Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Fence Paint Application Methods

Thank you for checking out Lexington Paint and Supply.  We would like to start this blog by answering some very frequently asked questions.

Question 1 – What is the best way to apply Fence Paint to my fence?

The answer to this question varies with each fence paint job, but all jobs are either hand applied or sprayed.  Both of these methods can be used effectively.  The primary variables that determine which method is best on any particular job includes –

Job size

Equipment availability

Labor availability

Personal preference

First it is important to realize that both methods are acceptable and you should see virtually identical material performance either way.  The one very obvious exception to this is new fence (previously unpainted) with facial boards.  It is very difficult to paint behind these boards without the use of a sprayer.   A good rule of thumb is, one person should be able to paint 800 feet of fence (both sides) in one 8 hour day.  This breaks down to 100 feet/hour.  I am asked about equipment almost every day.  The first question I ask is “how big is your job”.  The time, effort and money needed to set up a sprayer is often greater than what it would take to complete the job by hand applying.  Don't get caught in the trap of spending three days to set up for a job that only takes two days to complete by hand.  This is very easy to do.  I talk to a great number of individuals that just love equipment.  With these people it is not about efficiency, but it is about the equipment.  If you love equipment that’s fine.  We can help you pick out the right machine (look for the next blog to cover equipment).  If you simply want your fence painted the most cost effective way, don’t overlook hand applying the material.  This method is often the most efficient way, especially on smaller jobs (less than 7500 ft).

On larger jobs, spraying is often the most efficient method.  I will break down spraying into two sub categories, self-spray and contractor spray.  Let’s start with contractors.  The first thing to consider is job location.  If your property is located in the Lexington KY or Ocala FL area, it will be very difficult to spray your fence yourself any cheaper than you can hire a contractor.  The fence spraying business is ultra-competitive in these areas and if you consider the true cost of paint application, I don’t think you can beat contractors with any job size.  If your property is located outside of this type of area, you may be able to save some money by applying the material yourself.  Feel free to call us and even though we don’t do any application ourselves, we can give you a good idea what a contractor may want for your job size in your area.  You should consider both local contractors and out of town contractors.  The contractors located in highly fenced areas are extremely efficient and can often times complete jobs cheaper even with the added cost of travel. 

If you choose to self-apply your fence paint job, don’t just consider the cost of the sprayer.  You will also need a transportation method.  If you have an old wagon and tractor, that you don’t mind getting very dirty, this cost may be very low.  If on the other hand you don’t have an old tractor, you need to consider you could damage a nicer vehicle with stray paint.  Here are some guidelines you need to consider in your planning.  Another rule of thumb – a one gallon per minute sprayer that is manned by one person and is adequately transported should be able to paint about 2000 feet of fence (both sides) per 8 hour day.  If the sprayer size or transportation method are reduced, the output will drop accordingly.  If you like math, you have already figured out that spraying (with good setup) has 2 ½ times the output of hand applying.  That is not a huge number especially considering the cost of equipment and transportation method.

Your particular circumstances may be entirely different than what I’ve talked about.  If you have farm help with extra time in the afternoons, hand applying may make great sense on a huge job.  If you have ready access to a sprayer, your choice could be made easy.  If you need the job done fast, you may need to use a contractor.  Whatever your circumstances are, please feel free to call and discuss them with us.  We have been doing this for 32 years and there aren’t many situation we haven’t already seen.  We are here to help.          


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