If you are like most fence owners in the Bay Area, you probably loved your fence when it first when up. But, thanks to the elements like rain, sun, and wind, even the most durable fences eventually look dull and tired.
If you haven’t taken a close look at your fence, you should go out and take a close look.
Have you never stained it?
Is there mold or mildew on it?
If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, it is probably time to power wash your fence.
At least that’s what we recommend here at Bay Area Automatic Gates.
It is certainly possible to wash your fence by hand with a cloth, some brushes, soap, and elbow grease, many people want to use a power washer, instead.
Here’s some information that can help you decide if you should power wash, pressure wash, or use soap and a cloth:
Pressure vs. Power Washing
People often use the terms “power washing” and “pressure washing” interchangeably.
The two cleaning methods are very similar except for one minor distinction.
Power washers use hot water, while pressure washers can use water of any temperature.
So which do you use on your fence?
Pressure washing works well for cleaning off surface dirt.
It’s a good choice if your fence is not too filthy.
But if your fence is moldy, has ground-in dirt, or has chewing gum stuck to it, power washing will be more effective.
The type of power washer you use will also depend on your fence type.
Here are a few tips for power washing your fence:
- Absolutely wear protective eyewear. Safety first!
- Add a little bleach to kill mold.
- Just now getting around to staining your year-old fence? Washing it first will prep it for staining. But let it dry thoroughly between power washing and staining.
- Choose the right tip size. Wider tips mean lower pressure. For wooden fences, don’t go any lower than a 25-degree tip or you risk cutting marks into your fence. A 40-degree tip is safer.
- Don’t use pressure higher than 1800 PSI on a wood fence, as it could splinter or even split the wood.
- While it’s safe to use a higher pressure on a vinyl fence, it’s seldom necessary.
- Test the power washer on a small corner of the fence to make sure you have it set on a non-damaging PSI.
- Hold the sprayer three to four feet away from the fence. Slowly swing the nozzle back and forth like a pendulum.
- Rinse off any cleaning solution residue with fresh water. Don’t let the solution sit for more than 10 minutes.
- A power washer is not a magic wand. It’s hard work and is physically tiring.
- Watch out for pets, joggers, texting teens, blind neighbors, or anyone else who might get in your way. Remember, this water is hot and coming out at very high pressure.
- When in doubt, read the manual!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to pressure wash fence before painting?
Yes. Pressure washing fences before painting is recommended because it will remove dirt so it is not “painted” onto the fence.
How much psi do I need to clean my fence?
You need at least 2500 PSI to effectively clean a wood fence.
Can you pressure wash a wooden fence?
Yes, you can pressure wash wooden fences but should use a lower PSI to not damage the wood.
Can you power wash a vinyl fence?
Yes. Power and pressure washing vinyl is an effective way to blast off dirt