No matter how good quality fencing you purchase, after a while it becomes tired looking and needs freshening. Recently I painted the galvanized metal poles that hold up the vinyl coated chain link fencing at my mother’s house (the fence is 43 years old). Here are my step-by-step instructions on how I did it. Supplies needed to do the Project…
(1) a can of oil based Aluminum Paint (shown here a 1 quart can)
(2) paint can opener and a wooded paint stirrer
(3) paint thinner for cleaning brushes
(4) an old coffee can with lid to hold paint thinner
(5) a good quality Number 8 Round water color brush found at art supply and craft stores everywhere
(6) plastic disposable cocktail cups
(7) a 1/8 or 1/4 cup old measuring cup to ladle aluminum paint from can to put into plastic cocktail cup
(8) cotton or latex gloves to protect your hands from paint spatters while doing the job
(9) a plastic milk crate or some other low chair to sit on while painting
(10) pieces of old cotton bath towels to clean up paint and to use when cleaning paint brush after use.
Buying the Aluminum Paint This is the second time that I’ve painted the poles that hold up the fence; I last did it probably 10 to 15 years ago. Years ago, when I bought the paint, I got it at one of the “big box” hardware and home improvement stores in my area. When I went looking for paint this time they were no longer selling it. I got the aluminum paint at a local painting producing company. The aluminum paint contains Petroleum Distillate which is combustible and they want you to also avoid breathing the vapors. The man at the paint store said they don’t even want to pre-shake the can for you in the store, as doing that was dangerous.
At home, when I was getting ready to paint the fence, I would count out and mix the paint 100 times before use it. The paint being thin, even right after being stirred, would look to separate a bit, but that was OK. Every time I went to get more paint, I would stir it again the 100 times so to would hopefully be properly mixed. On the paint can it said “don’t breathe the vapors they are toxic”. Working outside, with and without the air moving around me, I found the smells of the paint to not be that strong, almost nonexistent.
This photo shows me painting the top of one of the horizontal pips that make up the skeleton of the fence. Being right-handed, I liked to start painting on the left and working in a right direction. I would paint soo many feet of the top of the pole (maybe 16 to 20 feet) then start on the sides of the piping. When I was painting the piping I would try to take semi long strokes in the direction that the piping went. If the piping was horizontal I would take long horizontal strokes, if the piping were vertical, I would try to do up and down strokes in the same direction the piping was going. On all the vertical piping I would start at the top and work toward the ground. I would also try to spread out the aluminum paint, not putting it on too thick.
When painting the fence I would first start on the outside of the fence; doing all that I could do on the that side; then go into my mother’s yard and do the inside. This is an important photo for you to look at. Notice how I’m pulling back the vinyl coated chain link fencing with my middle and ring fingers; while holding the paint filled plastic cup with my index finger and thumb. By pulling back the top edge of the fence you don’t get too much paint on the chain link fencing where it is not wanted. These two photos show how easy it is to get in-between the fencing with the rounded and somewhat pointed head of the number 8 watercolor brush.
After painting many running feet of the outside, I would then work on the inside. I would paint the inside side of the galvanized poles, then while seated on the plastic milk crate, I would be able to see what parts of the underside of the piping needed painting and then paint that.
Now let’s look at some photos showing before and after and how a bit of paint really makes a big difference.
This photo shows the completed front of the fence (it really gleams) and the not yet done side fence (the old paint looks dull, stained and weathered)(click on photos to enlarge) . These two photos show the finished side and still needs to be done parts of the front fence; the finished sides are on the left.
So there you have it, some instruction that you might find helpful if you need to, or are thinking about painting the galvanized piping on your fence.
I want to end this post with a quick story about a friend of mine who ticked off all the men in her neighborhood. My friend is a single middle-aged lady. One day she decided that the chain link fence around her corner property needed painting. She bought her paint and brush, put on her gloves and started at it. As she worked along, all the ladies and some men in her neighborhood came by and looked to see what she was doing and her progress. All of the ladies liked what she had done and thought about having their fences painted also. It seemed that the neighbor ladies told their husbands that if my single lady friend could do the job herself, those strong and strapping men would have no problem doing it at their places. I would say that my friend added fence painting to many a wives “Honey Do List”.
Companion Posts on Fred Gonsowski Garden Home.com…..
Picking the Right Paint or Siding Color(s) for your Home 10-19-2011,
Picking a Color for your Front Door 1-17-2012,
Choosing the Right Color ROOF for your Home 10-7-2011,
How to pick the Perfect GRAY PAINT..A popular Color Choice of the Moment 2-15-2014,
Picking Paint Colors for a Small House, Condominium or Apartment 3-10-2014,
Pick (Use) Four Colors when Decorating a Room 3-7-2011.
Most neighborhoods would look so much better without chain link fencing. If you must have it, then it would be better to conceal it with vines and dense shrubbery and not worry about painting it.
Hi there Ken, different kinds of fencing has been popular at different times, and in different locations (city, suburb and country places). My parents had theirs installed in 1972 and it is in a city environment. White and even dark green coated chain link was popular at that time. Now a days black fencing, which almost disappears into the environment is popular. Being that the fence is old, and my mother does not want to replace it, painting it improved it a lot.
Thanks for your comment, here at Whimsey Hill House, many vines and bushes have been planted in front of the back fencing to soften the look. I would say different land decorating effects for different people.
Thank you for the informative post Fred, the fence does look so much better.
I always love getting your posts. I have learned a great deal from you on a myriad of subjects.
I was able to finally pick the colors of my home after reading your posts on color theory and matching to the shingle. The roof was the cause of my conflict, once I read your post it was so much easier.
I’ve also designed my garden using your posts on leaf shape and rules for foundation plantings. Again thank you!
Hi there Denise, glad to have been of help. It is interesting that from, right here in my computer room, I have been able to empower people, that I will probably never meet, from across the country and around the world. How wonderful, in a way, is technology ;-}