Talking About Fence Materials

Long Nap Roller v. Spray Gun: Which Should You Use to Paint a Chain Link Fence?

There are several reasons why you may want to paint your chain link fence. If it is aged and the original paint is flaking or it is developing rust, a new coat of paint can make it look fresh and new, for example. If you need to paint your chain link fence, you should first decide whether you will paint it with a long nap roller or with a spray gun. Below are some things you should take into consideration when making your decision. 

What kind of budget do you have?

Painting a chain link fence is generally not an expensive project. You only need a wire brush to remove old paint and rust, cardboard to protect the surrounding area, a high quality metal paint, and a paint brush or spray gun to apply the paint. However, if you do not own a spray gun, then the cost of renting or purchasing a spray gun can significantly increase the cost of the project. Alternatively, if you do not have a long nap roller and paint tray, these can be purchased for a minimal amount at your local hardware store. 

If you do not already own a spray gun and you do not have other projects that would make it worthwhile to rent or buy one, then it makes more financial sense to paint your chain link fence with a roller rather than a spray gun. 

How long will the process take?

Both types of paint application are relatively fast. However, if you use a long nap roller, you may spend more time filling in the small cracks where the chain mesh connects than you would with a spray gun. Additionally, because you can usually get full coverage with a thinner coat of paint when using a spray gun, your drying time will likely be slightly shorter than it would be with a long nap roller. If you are experienced with a spray gun, then spray painting your fence will be considerably faster than rolling it. 

You should keep in mind that both methods will require you to spend time working on each side of the fence. 

How will you protect the surrounding area? 

With both methods of painting, you will have to protect the ground directly below the fence from dripping paint. This can be done be cutting down any grass, removing large stones near the fence, and then putting a piece of cardboard under the wire mesh or taping it to the bottom row of the mesh if the mesh has been buried in the ground. 

However, spray painting will require extra protection behind the fence to keep the paint from blowing through the mesh to the surrounding area. This can be accomplished by attaching a metal hook to the four corners of a piece of cardboard. Then, move the cardboard along with you as you paint the fence. This works best if you have a piece of cardboard that can cover the entire height of the fence or if you are working with a partner who can move the cardboard so you do not have to keep walking around the fence to do so. 

How much coverage do you want?

Both methods can give you adequate coverage. However, with a roller, you will generally have a thicker coat of paint with greater risk for uneven spots. Additionally, you could have areas of the fence, such as beneath the connecting devices or where the wires meet, where it is difficult to reach. With a spray gun, you will likely have more even coverage and achieve a smooth, finished look with a single coat of paint. 

Learn more about your options and which will work best for your fence by contacting services like Elrod Fence Co.