  • If applying an outdoor stain to the fence, you don't need a primer-sealer.
  • Don't skimp on the price of paint or stain. Because your fence was probably not cheap, why chance using an inferior grade of paint or stain on good wood?
  • Clean out the sprayer completely after each use.
  • A shadow box fence with boards placed very closely together on each side of the rails will need to be primed and painted before installation.

About the Author

Henri Bauholz is a professional writer covering a variety of topics, including hiking, camping, foreign travel and nature. He has written travel articles for several online publications and his travels have taken him all over the world, from Mexico to Latin America and across the Atlantic to Europe.