Painting Horse Fence- the black or white debate
After deciding on that we would install 4 board wood horse fencing. We needed to decide if the fence would be painted black or white. I think most people decide this based on their preference but I did research a few pros and cons before committing to a decision.
- dirt easily visible
- green mold easily visible
- bird poop not easily visible
- white reflects sunlight better
- highly visible to horses
- dirt less visible
- green mold rarely visible
- bird poop very visible
- black absorbs sunlight and can increase wood warping
- horses have reduced visibility of fence in dark and when fence is against trees and dark greenery
We opted for black paint. I think the smallest amount of dirt o a white fence would drive me crazy and my free time would be consumed with the upkeep.
I went to our local Tractor Supply Store to scope out the black fence paint options. I was quickly intrigued by the Black Beauty Asphalt paint option. I found a few blog posts that reported that the asphalt paint had a bitter taste that deterred horses from chewing on the board. I bought a 5 gallon bucket and went home to give it a shot.
This Product is Terrible… DO NOT buy it DO NOT use it! It was so difficult to apply. 6 weeks after applying on a test area of the fence the paint was flaking and chipping severely, and I waited 6 months after installing the fence to allow proper curing (discussed in this post More on Fencing). I was so glad I had not invested more time or money into this product.
I have a home paint sprayer that I purchased from Lowe’s to paint my barn a few weeks prior to the fence painting project. I did not have much luck with this residential sprayer and the thick asphalt paint or other oil based paints. This model utilizes compressed air to spray the paint forward and the tip would consistently get clogged or the paint would dry on it. Also the sprayer requires electricity which would be difficult to provide since the farthest perimeter of the fence is 12 acres away from the nearest outlet. While this spray worked great on latex paint, it was not helpful for painting the fence.
Since the sprayer was not an option I got 2 quotes from local handyman companies. The 2 companies did not share communication and were not aware that I was getting multiple bids, but they both came back with the same shockingly high number. Both companies quoted around $10,000 to paint the fence black with oil based paint. I was in complete sticker shock. Our investment in the fence installation had been draining enough so professional painting was not an option. Their quotes included materials, labor, and using a generator to operate their professional paint sprayers. They both said it would take 2 days and that using a paint sprayer on this type of fencing does result in increased product loss and the paint will be dispersed onto the boards as well as between them.
Back to the drawing board and back to TSC I went. I picked up this black lacquer product. It is an oil based paint and I was excited that it was $6 cheaper per 5 gallons then the black asphalt paint.
This Product worked great and I highly recommend considering this option. It rolls and brushes on very easily. It has been on the fence for 8 months now and there is no sign of chipping or peeling.
Even with easy application, it would take one person about 200 hours to paint the entire amount of fence so I was very fortunate when I found a local husband and wife couple looking for odd jobs. We agreed to pay $15 per hour for each of them to paint the fence and we supplied the materials. It was the middle of summer with temperatures near 100F so most days they were only able to safely work 3-4 hours in the morning. It took them a total of 3 weeks and I would just pay them for the amount of time they worked each week. This was also a nice “payment plan” option for us. The couple is very hardworking, and we were not worried that they were trying to “drag” out the process for more money.
We were originally quoted $10,000 by professional paint companies but only ended up spending $1750 for materials purchased and hourly labor. The $1750 was broken up into 4 weekly payments. I was very excited with the end results and the money we saved in this process.
Here is the fence after painting