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How to Clean Your Wood Fence

September 5, 2018

Natural elements, like sun and rain, can wear down a fence overtime. This will slowly make the wood turn grey and splintered. But with proper upkeep, you can help extend the life of your fence and improve its look. That’s why it’s a good idea to wash your fence on a regular basis. We’ll teach you the basic do’s and don’ts of washing your fence, so you’ll be able to have your fence looking new again.


First Steps

You’ll only need a couple things to wash your fence: fence cleaner solution and a pressure washer. When it comes to pressure washers, you’ll want to use one that’s rated at around 1200-2000 psi for hardwoods, and less than that for softer woods. Be sure to prepare the area before washing, such as covering any nearby plants to protect them.


If your fence has previously been stained, you’ll need to use a stain stripper before washing. The manufacturer’s instructions can guide you through this process. Typically, that will include applying the stain stripper, allowing it to soak, then scrubbing and rinsing the stain off.


If your fence doesn’t have any stain on it, you’ll be able to get started immediately. Add the deck cleaner to the pressure washer, connect it to a hose, and you’ll be ready to begin.


When using the pressure washer on the fence, you’ll want to use slow, even strokes and make sure the tip is about 12” to 18” away from the surface. It’s a good idea to keep the spray wand moving constantly, and a wide angle tip is recommended as you don’t want strong pressure in a single, focused location. By using the wrong tip, or by spraying too close to the fence, you could potentially damage the wood.


Right away, you’ll be able to notice the difference between the dull, grey panels and the panels that have been pressure washed. Continue washing the fence in a uniform fashion until your entire fence is clean.


For anyone doing this without a pressure washer, you’ll need stiff bristled brush, commonly known as a deck brush, to scrub your fence clean. This will make the job significantly harder because you’ll be manually scrubbing the fence, but it’s still an option for those who don’t have access to a pressure washer.


Even if you do use a pressure washer, a deck brush could come in handy for any tough stains that might remain.


Next Steps

Once you’ve finished cleaning the fence and it’s dry again, it’d be a good idea to look for any imperfections. You can smooth down rough edges, or fill in any cracks with wood putty. You can read more about how to make minor repairs to fences here.


After you’ve finished washing your fence and making any repairs, your fence will be ready for staining. You can read how to do that here.


Washing your fence can help bring new life to it and help it last longer. Unfortunately, fences will eventually reach a point where they’ll need to be replaced. If you’d like some advice on when you should replace your fence, read our post here.


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