How To Clean A Wood Fence With A Pressure Washer?

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
31 min read

Do you want to learn how to use a pressure washer to clean a wood fence? You’ve come to the right place if you answered yes to any of the following questions: Here’s a quick rundown:

Remove heavy or embedded material from the fence by using a wire brush to remove the dirt. Protect the wood fence by covering it with a plastic substance to prevent damage to the surrounding grass or plants. In order to make cleaning the wood fence as simple as possible, follow a sequence of procedures. Clean the wood fence regularly and remove tenacious moss, algae, mold, and mildew from the surface. There’s a lot more to learn, to be sure. It’s best to continue reading to find out how to do it correctly using the step-by-step instructions that include what you already know.

First and foremost, use a wire brush to remove any very soiled regions and to loosen any particularly stubborn filth.

Tip 2: To prevent damage to plants, place a plastic sheet over the top of them.

Tip 3: For fence washing, a 25-degree nozzle is probably preferable. A nozzle with a 0 degree angle provides the greatest pressure. According to their pressure, nozzles are color coded as follows:

Zero degrees and the greatest pressure are represented by the color red. If you don’t want to end up with damaged wood, stay away from this.

For concrete, hard porous surfaces, or any other surface that needs to be stripped, use 15 degrees of pressure.

For painted surfaces such as wood, siding, and fences, 25 degrees is ideal.

Windows and screens can be cleaned safely with white at 40 degrees.

Spray on detergents with black (65°F) ink.

Tip 4: Don’t get too close to the fence since you could get hurt.

Tip 5: To avoid grain rising and premature aging of your fence, wash your hands with cold water. To put it another way, pressure washers don’t use heat and power washers do.


Pressure washing your wood fence

If you do decide to use a detergent, look for one that is specifically formulated for cleaning wood. Use a spray nozzle with a black, 65-degree tip to apply the wood cleaning. Apply a few board’s breadth of spray in each pass from the bottom to the top. If you’re not sure how long to keep it on your fence, ask the detergent’s manufacturer.

How to Clean a Wood Fence | Rustic Fence | Fence Company Serving Dallas-Fort Worth

Next, use a 25-degree nozzle tip to spray the detergent away. Overlap your strokes as you go from top to bottom and from side to side. If you’re staining or sealing the fence, wait until it’s completely dry before doing so.

Here are the procedures to use a pressure washer to clean a wooden fence. As long as you stick to these guidelines, you won’t inadvertently harm your fence.

What is Pressure Washing?

Prior to staining, you must first pressure wash the fence to remove any dirt or grime. These surfaces include fences, buildings, and automobiles. Pressure washing is the use of high-pressure water to remove things like dirt and mud.

Two to four high-pressure jets swivel around each other when the water is flowing in a pressure washer. Water is pumped through the system at high pressure, effectively cleaning surfaces in a short period of time.

Vehicles, siding, parking lots, walkways and patios have all been known to be cleaned with pressure washers. They are quite adaptable and have been known to be utilized on a wide range of surfaces.

What is Staining?

If you’re going to pressure wash and stain your fence, you’ve probably previously heard of staining. It doesn’t matter if you’ve done staining before or if this is your first time.

It is necessary to apply a finish to wood (in this case, staining a fence) in order to change its appearance. To bring out the grain of the fence, for example, or to change its color, stain can be used. It can also be used to protect it against weathering.

The advantages of staining your fence are numerous, as stated above. Staining your fence will help keep it looking good, keep it protected from the elements, and improve its overall quality. Fences that have been sanded and stained might look as good as new.

Why Pressure Washing a Fence Before Staining is Important

There is a lot more to staining a fence than simply slathering on the stain and waiting for it to dry. Cleaning the fence thoroughly before staining it is a crucial part of the staining process. With power washing, a fence may be cleaned effectively and quickly before staining.

