Having a fence dispute is usually common in the neighborhoods. If you have a misunderstanding with your neighbor over the sides of the fence to paint, you need to know your boundary rights. For example, you can ask “can I paint my side of the fence”? or if the fence is neighbor’s, do I need to ask for permission to do that?

It can be very difficult to live close to a person or family who you have a misunderstanding with. But if you always want to maintain a good relationship with the people in your neighborhood, you must be aware of boundary rights and fence painting etiquette.

We are going to explain in this article, the issues concerning boundary fences, particularly fence painting etiquette, which will greatly help you to avoid disputes with your neighbors.

Who Owns the Fence?

This is a common question among homeowners. Though some people do not share their fences with anyone and do not have to wage wars with their neighbors to settle this common question. The most convenient and ideal way to discover the legal owner of the fence that separates two neighboring homes is with a conveyance deed, transfer papers, or title plan.

If you were not able to find it in writing, search for it in the “T-mark” on those documents, if it is situated on your side of the fence, it shows you are the rightful owner. But when you see the “H-mark”, it shows that both you and your neighbor own the fence, and should share the responsibility.

Sometimes, these documents may not have such information, and it can be annoying. But there is still a way out, another way to discover which side of the fence that belongs to you is to get the seller’s property information form, which is detailed information about the property filled by the previous owner. The legal owner of the fence might be contained in that storm.

If that option also fails is the last resort is your Local Council or Municipality. They can direct you to original survey plans or local Land Title Office for guidance.

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Can I Paint My Side of the Fence?

Painting your side of the fence is generally a good option as long as you are using the same color used on your neighbor’s side. Your neighbor may likely not oppose the idea, but it would be more preferable to seek permission before embarking on such a plan.

When your side of the fence is on your property line, you can go ahead by all means and paint it, but when your side of the fence is entirely on your neighbor’s property line, you have no right to touch it as it contradicts the fence painting etiquette and laws. Legally, you are not supposed to paint your side of the fence that is not on your property line.

Regardless, who owns the fence, the best practice is to talk to your neibour before painting it.

Can I Paint My Side of a Neighbor’s Fence?

Painting your side of a neighbors fence may be acceptable legally only if your side falls on your property line. However, it will be more appropriate to seek the consent of the person that spent time, effort, and money in erecting the fence. But if the fence falls entirely on your neighbor’s property line, you have no right to go near it or alter its color, unless you would want to seek legal right.

If you are a good neighbor or you are intending to be one, meet the fence owner and promise him that you will do good work at painting your side. And, run through your plan, color and time frame for painting so they know your painting projects does not contradict with their expectations.

In this case, you have to be very careful not to allow any unappealing drips that will stain their side of the fence. If you fail to keep to your word, you may likely to pay for the painting job or repaint their side of the fence too.

Can I Paint Both Sides of the Fence?

You have every right to paint both sides of the fence if the fence is not on your neighbor’s property line. It means that the fence is entirely yours. So, you need not explain to ask for permission from anybody because it is entirely your property. But, I would still explain the neighbor what about to take place as good manners.

Nevertheless, if the fence is on your neighbor’s property line, you must ask for his permission before doing so. Bear in mind that some neighbors might not like the color of your fence you have in your mind, perhaps you wanted to maintain the color of the wood, and they think it is not nice. In that case, they might also want to paint their side of your fence so that it can correspond with the color theme of their entire home.

But legally, no neighbor has the right to paint any side of your fence, particularly when the right to change the color because your color was not nice to them. The fence is yours, and you have the right to paint both sides with any color of your choice.

Regardless, in most cases, following the fence painting etiquette is more important than legal boundaries for fence painting.

Tip: If you are thinking of putting a new fence on a slope, be double cautions.

Fence Painting Etiquette

Sure, you have every right to paint your fence especially when it is entirely within your property line. But what happens when the fence belongs to your neighbor, and you desire to paint your side of the fence? In this case, you must follow fence painting etiquette so you would not create any dispute between you and your neighbor. At least, you can stop going ahead before a possible dispute.

1. Define your property line

You need to know where your property starts and ends as a homeowner. Legally, you are responsible for the fence on your property line but have no right to it so long as it doesn’t fall on your property line. This means painting it may bring issues between you and your neighbor, if the fence is not yours.

So, to be able to know your right over the fence, you are expected to find out the last end of your property line.

2. Talk to your neighbors

Speaking to your neighbor is of the most important fence painting etiquette, this will enable you to find out if the fence belongs to your neighbors before going ahead to paint your side of the fence. And once it is already established that the fence belongs to your neighbor after your inquiry, it is expected that you initiate a friendly conversation with the person to seek his permission to paint your side of his fence. It shows you are reasonable enough and a good neighbor. Going ahead to paint your side of your neighbor’s fence without his permission may get them offended and possibly lead to disagreement.

