Why is it so expensive to re-paint fences?

“…I would think that I just need the paint, a brush and a man?”

A client who I’m helping to refurbish the house asked me this question. I thought it was a great question because this is an example where a builder and landlord could clash. In this scenario, it’s very easy to think that the builder is ripping you off.

This blog post is not an apologia for builders. But as someone who loves DIY, I went and found out why it’s expensive and conclude that if it were up to me, I’d order replacements rather than pay someone to paint, or worse, take my time to paint old fences.

1. The sheer time it takes to paint

Wooden fences will need painting panel by panel and at least two coats. After the first coat, the decorator must wait between four to eight hours to dry and then apply a second coat. The hourly cost, will of course, depend on the weather, too. The second coat is important as otherwise, there is not enough film build-up and the colour won’t be so great. Also, one coat will last for perhaps two years, whereas two coats should last for four years. You might as well do two while you can.

2. The type of paint

Fences and garden furniture require weather-proof products, ie, waterproof paint. Products like Cuprinol are standard. They have waxes in it and special pigment to achieve long-lasting colour. In reality, not every builder would have the colour that matches what you want (e.g. Willow Green) so that means they need to go source it, which would invariably add to the time they will charge you. You could pre-order them in your nearest shop (see below) or from Cuprinol website directly.

So, by the time this happens, the cost of painting is as much or usually more than buying a newly treated fence. With new fences, it’s easy. Your builder would just order them (2-3 panes for less than £200 plus disposing old ones), take down the old fences, slot in the new ones, and it’s job done!

Tip from an Award-Winning Garden Designer

Amanda Broughton shared this: “I would recommend going for close board panels which are much sturdier than the shiplap, and always choose pressure treated timber as these will last much longer. If budget permits I would recommend Jacksons Fencing as they provide a 20 year guarantee on their panels.”

On a final note…

Before you go ahead with whatever you may do with the fences, find out the boundaries. It’s a criminal offence to paint fences that are not legally yours. You may be surprised to find that you may not own either side of the fences! Check your deed. For this, you’ll need to first download a copy of the title register to get the property’s title number and to see if Land Registry holds a copy of the deeds. Good luck!

Related Links

Here are some places you can go and buy Cuprinol in Bow and Mile End:

Brewers on 99 Burdett Rd, London E3 4JN. Tel 020 8980 8030

Screwfix on 3 & 4, Maverton Rd, London E3 2JE. Tel 0333 011 2112

Related Pages

Not sure how to find a good builder? Discover here what you should be asking before hiring them.

Watch this video an example of a completed refurbishment project.

If you don’t have the time to interview your builders or project manage the refurbishment, why not give us a call at 020 3588 5115 or contact us here?