So, why is power washing and cleaning a fence so critical before staining it? To prepare a fence for staining or any other form of finish, you must first remove any previous finishes and clean the fence of any dirt, dust, grime, or other buildup. There is a great probability that your new stain will not work if you do nothing.

A fence that has not been pressure washed and cleaned before staining will allow the new stain to lay on top of the old stain and also on top of anything else that may have been sitting on the fence’s surface, causing the new stain to peel off prematurely instead of truly permeating the wood.

Pressure washing a fence before staining it will remove any flaws that may show through the stain’s surface. Mold and other fungi can’t grow in wood after pressure washing eliminates any material that’s built up between the boards.

What Can Happen if You Don’t Pressure Wash a Fence Before Staining

When it comes to pressure washing your fence before staining, you may still be considering it. Pressure washing your fence before staining is absolutely necessary, and here’s why.

Prior to staining your fence, you should pressure wash it to remove any dirt and debris that may have accumulated over time (es). If your new stain fails to adhere properly to the wood, it will peel off and appear worse than before.

For this reason, pressure washing your fence first before staining will reveal a greater number of flaws and undesired areas in the wood.

How to Pressure Wash a Fence Before Staining

Pressure washing a fence before staining is essential, and now that you know why, you can learn how to do it yourself. A brief overview of the steps will be followed by a step-by-step breakdown so that you know exactly what to do when and how.

Overview of Steps to Pressure Washing a Fence

Here’s a quick rundown of the stages involved in pressure washing a fence in preparation for staining:

  1. Gather the essential resources. assemble them.
  2. Make sure that you use the correct spraying technique when working on the fence.
  3. Do a thorough cleaning of the fence and surrounding areas.
  4. Allow time for the fence to dry.
  5. Staining is about to begin.

Step One: Collect the Necessary Materials

There isn’t much work involved in pressure washing a fence, and the materials needed are minimal, but you should still gather all the supplies you’ll need ahead of time. You’ll need the following items to power wash your fence before staining it:

  • Pressure washer (preferably gas powered)
  • How to choose the best pressure washer nozzle or tip?
  • A source of water

Getting the Right Pressure Washer to Use on a Fence

It is possible to use either an electric pressure washer or a gas pressure washer to clean a surface. When it comes to pressure washers, the more psi (pounds per square inch) they have, the more difficult the job they can handle. They rely on a constant stream of water to provide a certain number of gallons of water every minute (gpm).

Garage flooring, outside grills, and automobiles all benefit greatly from the use of electric pressure washers. They have a flow rate of 1 to 1.5 gallons per minute and a pressure per square inch of 1,300 to 1,400.

A gas pressure washer works well for pre-pressure cleaning a fence before staining it. As it turns out, gas pressure washers account for the vast majority of pressure washers available for rental or purchase. If you want to pressure wash your fence, it will be easy to obtain a pressure washer for rent or purchase.

Should I Pressure Wash My Fence Before Staining -

Up to 3,000 psi and 2 to 3 gallons of water per minute are delivered by gas-powered pressure washers. This is a comparison of electric pressure washers vs. gas pressure washers. Gas pressure washers are ideal for larger and heavier-duty operations, such as deep cleaning concrete, preparing siding for painting, and of course, washing a fence before staining.

How Much PSI Do You Need To Pressure Wash Your Fence?

In addition to pine and cedar, cypress and redwood are also common materials for fences. Fencing can also be constructed from different types of wood, of course. No single PSI is suitable for all fences because they are constructed from a variety of materials.

Start between 500 and 800 PSI if you want to be safe. Spray a small portion of your fence and see what happens. You can increase the PSI if it isn’t cleaning correctly. You need to lower your PSI if it’s destroying your fences. Start washing the rest of your fence once you’ve found the proper PSI.

What Type of Pressure Washer Soap Do You Need for Your Fence?

To clean your fence, there are a wide variety of soaps available. Everything from the most basic dish soap to the most specialist deck and fence pressure washer soap. Make your own soap for the fence.