3. Use the right paint

Wrong paint on wood can cause a fence rot as it may seal up moisture in the wood rather than painting it and allowing it to breathe. Your neighbor might not be happy when your paint causes damage to his fence. In that case, they may sue you and charge you for damages.

4. Do a nice job

Do not allow paint drips on your neighbor’s side. It may annoy your neighbor. Also, make sure you clean the fence first before painting and avoid painting over dirt.

When you do a nice job, your neighbor will be pleased, and it can contribute immensely to your relationship.


Some Useful Tips That Will Help You Paint a Wooden Fence

Painting a wooden fence needs a certain technique and needs to be handled with care.

Here are some tips on how to paint a wooden fence to be able to get a finishing that will impress your neighbors.

  • Prepare the fence

Certain precautions should be taken to avoid damaging the wood or your paint job quality.

For example, you need to mow your grass beforehand to be able to get the lower part of the plywood under the fence (on top of the grass) can help protect your home from paint dripping.

If you discover that the woods used for your fence are broken off, that implies that you would need to replace them.

  • Prepare your materials

The better the materials and tools you use to paint your fence, the better the result you will get. So, to make the work very fast for you, make sure you get all your materials and tools ready ahead of time.

These materials include; a small step ladder, an extension cord, and latex gloves, old clothes to wear, tarps, painters tape, and paint. You may also need sandpaper for areas that may require some filling down before applying the new coat.

  • Do some repairs before painting

Things like ditches or rusty nails under the fence are meant to be attended to before putting on new paint.

Check out for any loose nail. If there is any, ply them out and at the same time, replace them. This may take some time but is important to make sure that your paint job isn’t in vain.

  • Consider your climate

Your climate determines how often you need to repaint your fence. The major purpose of staining or repainting your wooden fence is to help prevent moisture from bleeding it. That means, if you are in an area where rain falls more often, you will need to repaint your wooden fence every two years at maximum.

  • Use a wood fence cleaner

After you have filled down some rough spots of the wooden fence or have made some other alterations, there will be a need to wash it with a cleaner. So, be sure that you are using the right cleaner for a wooden fence.

  • Research spraying method

Though the creation of a paint sprayer has made painting easier than before, you need to check out the proper spraying method that is peculiar to the sprayer model you are using. Again, be sure you apply the number of coats the sprayer’s manual recommends to gain a perfect finishing.

  • Consider the stain or paint you are using

The choice of stain or paint you are to use on your wooden fence should be carefully made. Some paints soak into woods, which make it very hard to wear off for a long period. So, your research must be based on or channel to the best brands. Again, be sure you get enough quantity of paint you will need. It is better to have a little left after your whole painting than the paint to finish mid-way through your work.

  • Apply your chosen color

You can start to paint or stain the fence with your chosen color using your choice of a tool such as a roller, brush, or sprayer.

– Use a natural-bristle brush for oil-based products to spread through wooden fence slats.

– If you are going for a roller, go for a midsize nap roller cover.

– If you choose a sprayer, check out for the particular spraying method for the model.

Do not economize the quantity of paint you use on your fence. Make sure it penetrates fully in the wood for better protection and appearance.

Some Safety Tips on Painting Your Fence

Fence painting may like a palatable serene chore, but there are dangers attached to it. Here are some safety tips to take while painting your fence.

  • Put on your goggles to avoid eye splashes and change into a disposable suit or old clothes to protect your skin or clothes.
  • Wear the appropriate gloves; impermeable gloves while using water-based paints, tough gloves for sanding paints and solvent resistant ones for solvent-based paints.
  • Wear a dust mask when preparing the fence to avoid inhaling unwanted particles. You can also wear a mask to avoid fumes while painting.
  • If paint gets on your skin, clean it immediately with soapy water. If paint gets in your eyes, wash immediately with warm water.
  • Be very careful while using a ladder, make sure you wear the appropriate shoes as well.


Neighbors often have a dispute among themselves over fences, but if the two parties involved can discuss well, the issue could be resolved amicably.

However, when you don’t relate well with your neighbor, the situation can be more severe than reaching a reasonable agreement could be utterly impossible.

Remember that you may have the legal right to paint your neighbor’s fence, which is in your property line, but it is more appropriate to ask for his permission.

If a fence falls entirely on someone’s property line, the neighbor has no legal right over it and therefore will not have to change the color without proper permission.