Pressure washing is a great method to rejuvenate a fence, making it ready for staining or simply reviving its pristine look. If you’re new to using a pressure washer, ensure you approach the task with caution. Improper use can damage the fence and even harm you. Below are some expert tips to ensure a safe and efficient cleaning:
Should Fences Be Pressure Washed? Yes, fences can be pressure washed, but it’s essential to do it correctly. Depending on the nozzle, detergent, and technique used, you can avoid damaging the wood. Over-pressurizing or using a concentrated nozzle can be detrimental to the fence.
Why Pressure Wash Your Fence? Fences enhance the aesthetics and security of a property. However, external elements can degrade its appearance over time. Pressure washing can remove contaminants, ensuring the fence’s longevity. Also, before any staining or painting, it’s recommended to pressure wash to achieve a flawless finish.
How Regularly Should a Fence Be Pressure Washed? Depending on environmental factors and visible dirt or grime buildup, a general guideline is to pressure wash your fence annually.
Pressure Washing Tips:
- Prioritize Safety: The force from a pressure washer can cause injuries. Always wear protective attire and goggles. Know the basics of operating the washer, and always ensure it’s on a stable surface. After use, relieve any trapped pressure by pressing the wand trigger.
- Prepare the Area: Clear nearby objects that might get in your way or be damaged. Close house openings like doors and windows to prevent water infiltration. Always refer to your washer’s user manual before starting.
- Guard Plants and Ground: Drench surrounding plants with water or cover them to protect from detergents. For potted plants, move them away from the wash zone.
- Select the Appropriate Nozzle: For wooden fences, typically, a 25-degree (green) nozzle works best, ensuring efficient cleaning without causing damage.
- Opt for Suitable PSI Levels: For softer woods, maintain a PSI range of 500-800, and for harder ones, 1200-1500. Always test on a small patch to ensure it doesn’t harm the fence.
- Choose the Right Cleaner: Use a wood-specific detergent that can combat moss and mold without harming the wood. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes before rinsing.
- Adopt a Bottom-Up Technique: Start from the base and move upwards to avoid unsightly streaks on the fence.
- Clean in Segments: If you have an expansive fence, break your task into sections. This ensures the detergent doesn’t dry up before rinsing.
- Employ a Scrub Brush for Tough Stains: For persistent stains, consider using a rotating scrub brush attachment. It can effectively remove deeply embedded dirt.
Additional Tip: If you find the task daunting, consider hiring professional fence cleaning services. They bring expertise and save you valuable time, ensuring a spotless result.
Consider Environmental Concerns: While pressure washing is effective, it’s important to consider the environmental impact. Detergents and debris from the cleaning process can flow into storm drains and potentially harm aquatic life. To minimize this impact, use eco-friendly detergents and control runoff by directing it away from storm drains. Additionally, you can lay down absorbent materials, such as straw or sand, to capture any runoff and prevent contamination of water sources.
Post-Washing Maintenance: Once you’ve successfully pressure-washed your fence, it’s a good idea to perform some post-washing maintenance. Inspect the fence for any loose or damaged boards and address these issues promptly. Consider applying a wood sealer or stain to protect the freshly cleaned wood from future damage. Regular maintenance, including sealing or staining, will help extend the life of your fence and keep it looking its best. Lastly, properly store your pressure washer and equipment to ensure they remain in good working condition for the next cleaning task.