Getting the Correct Tip/Nozzle for the Pressure Washer

Pressure washers come with a variety of nozzles and tips that can be used for a variety of purposes. In order to clean your fence with the help of a pressure washer, you’ll need to get some advise from the rental company on what kind of tip or nozzle you’ll need.

The lower the pressure, the larger the spray, the better for pressure washer tips and nozzles. While a 40 degree tip will provide a larger spray, a 10 degree tip will produce a more concentrated burst of water.

In order to effectively pressure wash a fence, a 25-degree tip/nozzle is recommended. In order to successfully clean the fence, it delivers adequate pressure without destroying it or leaving obvious wounds and stains.

Step Two: Follow the Right Technique for Spraying the Fence

Pressure washing your fence is a lot of fun once you have the correct tools. Spraying your fence is now possible. If you’re not careful, you could end up destroying your fence if you don’t follow a few simple guidelines.

Prep Before Starting the Pressure Washer

Before you even begin to use your pressure washer, there is some preparatory work to be done. To begin, check to see that your water supply is functioning properly.

There are certain requirements for the length, internal diameter, and standard fittings needed to connect the pressure washer’s inlet on most garden hoses in order to produce the 2-3 gallons per minute that gas-powered pressure washers require from their hoses.

Check for kinks or folds in your garden hose and pressure washer hose as well.

Next, make sure that all of your hose connections are airtight by tightening them. So that there are no surprises or kickbacks when you turn on the pressure washer, set your spray wand to a low or no power setting Use a wide-fan and low pressure setting on the nozzle if your gas-powered pressure washer has various nozzles. Remove all of the individual tips from your pressure washer.

Once you’re certain that your pressure washer’s water supply is working properly and that your connections and the pressure washer’s settings have been reduced, turn off the water supply. The pressure washer’s spray wand trigger can be used to prime the pump and remove any air from the system by squeezing the trigger. The pressure washer is now ready to go!

Starting a Gas-Powered Pressure Washer

The process of starting a gas-powered pressure washer is straightforward. To guarantee that everything is done correctly, follow these steps:

  1. The inlet filter should be cleaned of any debris.
  2. The pressure washer can be used with any additional attachments. If you’ve removed your tip nozzle, now is the moment to reinstall it.
  3. For about a minute, let the pressure washer run with water. Performing this procedure eliminates any remaining air from the system and primes the pressure washer.
  4. The water pressure can be drained by pressing the trigger on the spray wand.
  5. Prepare to spray by pulling the ignition cord.

Techniques for Spraying a Fence with a Pressure Washer

Pressure washers can cause damage to wood because it’s pliable. In order to avoid damaging your fence, you’ll need to follow the proper pressure washing approach.

Make sure you’re at least three feet away from the fence before you begin. The spray should be applied in long, uninterrupted lines, working your way down the fence from the top to the bottom. While doing so, pay attention to the wood’s grain. Cover a few boards at a time and work in parts that are clearly marked.

Continue using the pressure washer to clean the fence until it is completely clean.

Step Three: Tidy Up the Fence

The debris that you wash off the fence with the pressure washer could collect at the fence’s bottom while you’re spraying it. To be safe, you should clean up the fence and rinse off any material that may have been left behind at the bottom.

Remove any dirt or debris that has collected at the bottom of the fence by using your pressure washer to clean all the boards.

Step Four: Let the Fence Dry

Before you begin staining your fence, you must first allow it to dry out. Before staining, make sure the fence is totally dry and clean. After pressure washing and before staining, it’s best to let your fence dry for at least 48 hours.

Step Five: Get Ready to Apply Your Stain

Your fence is clean and ready for staining now that you’ve pressure cleaned it.

Tips for Pressure Washing an Extra-Dirty Fence

Fences, as you’ve probably noticed, are quite vulnerable to the effects of the elements. Fences can become more unkempt in certain regions, and this might be due to a lack of attention or carelessness. There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re going to power wash a particularly grimy fence in order to prepare it for staining.

