How to Power Wash Your Privacy Fence Without Damaging It

Your privacy fence not only adds security to your property but should also offer additional beauty to your home and surroundings. 

The experts at Carnahan-White Fence Company have been in the fence business for more than 50 years. We not only build and design fences, but we know how to maintain them as well. This extends the life of your investment and retains the beauty and value of your home. There are ways, however, to clean your fence safely. 

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Pick Your Tools 

Wood is a soft surface and can be damaged by high-pressure hoses if not handled correctly. A good power washer can offer the type of pressure needed to remove dirt and grime from a fence.

There are two types of nozzles to choose from: a 15- and 25-degree nozzle. The 25-degree nozzle is for more expansive areas and perfect for broad spaces like a fence. The 15-degree nozzle is for smaller areas. In this instance, you could use this nozzle for small areas with a higher degree of dirt that require more attention. 

There are two types of pressure washers to choose from – gas and electric. Gas washers can offer more power, so this type may be hard to control if you’re a novice washer. The electric washers can offer the cleaning you need. However, they may require an outlet. If you don’t have extension cords to reach from outlet to fence, an electric power washer may not be the best choice for you. Otherwise, you can purchase or rent a battery-powered washer.

Prep the area 

A strong stream of water from a power washer can damage or destroy flowers and plants near the fence. Be sure and cover plastic drop cloths to keep them safe from high-pressure water as well as spraying dirt and detergent. 

Use the Right Cleaning Agents

If your power washer offers the option of hot or cold water, we recommend using cold. Choose the suitable detergent, one that is specifically made for cleaning wood privacy fences. Your home improvement store or fence specialist can advise which one is right for you and your machine. 

Distance Check

One way people hurt their wooden privacy fence is by spraying too close. Start by standing back a few feet and perform an initial test spray. If the hose does not appear to remove any dirt, step forward and take a few sweeps up and down, going with the wood grain. Continue this until you’ve reached the distance that offers cleaning without damage. 

Be sure and allow the wood to dry completely before applying stain and sealant.

Seal and Stain

Now that your fence is clean and well on its way to looking young again, it’s time to choose stain and sealant. By not applying either of these, you expose the now unprotected wood to more wear and potential rot, mold, and mildew. 

A stain will offer color to your wood. We recommend choosing a stain color that will complement the rest of your property and match your deck, shutters, and any other wood accents. To obtain the right hue, you may need to apply stain two to three times. Allow the stain to dry completely before applying sealant. 

Sealant is not the same as a stain. It is precisely as the name implies: it seals your wood. This will keep dirt and grime out of the fine grain and pores of your wood. It will also help resist moisture that leads to rot and mold. A suitable sealant can add years to the life of your privacy fence. 

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Wood Privacy Fences by Carnahan-White

If you’re unsure about any of these steps, contact us today. We can walk you through the best way to wash your specific fence. Contact Carnahan-White or call 417-883-0733 to talk to us about what you envision for your place.