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How to Choose the Best Paint Primer for Your Timber Fences? 

Timber fence to be painted - dried timber fence - fence primer

Your timber fences bear the brunt of nature’s elements, from scorching sun to relentless rain and fierce storms. The paint primer serves as a protective shield, significantly extending the lifespan of the topcoat paint. 


As you might already know, timber fences, with their unique texture and grain patterns, can be both stunning and challenging to paint. Therefore, to achieve the most durable finish possible, durable finish, selecting the right paint primer is crucial. 


At Stock & Noble, we provide the finest fencing solutions to high-end property owners across Australia and New Zealand. Master Blend is our range featuring premium fence paints. Developed after years of research by paint experts, this range also features exclusive primers for both wood and timber. 


Based on our experience in helping our clients achieve beautifully painted long lasting fences, we will share some key insights into choosing the best wood primer for your project. 


If you’re planning to paint your timber fence, this article will give you a checklist ready to evaluate different paint primers. In the end, you will know the essential factors to consider and choose the best wood primer for your timber fences. 


Role of a Paint Primer 

In the past, fence painting often involved a simple application of paint without much consideration. However, the significance of primers lies in their ability to provide lasting protection.


For fences to be effectively painted and safeguarded over an extended period, the application of a primer is essential. The primer not only seals the timber but also facilitates a strong bond with the topcoat, ensuring prolonged durability. 


For instance, Forever Black Timber Fence Paint can be applied directly without a primer and still maintain its look and quality for years. However, when you prepare the fence well and apply a primer underneath, you can be sure of a minimum longevity of six years, or even more, depending on the quality and nature of the timber that you are painting. 


How to Choose Your Wood Primer  


Factor #1. Understand the Timber Type 

Before selecting a primer, consider the type of timber you are working with. Whether it’s hardwood, softwood, freshly cut wood, or other types of timber, understanding the characteristics of the timber will help you choose a primer that suits the specific needs of the material. 

Consult your paint supplier to check the compatibility with your type of timber. 


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Factor #2. Consider Choosing Oil-Based Primers  

When it comes to priming timber surfaces, the clear winner, from a performance point of view is the solvent-based primer. The rationale behind this preference lies in the oil and solvents present in these primers, which effectively permeate the timber.

By doing so, they close off all the timber cells, creating an impermeable barrier that neither external elements nor internal moisture can breach. Consequently, this seals the timber, protecting it from the moisture. However, if the wood is noy completely dry, the fence might rot from the inside-out. 


Factor #3: Compare Water-Based Options 

Water-based primers attempt to replicate the sealing properties of solvent-based options. While these alternatives can achieve approximately 90-95% of the effectiveness of solvent-based primers, they never quite reach the same level of efficiency. This discrepancy arises from the application method, where water-based products are, as the name suggests, made with water.

Consequently, this introduces a small amount of moisture back into the timber. Though this isn’t typically a significant concern, in an ideal scenario where absolute moisture avoidance is essential, oil-based primers stand as the superior choice. 


Factor #4: Prioritise Your Concerns 

Water-based primers are a good choice if environmental factors, easy application and clean-up matter to you more than permeability. With new technology and research, Water-based primers are closing the gap and giving almost the same results as oil-based primers. They are also easier to handle and apply, produce less fumes and offer convenient clean-up options. 


Factor #5: Cost Considerations 

Keep in mind the cost and benefits of each type of primer. The cost of oil-based primers is lower than that of their water-based counterparts. This price discrepancy arises from the fact that water-based products require a significant amount of research and development to simulate the sealing capabilities of oil-based primers, making them a more costly option initially.

However, the cost of cleaning up the oil-based paints can change the equation compared to cleaning up water-based painting equipment simply with warm soapy water. 


Factor #6. Convenience and Handling 

Water-based products offer distinct advantages in terms of handling and logistics. They are easier to transport, handle, and store as they are not classified as dangerous goods.

Moreover, their application process is more convenient since they do not produce any fumes or necessitate the use of solvents during clean-up. This streamlined application process allows for a smoother transition to the topcoat after the primer has been applied. 

Overall while water-based primers are an alternative, they may not offer the same level of effectiveness as solvent-based primers, especially when it comes to sealing the timber. However, they have their pros and you can weigh your priorities before making a decision. 


Are You Ready to Choose the Paint Primer for Your Timber Fences? 

You are about to start your fence painting project and wanted to know about choosing the right primer. Understanding the significance of a primer in extending the life of your fences is the first step towards achieving a lasting and visually appealing finish. 


Now you know considering factors such as the type of timber, the advantages of oil-based primers, the emergence of water-based alternatives, and the balance between cost and convenience, you now possess the necessary tools to make an informed decision. Whether you prioritize durability, ease of application, or cost-effectiveness, this guide has equipped you with the knowledge to align your preferences with the most suitable primer for your unique project requirements. 


As you begin refreshing your fences, remember that for optimal results, thoroughly prepare the timber surface by removing any old paint and sanding it to the bare wood. Apply the primer of your choice followed by two coats of water-based paint to achieve a durable and visually appealing finish that can withstand various environmental challenges. At this stage, it’ll be worth learning a step-by-step process of how to paint your timber fences. 


For any further questions on the suitability, cost and application of fence paints or primers, speak to our experts. They are here to help you achieve a beautiful property with stunning fences, just the way you imagined.

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