Create Your Own Cleaning Solution

As a last resort, when plain old water isn’t doing the thing, you can make your own reasonably simple and inexpensive pressure washing cleaning solution. When using a power washer, add 14 cup bleach and 14 cup laundry detergent to each gallon of water.

Stains, mold and mildew can all be removed off your fence with this method.

Get a Scrub Brush Attachment for the Pressure Washer

There are a variety of accessories available for pressure washers because they are so flexible. A pressure washer attachment with a spinning scrub brush is available for use on exceptionally grimy fences.

Fences can be cleaned with rotating scrub brushes that have gentle inner bristles that will not harm the structure of the fence. The pressure washer propels and spins the bristles, which penetrate the wood to remove deeply embedded or persistent stains and filth.

Safety Tips for Using Pressure Washers

The most crucial aspect of operating a pressure washer is to ensure your own safety. When using a pressure washer, remember these safety precautions to keep you and those around you safe:

  • When using a power washer, never put your hand in front of the nozzle.
  • People, children, and pets are not to be pointed at by the nozzle during pressure washing.
  • Do not get too close to the surface being pressure cleaned.
  • When changing nozzle tips or not using the pressure washer, activate the safety lock on the sprayer’s trigger.
  • A ladder is never a safe place to use a pressure washer. Getting knocked down by recoil and pressure is a surefire way to fail.
  • When using a pressure washer, wear eye protection.
  • Keep at least a 6-foot distance from power lines or electrical outlets when using a pressure washer.

Information About Staining Your Fence After It’s Been Pressure Washed

Pressure washing a fence before staining it is now a skill that you have mastered. Staining your fence is the final step to restoring your fence to its former glory.

Restoring your fence to its former glory by applying a stain or other protective finish is an excellent method to keep it looking new while also ensuring its long-term protection from the elements. The benefits of staining are numerous.

Before we get started, let’s go over some basics regarding staining your fence once it has been pressure washed.

Ergeon – How to Clean Your Wood Fence

Overview of the Basic Steps for Staining a Fence

Here’s a quick rundown of the basic procedures for staining a fence, which we’ll cover in greater depth later.

  1. Take stock of what you need.
  2. Make any additional repairs or cleaning that is required.
  3. Ensure that the area around your vehicle isn’t splattered with paint.
  4. The fence should be stained.
  5. Allow the stain to dry before moving on to the next step.
  6. Make use of a sealer
  7. Wait for the sealant to cure completely.
  8. Your finished project should be made public at this point.

Materials Needed for Staining a Fence

Staining your fence will require the same supplies as pressure washing it. Staining, on the other hand, is a straightforward and affordable process. You’ll need these supplies to stain your fence once it’s been pressure washed:

  • An abrasive brush
  • Gloves made of rubber
  • If your fence still has mildew or moldy places after you’ve pressure washed it, you’ll need a bucket and some bleach.
  • Sandpaper with a fine grit (optional and just in case)
  • Tape for painting
  • Disposable tablecloth
  • Wood stain that is oil-based
  • Filler for wood (if there are any nicks or blemishes in the fence that need to be filled)
  • Sealant for wood in the open air that is transparent

The fundamental techniques for staining a wood fence after it has been pressure cleaned can now be followed.

The Basic Steps to Staining a Fence

We’ll be able to skip several procedures because you already know how to pressure wash your fence or have already pressure cleaned your fence. Nice! After you’ve pressure cleaned and waited at least 48 hours for the fence to dry, you can begin staining it.

Extra Cleaning and Repair

If your fence is in good condition, this step may not be necessary. Check your fence for any signs of mildew or mold growth. Check the fence for any flaws, chips, or cracks that need to be repaired.

You should use a bleach and water solution if you observe any mold or mildew buildup. Spray the bleach on the afflicted areas with a garden sprayer while wearing rubber gloves. Let it sit for a few minutes before using your pressure washer to wash it away.

