How To Pressure Wash a Fence

After a few years exposed to the sun and other harsh outdoor elements, a fence will start to show signs of aging. Some of the most common signs that a fence will need some making over are if it starts to crack or warp (due to exposure to rain); if its surface begins to turn gray (due to exposure to the sun) and if it begins to look dirty and grimy. It definitely pays to take the time and exert some effort in improving the look of your fence since it’s one of the first few things that a person would see upon viewing your house.

With that being said, how can you start improving the look of your fence? Whether you decide to give it a fresh new look with new paint, or if you just want to have it cleaned, pressure washing is one of the most effective ways to start improving your fence. If you’re looking to find out how to pressure wash your fence, read on:

1.    Prepare for your cleaning project. You will need a pressure washer, the correct nozzle (check the manual for the maker’s recommended type of nozzle for fence cleaning projects), and cleaning solution. A word about the cleaning solution next.

2.    As much as possible, avoid using alkaline-based cleaning solutions for fences; instead, opt for acid-based cleansers. Ask for recommendations from your local hardware store. Also, avoid letting the cleaning solution stay for more than fifteen minutes on the fence, as this could lead to ugly residue stains. Once you apply this on the wood, rinse it off with water after about five minutes with your pressure washer.

3.    Apply just enough pressure. It’s highly important that you consult your pressure washer’s manual about  the proper pressure and distance that you will use the machine. The generally-recommended wooden fence washing pressure is at 500 to 800 PSI. The pressure your pressure washer exerts will depend on the type of nozzle that you use. The smaller the nozzle opening, the stronger the water pressure it exerts. It is generally recommended that you use a 40” spray for cleaning wooden fences.

Remember not to use very high water pressure, as this can cause the wooden fence to splinter.

Stay at a distance of about three to four feet away from the fence, and control the nozzle so that the water travels through a fan-like arc from your pressure washer to the fence. If you feel that the dirt and grime are not being effectively removed in this manner, you could gradually ease closer to the fence.      

4.    Use cold or tepid water for cleaning your fence. Hot water can cause damage to the appearance of your wooden fence. For best results, pressure wash a small, isolated section of your fence first and see if the pressure, distance and the water temperature is just right and doesn’t cause damage to the wood.

There you have it! Remember that your efforts at pressure washing your fence will ultimately save you money, since you’d better be able to avoid the expenses of having to completely replace your old fence with a new one. Regular upkeep and maintenance is key. Good luck!


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