A fence and its attraction

PUTTING up a fence around your house adds a decorative accent that many will find attractive.

PUTTING up a fence around your house adds a decorative accent that many will find attractive.

But your fence might soon lose its appeal if you don't keep up with regular care and maintenance.

With the advent of summer, outdoor activities are becoming ever more appealing and what better way to enjoy the start of the season than to spend some quality time painting your fence to give your home a charming exterior ambiance.

Martin Cohen of Jack's Paints and Hardware says colour options for your fence can be determined by a number of factors.

He says the most important thing to note before painting the fence is the colour of the exterior of your home and its assortment of architectural finishes, including roof tiles, paving, face-brick and cladding.

"Take into consideration the landscape and garden colours, bearing in mind that the eye is always drawn to extreme colour contrasts in any ensemble.

"For example, if your well-maintained lawn and garden in bloom are the highlights of the home, it would not make sense to paint your fence in a screaming vibrant colour.

"The intensity of your chosen colour would naturally divert the observer's eye from the star attraction of your home's exterior - in this case, your garden," says Cohen.

He advises people to bear in mind that intense, bold, deep and dark colours are prone to fading under the harsh rays of the African sun.

On the other hand, says Cohen, light colours are not alwayspractical either, considering that dirt is always a concern regarding exteriors.

Which colours are in?

Rhini Malongwe, who runs a painting business, says midtone colour ranges remain the most popular option when painting exterior fences.

"For trend followers, shades of garden/forest green and natural earth colours are a preferred choice, bearing in mind that there is a frenzy of 'going green' and being eco-friendly and environmentally conscious globally," says Malongwe.

Where do you start?

Cohen advises people to take some time and clean the fence before they start painting.

l Bird droppings and cobwebs are a common sight on such structures, so, a whiskbroom, cloth and a bucket of warm water should serve as a starting point.

If any paint is flaking, use a scraper to get rid of the loose flakes.

Sand down the fence with sandpaper. Degrease surfaces to be painted using a scouring pad, then rinse with water.

l Unpainted surfaces and any rusted areas that have been previously painted should be spot-primed with two coats of anti-corrosive metal primer (grey).

Apply a coat of undercoat, followed by two coats of high-gloss or water-based gloss enamel.

l You should never paint in direct sunlight or during extreme summer heat in the daytime, Cohen advises.

"Paint is meant to serve the dual function of decorating and protecting painted surfaces," he says.

"Direct sun will make the paint dry faster than normal, thereby resulting in the paint's failure to protect the surface."