Repeat cleaning with bleach solution and water if necessary, then let the fence dry for another 24 hours before beginning staining the fence. Take heart; the wait will be worth it.

Fill in any holes, chips, or cracks in your fence using wood filler and allow it to dry completely.

Protect Surrounding Areas You Don’t Want to Stain

Use your painter’s tape to mark off portions of the fence that you don’t want to stain. If you’d like, you can even utilize your drop cloths to shield the ground beneath the fence. As a result, the fence’s vegetation will be protected.

Stain the Fence

Staining the fence is the big event now! Natural-bristle brushes are ideal for staining. By doing this, the stain is better able to penetrate the wood and produce a high-quality final product.

Start by dipping the tip of the brush into the can of stain and then brushing the stain onto the fence. Apply the paint in a left-to-right motion to any horizontal fence slats. The full length of the slat should be coated on vertical slats, from top to bottom. One to two slats at a time should be stained.

A roller or a sprayer can be used instead of a brush to apply stain, depending on personal preference. It’s your choice which approach you like, so go ahead and utilize it! Wear a mask over your mouth and goggles if you want to use a sprayer to apply stain to a fence.

It’s also a good idea to avoid a windy day if you plan to use a sprayer to apply fence stain. By doing so, you can keep the stain from getting anywhere it shouldn’t — including on you!

Let the Stain Dry

You’ll have to wait for the stain on the fence to cure, just as you would with pressure washing. Let the fence cure as long as specified on the can or on the manufacturer’s directions. Once the first coat of stain has dried, you can apply additional coats of stain to the fence to add more color or depth.

Follow the same steps you used for the first coat of stain for applying additional applications. Wait for each successive coat to dry in the same manner as the first.

How to Pressure Wash a Fence: Ryobi Electric Pressure Washer Review

Apply a Sealant

Apply a waterproof sealer to your fence once all of the stain applications have dried to ensure long-term protection. Your fence will look better and last longer if you use this method. Who doesn’t want that?

As with the stain, let the sealant cure completely per the recommendations on the can or the manufacturer.

Clean Up and Reveal the Finished Product

Remove all of the tape and drop cloths once the sealant on the fence has cured. As soon as you’ve finished cleaning, it’s time to show off your newly restored and lovely fence!

DIY vs. Professional Wood Fence Cleaning

When it comes to revitalizing your fence, pressure washing is the most effective method. However, pressure washers must be quite powerful in order to effectively remove grit and muck from surfaces.

In actuality, the PSI ranges from 1,500 to 3,000 for most machines used for domestic cleaning (pounds of pressure per square inch). When used by an untrained person, that amount of force can be deadly. You could end up with a smashed window if you misplace the wand’s spray.

In spite of the fact that pressure washers are the most convenient method of cleaning wooden structures, their high-pressure water can quickly cause serious damage to fragile woods like pine and cedar.

Check out our in-depth guide on pressure washing before you start if you’re up for the challenge. Alternatively, if you’d want to outsource the work, get quotes from a number of the Best Pick providers.

Hire a professional since they can pressure wash a wood fence just as easily as they can clean your siding or driveway, so think about what other pressure cleaning your property could need prior to hiring a contractor.

DIY Fence Maintenance & Cleaning

Here are some crucial pointers to keep in mind if you decide to tackle your fence repair on your own rather than hiring a pro.

To remove the silvery-gray patina of an antique wood fence, you need to wash away the thin layer of dead wood cells. Staining or sealing the exposed fresh wood will prevent it from decaying as a result of moisture intrusion. (You can learn more about staining and sealing in Part 2!).

What are you waiting for? Keep in mind the following suggestions:

1. Rent or buy an electric pressure washer.

When it comes to PSI ratings and GPM, gas-powered devices often outperform electric versions. Inexperienced pressure washers may find a gas-powered model too powerful for their needs.

If you’re just getting started, an electric pressure washer is a good place to start, but bear in mind that they require a power outlet. If the size of your fence makes that impractical, invest in a gas pressure washer and give yourself plenty of time to get comfortable using it before beginning your endeavor.

