Pressure washing a wooden perimeter fence is an effective way to remove dirt and grime accumulated for years. However, the process can be tricky. Using the wrong amount of pressure or applying the improper technique can damage the wood, costing you money in repair and replacement.
In this blog post, we’ll go over the steps on how to pressure wash a wooden fence. The process involves cleaning the wood, stripping it and re-staining the wood to make the enclosure last longer.
How to Pressure Wash a Wooden Fence
Pressure washing your fence is more efficient and effective than hand washing. You’ll need the following tools and materials to get the job done:
- Pressure washer
- Garden hose
- Protective gear (goggles, gloves etc.)
- Wood filler
- Deck brush
- Drop cloths
After preparing all the tools and materials, follow the steps below, so you know how to pressure wash a wooden fence correctly:
Step 1: Preparation
Before you begin blasting away at the dirt, mud, grime and debris on your fence, you need to prepare the work area first. This step involves removing obstacles along your way. Cover any nearby wires, electrical components, fixtures and plants, protecting them from splashes of pressurized water.
Close all windows and doors before you start working on your fence. Sweep away any debris you can find on the ground if any. Use your garden hose to spray off light mud and dirt. If you’re using a gas-powered pressure washer, make sure the exhaust isn’t pointed at any occupied areas in your home.
Wear protective clothing, including gloves and goggles. Pressure washers tend to send debris flying everywhere, and they can pose a risk of harm. Finally, never leave your pressure washer unattended and release any remaining pressure by squeezing the trigger and disconnecting the nozzles and hose.
Step 2: Applying the Detergent Cleaner
Attach a low-pressure soap nozzle to apply a wood cleaner formula designed for the type of wood used to construct your fence. Next, spray the detergent using low pressure from top to bottom. Using this technique ensures that you cover all wooden surfaces to remove mold and mildew effectively later when you begin spraying with high-pressure water.
Use a rotating scrub nozzle for filthy and heavily stained spots on the wood. It’s more effective at stripping away any hard-to-remove dirt and blemishes. Apply the cleaner to several pickets with each pass to get the job done quickly. Finally, allow the detergent to remain on the surface of the wood, allowing it to loosen debris and previous coatings.
Don’t leave the cleaner to dry on the wood. Instead, follow the detergent’s package instructions to determine how long to soak the wood in the detergent. While waiting, flush the cleaner out of the pressure washer.
Step 3: Spraying the Fence
Nozzle Type: After letting the detergent sit for a few minutes, attach your nozzle of choice to your pressure washer. Some prefer using a rotating nozzle, which effectively strips off the previous coating on the wood. On the other hand, some prefer straight or flat nozzles, which can target multiple pickets simultaneously, reducing the amount of working time.
When deciding which nozzle to use, it depends on the damage to the fence. A rotating nozzle will be the better choice if you’re dealing with lots of mold, mildew, and old coating. But if you just need to strip the old coating on the wood, then a flat or straight nozzle will work well.
You can damage the fence either with a rotating or straight nozzle. Using the wrong pressure or pointing the nozzle too close to the wood will tear up the fibers and cause irreparable damage.
Pressure Level: Manufacturers recommended 500 to 800 PSI to clean fences with softwood. If hardwood was used to construct the fence, you could use 1,200 to 1,500 PSI. However, if you’re unsure of the appropriate pressure, start with 500 PSI and gradually increase the pressure until you see the old coat on the wood start to peel off. In addition, make sure to pressure test on parts of your fence that will be hidden from view.
Spraying and Rinsing Technique:
- Spray along the wood grain, which is usually in a top to bottom direction.
- Apply overlapping passes to ensure an even clean and prevent streaks on the wood’s surface.
- After cleaning, allow the fence to dry for 48 hours. Wipe excess moisture using deck cloths.
Step 4: Staining and Sealing the Wood
After the wooden fence has dried, use a brush to apply a stain and sealer that matches the color of your home. Make sure to spot treat mold and mildew with bleach before working on the fence. Finally, apply a filler before staining or sealing if you find any imperfections on the wood.
Leave It to the Fence Restoration Experts
Sometimes the amount of damage to your wooden enclosure can be too extensive. Cleaning and restoring it to its original vibrant look will often be too laborious and time-consuming. It is best to leave it to fence restoration experts like Nortex Fence & Patio in such situations.
Our team has more than 24 years of experience cleaning and restoring fences in Dallas and nearby areas. You can leverage our extensive industry experience and expertise when you work with us. Call 972-382-7800 today or fill out this contact form to get a free estimate.