Fences protect your family and your property, but who protects them? They take the brunt of the wind and weather 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, and that kind of exposure takes its toll. It can lead to staining, biological hangers-on, and structural damage. However, if properly cleaned and maintained, fences can last longer and do their work more efficiently. We’ve gathered a few things you should know before you pressure wash your fence.
Is It OK to Pressure Wash a Wood Fence?
If you want to pressure wash your fence, know that it is not a job for the faint of heart. Because it is such a powerful process, the likelihood of damaging the fence is high if the pressure washing is not handled properly. That being said, it is possible to pressure wash your fence effectively.
The key is to combine the right nozzle and psi settings for your fence specifically. Pressure that is too low will not remove lichen or stains, while pressure that is too high or a nozzle that is too focused will rip through a wooden fence. The ideal nozzle tip sprays at a 25° angle. That should give the correct coverage for a good clean without damaging the fence.
Resolving the pressure question is a little less straightforward. While a general rule is to use low PSI settings so as not to damage the wood, a specific PSI range is dependent on the type of wood, specifically its hardness. A PSI between 500 to 800 should be sufficient for softer woods, while harder woods respond better to a range closer to 1200 to 1500.
To determine which pressure settings work best for the type of wood your fence is made of, it is essential to test them out. When using any new pressure setting or nozzle to pressure wash your fence, spray a small area, preferably out of immediate sight, to see how your fence responds to the treatment. Try different PSI levels in different sections to see which range delivers the best results. This step is absolutely essential every time if you want to preserve the integrity of your fence.
Before You Start
Pressure washing combines raw power with potent chemicals, so it’s not a job to undertake lightly. Wear personal protective equipment, including gloves and eye protection, the entire time. Before you begin pressure washing, prepare the area on and around your fence by clearing away loose debris.
Cover anything you don’t want to spray with tarping, including plants, deck furniture, lighting fixtures, and electrical outlets, and close all windows and doors to prevent water from entering your home and wreaking havoc. Be careful of dousing surrounding plants with detergent-heavy water. Hosing down the plants beforehand will saturate the soil so the soapy stuff runs off, but covering the plants for the short time while you pressure wash your fence will further protect them. Make sure you are familiar with the operation manual for the pressure washer you use.
The first step to pressure washing a fence is to lather it with detergent, especially over troublesome areas like patches of lichen, moss, or droppings. With both detergent and pressurized water, work in sections along the fence, working from the bottom up to avoid streaks. Never turn on the pressure washer before you determine that both sides of the fence are free from anything or anyone that might be hurt by the stream of water.
Allow the detergent to sit and work for 5 to 10 minutes, wetting occasionally if patches start to dry. For especially dirty areas, you may need to apply a rotating scrub brush. Many pressure washers come with these attachments, and the soft inner bristles of the brush are propelled by the water pressure of the machine. After the detergent, the pressure is on. Rinse with the correct PSI settings.
After you pressure wash your fence, you may choose to stain it. Wait at least 48 hours before staining after a wash to make sure not to trap in the moisture. Staining too early can foster mold or mildew underneath the stain.
Professional Service to Pressure Wash Your Fence
We started by asking “can you pressure wash your fence?” While the answer is yes, it doesn’t have to be. Pressure washing a fence is a time-consuming and taxing job, and it’s a very easy one to get wrong. Save yourself time and energy and leave the troublesome job to our team at Liberty Power Wash.
Our extensive experience with pressure washing all kinds of wood and fences ensures that we always use the correct pressure and the perfect combination of detergents. We have a track record of excellent service, so if you want to extend the longevity of your fence in a way that is convenient for you, let Liberty Power Wash pressure wash your fence.