How To Paint A Chain Link Fence (Easy Step By Step Guide)

Chain link fences are a common and easy way to secure the perimeter of your property without overspending. After a while, a fresh coat of paint or vinyl coating could freshen up both the chain link fencing and your outdoor décor. 

Knowing how to paint a chain-link fence is the first step to sprucing things up – read our tips and tricks in this blog post.  

It is easy to wonder whether you should use a sprayer or roller on a chain-link fence. In this debate, we would suggest that the best way to spray paint a chain link fence or wrought iron would be to use a roller and paintbrush. 

While painting a fence with a sprayer may seem like the logical choice, you would lose a lot of spray paint due to overspray. Using a roller and paint brush gives you maximum control with minimal paint loss. 

The roller does most of the painting, while the smaller brush helps you get into those hard-to-reach nooks and helps touch up the next day.  

chain link fence

What Type Of Paint Should You Use For A Chain Link Fence? 

We would recommend selecting an oil-based, as much rust inhibiting aluminum flake paint or loose paint when sprucing up your chain link fence prior. 

The internal properties will help the paint job last longer and create a watertight bond to the metal surfaces. A metal fence primer should also be considered for those with heavily rusted fences or ones with old chain link fence.  It can be found easily at your local hardware store.

In terms of color, there are plenty of options to consider, and your ultimate decision should be made based on personal preference.

Green could be a great option if you have a lot of greenery around and on your property to help the chain link blend in. 

On the other hand, some people prefer a more neutral silver or black to help mark their property line. With the right paint formula and patience, your chain link fence should look wonderful no matter which color you choose. 

How Easily To Paint A Chain Link Fence

Tools & Supplies Required 

  • Protective clothing 
  • Face mask 
  • Protective gloves 
  • Weed trimmer or grass clippers 
  • Power washer or soap and water 
  • Wire brush 
  • Scrap cardboard 
  • Plastic sheets 
  • Rope (optional) 
  • Sandblaster (optional) 
  • Drop cloths 
  • Metal primer 
  • Oil-based paint 
  • Long-napped roller 
  • Paintbrush 
  • Rust inhibitors spray 
  • Masking or painter’s tape 

Step By Step Guide 

  1. 1
    Remove the weeds and cut the grass near and around both sides of your fence, ensuring that you get as close as possible. Remove any ornaments on or around your fence and use a rope to pull back any greenery or plants that are near the fence. 
  2. 2
    Using a power washer or soap and water with the stiff brush, clean your fence and remove any dirt and debris. Make sure that you do both sides, especially if using something like a sandblaster. 
  3. 3
    Mask off any areas that you do not want to be painted, including walls and posts. Put drop cloths down on the floor around your fence and plastic sheeting over any greenery or other nearby unmovable items.  
  4. 4
    Put on your protective gear and place the scrap cardboard down right against the bottom of the chain link.  
  5. 5
    Spray on rust inhibitor over any rusted parts of the fence and wait for it to dry before adding the primer. 
  6. 6
    Coat the fence in the oil-based primer with the long-napped roller. Take your time and follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. You may need to get into the nooks and crannies with the paintbrush. Wait for the recommended drying time and wash your painting gear before moving on. Do this on both sides of the fence. 
  7. 7
    Now we get into how to paint metal chain link fences. Add paint chain links fences to your paint rollers, ensuring to scrape off any excess on the rim. Starting from the top and working downwards, you want to create an paint evenly stroke that is fast enough to paint but not too fast to create splatter. We recommend begin painting chain link fences with two or three thin coats of paint, waiting for the manufacturer's recommended drying time between coats. Use the paint brush to get into those hard-to-reach spots. Do this on both sides of the fence. 
  8. 8
    Wait at least 24 hours for the paint to dry before inspecting and topping up any missed spots. 
  9. 9
    Wait for the paint to dry completely, which should take 24-48 hours. 
  10. 10
    Remove the rope, sheeting, and other equipment and restore your yard to how it was. 
black painted chain link fence

Time And Cost To Paint A Chain Link Fence 

It should take between two and three days to complete your fence paint job, depending on how much you need to cover and how efficient you are. While it is cheaper to paint your fence yourself or with a friend, some jobs need a professional. 

For galvanized fences with plastic coatings or fences that are coated in lead paint, we recommend contacting a professional for safety. Most chain link fences are made of galvanized steel. 

The cost of both DIY project and professional jobs will vary depending on how much fence you need to paint and your area, among other things; most DIY jobs should cost between $25 and $100, while professional fees vary and increase significantly the longer the fence you have.  

brown painted chain link fence

Painting Chain Link Fence FAQs

Can you paint a galvanized chain link fence?  

Yes, you can paint a galvanized fence yourself after removing the coating with water, ammonia, and a sandblaster. 

Do I need to prime the chain link fence before painting? 

No, it is not always necessary to prime a fence before painting it. But primers do tend to help the paint job last longer. Heavily rusted or galvanized chain link fences will need to be primed before they can be painted. 

How long does paint last on a chain link fence? 

The length of time paint lasts on chain link fences will vary depending on various factors, including the quality of the paint job, the weather, how well the paint is maintained, and more. 


Once you know how to paint a chain link fence with a paint roller, it can take only a weekend to freshen it up. A carefully and correctly done paint job can last a long time and keep your yard looking fresh. 

While it is possible to do it yourself, there are some circumstances where hiring a local professional would be the best call.