Fence Gate Painting – Gate Painting Guide

Posted on Categories:Painting guide, fence paint, Wood paint
fence gate painting image showing a hand holding a paintbrush in front of the fence

Recently we wrote a blog all about painting wooden fences but neglected to talk much about fence gate painting. Well, that wasn’t an error on our part. Painting gates isn’t as easy as it seems and needs the right paint for the job. So today we’re talking all about painting fence gates and how to make yours look amazing.


  • Painting gates can be done in tandem with your fence panels but may need more attention!
  • Metal gates, as well as hinges, handles, and bolts, need specific metal paint.
  • Read on for advice on which paint is best for you and how to get the ideal results!  

Should I Paint Fence Gates?

Just like with your fences, leaving the wood bare is asking for trouble. Not only does it not look as good, but applying a quality wood paint, varnish, or stain adds durability to the surface, protecting it from weather, fungi, and insects.

If you prefer your fence gates to look natural, there is a solution for you. There are paints and wood stains that let the natural wood grain show through and can even enhance it. Check out our wood painting guide to learn more!

But, unlike fence panels, there are parts of a gate that aren’t made of wood, but still need a fresh coat of paint every now and again.

Painting Gate Hinges

If you use any wood paint or stain on metal hinges, you’ll be sorely disappointed by the result. Paint that is designed for a certain surface won’t bond to any other, instead making the paint run or look very thin by comparison.

But if you’re repainting your gate, you can’t allow the hinges, bolt, and handle to let the side down. These areas are prone to rust and wear; they require specific paint for a freshen up.

For metal surfaces, you need metal paint. These not only cling to the surface, making it look as good as new, but make it naturally more resistant to rust and wear.

Most metal paints are water-based and work without primer. You can paint over rust to hide it, but we always recommend removing as much rust as possible prior to painting.

Even if you have a few gates to freshen up, this is a small painting job. To save you from buying more paint than you need, this is a good addition to other metal painting projects, and yet another reason to save your extra paint after the job is done.

Painting Metal Gates

Of course, if you have gates that are entirely metal, they’ll also need some new paint sometimes. Metal fences and gates are most commonly used at the front of your home, so making them look their best improves the kerb appeal and is one more thing to be proud of every time you see it.

As with the metal parts of other fences, using the correct metal paint will protect the surface from rust, scratches, and other damage and wear. Metal fence paint is also available in a wide range of colours and sheens, so you can make your fencing and gates complement your personality and the rest of your home.

Moving away from domestic painting, metal gates and fences are common in much larger scales. Schools, parks, and playgrounds often have brightly coloured fences, making the space brighter and improving safety too. Parks and playgrounds have a lot of metal surfaces, so with a large amount of metal paint you can cover a wide area.

A lot of these fences are available in colour already; tall dark green fencing is commonly used for schools and commercial sites. After years of being exposed to the elements, these panels look worn out. A fresh coat of paint is a more affordable alternative to replacing them with a new set.

Shed and fence paint

Best Paint for Gates

When it’s time to freshen up your gates, there are a few factors that determine which paint will be right for you.

Firstly, the surface. To save repeating it again, let’s put it simply. Wooden gates require wood paint, wood stain, or varnish designed for use outdoors. Metal gates need specific metal paints to get the job done and protect the surface from rust.

Second, the colour. You can be as bold as you’d like with your fence gates. There are a wide range of colours available for both wooden and metal gates. For the hinges, handles, and bolts, you can either use a bold colour that makes them stand out, or a more subtle one that still complements the rest of the gate.

If you want to be less bold with your gates, you can use stains or varnish for a more natural look that lets the woodgrain show through. For metal gates, there a lots of muted colours that look fantastic too.

Thirdly, the sheen. With any painting project, you need to keep in mind how shiny you want the surface to be. This affects how it looks at different times of the day, and in direct sunlight. Wood surfaces rarely have a high sheen level, only reflecting light when wet, and there aren’t many wood paints that make the surface shinier.

Metal paints, on the other hand, can be almost any sheen level. If you’re using a bold colour, you may want a matte finish to make it stand out more. Alternatively, a high sheen looks great on metal gates that have more muted colours.

Painting gates may seem like a simple job, but you have a lot of options to make them look great.

How to Paint Gates

Usually at this point in our blogs we’d introduce an in-depth guide that teaches you how to make your gates look amazing. However, on this occasion we’re talking about two different types of gate: wood and metal, so we won’t have a painting guide.

But don’t click away just yet! At Paintmaster we never like to leave you without the right info, so here’s some tips for painting your gates.

  • PAINTING TIP ONE: Exterior painting leaves you at the mercy of the weather. The painting itself may not take more than an hour, but you’ll need a day or so for the paint to dry completely. Any strong wind or dreaded showers will set you back to square one, so time your outdoor projects carefully.

  • PAINTING TIP TWO: Before you start painting, clean the surface as thoroughly as possible. Dirt and grime will prevent the paint from sticking and can show through even multiple layers of paint. For older gates, you may want to consider sanding them first to make the surface smoother. You should also sand away as much rust as possible on metal gates.

  • PAINTING TIP THREE: The number of layers you’ll need depends on the paint you choose. Thicker paints or varnishes only need one, but others require two or three to look their best. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions before you begin.

For more specific painting advice, check out our metal painting guide for metal gates, or our fence painting blog for the wooden variety.

The UK’s Most Trusted Paint Supplier

As winter comes to an end, now’s the time to think about your next exterior painting project. Painting fences and gates is a great place to start, and is a very satisfying project if you have the right paint for the job.

We’re the no.1 choice for tradespeople, with large quantities of paint available at competitive prices, and we’re loved by domestic painters too!

Check out our blog for more information, advice and guides about all things painting. If you have any questions about any of our products, please get in touch.

We look forward to hearing from you.