Wood fences are attractive fences to own, but they can become dirty and grimy after a while. An important part of wood fence maintenance is periodic cleaning, to keep the fence looking great, and slow any weather damage that can occur over time. When properly done, fence cleaning leaves wood fences in good condition, and ready to withstand the elements for years to come!
Tips for Best Wood Fence Cleaning
To keep a wood fence clean and clear of the dirt, dust, grime, and slime that can collect throughout the year, experienced fence companies suggest that homeowners should plan on a thorough washing, such as the following, at least once every year:
- Preparing to Wash - Fence owners should start off by wire brushing especially dirty areas on the wood fence to remove heavy or stuck on debris. This will make washing the fence easier. Also, if a detergent or solution will be used, cover the grass around the fence with plastic to prevent the grass from being damaged. Be sure to pick up the plastic as soon as washing is done to keep the grass from being baked by the sun.
- Washing the Fence - The best way to clean wood fences is by using a pressure washer; however, it can also be done by hand with a scrubbing brush and a mild detergent solution, or a solution of water and white vinegar. Completely wash one section at a time, front and back, and move any plastic that’s been laid down, as the washing progresses along the fence line. Thoroughly rinse each section of fencing as it is washed.
Things to Avoid When Cleaning Wood Fences
Although it is a fairly simple and straightforward job, professional fence companies say there are a few things that should be avoided when washing wood fences. For best results, and to avoid gouging the wood, or being injured while washing the fence, be sure to use the right pressure washer nozzle designed for washing wood fences. 15-degree pressure washer nozzles are good for fence washing, along with general-purpose nozzles.
For stubborn dirt, 25-degree nozzles work well. Avoid turning the pressure up too high, or standing too close, as the spray could gouge the wood. Spraying from at least two feet away from the fence is recommended. Additionally, fence company pros say to use cold water, since hot water can raise the grain on the fence, causing it to dry out prematurely as it ages, and making it more difficult to stain or seal.
Keeping That Fence Cleaner, Longer
Once the fence has been washed, dried, and is looking great, it may seem like this should be the end of the job; but it is not quite done yet. Fencing service experts explain that staining or sealing a wood fence every few years is well worth the time and effort, since it helps keep the wood in better condition, and reduces UV damage from the sun, which can dry the wood out. The best time to do either of these things is right after the fence has been washed, and has had ample time to dry. Clean fences absorb stain and sealant better, and the coverage will be more uniform, providing longer lasting protection and good looks.
Occasional washing of wood fences should be considered a part of routine fence maintenance, and a way to keep any wood fence looking its best. Fence washing is not difficult to do when following the tips mentioned above, and many homeowners may choose to do this on their own. Alternately, homeowners can always hire someone, as most local fencing companies offer fence maintenance services. In either case, a clean fence is one that will look nicer and last longer!