2. Lay down plastic sheeting to protect the grass and plants around the fence.

Dirt and grime can be removed by the high-pressure water stream of a pressure washer, but it can also spray it back onto your lawn (and you). Tarps are an excellent choice if you have fragile flowers or shrubs growing towards the base of your fence.

3. Use the appropriate nozzle heads.

Start with a 25-degree nozzle with a green-tipped nozzle. The yellow-tipped, 15-degree nozzle may be necessary if you encounter difficult filth or heavily stained parts of the fence while using this nozzle for all-purpose pressure washing.

4. Keep the nozzle one to two feet away from the fence to avoid damaging it.

Start about two feet away from the fence and then progressively advance if necessary because high-pressure water can cause severe damage at such a close range. To avoid gouging the wood, it may take a few passes to determine the appropriate distance for cleaning.

5. Use cold water.

Cold water settings are the only options offered on most household pressure washers, especially those that may be rented. If you’re lucky enough to score a more powerful machine, on the other hand, you may be able to choose between cold and hot water.

Cold water should be used when pressure washing a wood fence. Using hot water to clean a fence can cause the wood grain to rise, making it more difficult to stain or seal the fence.

6. Heed all safety warnings.

Always wear eye protection, and never point the water stream at people, pets, or electrical. In addition, you may want to wear earplugs. Pressure washers are noisy, and hearing protection is essential. And don’t forget: you will get soaked. Dress for the occasion.

Washing by Hand

With a little elbow grease, you can also clean your fence by hand. But is it advisable? That is dependent on a number of factors.

If your fence is large, this process could take considerably longer and be more difficult than simply using a power washer to remove the dirt and debris. Hand-washing also necessitates an effective cleaner, so be careful when handling concentrated chemicals.

All you need is a little elbow grease and the right cleaning supplies, which you can find at your local hardware store. The best way to test any cleaning solution is to put a small amount on a section of your fence that is not visible.

Finishing Touches

While power washing a fence is a significant undertaking, it is important to maintain your focus and energy throughout the process. Your fence will last longer if you seal the wood once you’ve cleaned it, and this is the final step.

After your freshly cleaned fence has dried, you’ll have to decide whether to stain or seal it.

Keep in mind that if you don’t apply a stain or sealer to your fence, it will need more regular cleanings and will have a shorter lifespan than if you did.

Staining vs. Sealing

Every one to five years, depending on the location and climate, stains or sealers must normally be renewed. It’s time to re-stain or re-seal your fence if water soaks into the wood instead of beading up as it should.

How do stains and sealers differ from one another?

The fence will be colored with a stain. You’ll find a wide variety of stains in your local home improvement store, but look for an oil-based stain. To enhance the wood’s inherent grain, use oil-based dyes that are designed to penetrate the wood’s surface.

When it comes to care and upkeep, semi-transparent stains are the most convenient. Your fence may need to be re-stained every three years or so, depending on the type of wood and the environment in your area.

A sealer acts as a water-repellent shield to keep moisture out. Most sealers protect wood from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, but they don’t change the wood’s color. Wax sealers are more vulnerable to wear than oil-based stains because of the manner they are made. The majority of fences need to be resealed every year.

A combo product is ideal if you don’t want to choose between one or the other. Stain and sealer combos are available from a number of manufacturers.

Stains and sealers won’t stick to wet wood, so make sure your fence is clean and dry before applying any product.

Pressure Washing Fence Before Staining: 2021 Guideline

It’s A Wrap!

Pressure washing a wood fence is easy if you follow these instructions. For those who follow the instructions perfectly, it’s excellent to know that it’s simple. If you don’t have the necessary supplies, stand close to the fence and the flash of water will return to you and eradicate the persistent stains. How to clean concrete without a pressure washer and how to clean concrete patio without a pressure washer are equally worthy of consideration. Friends, that’s all for now!

Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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