How to Clean Your Fencing for This Summer's Outdoor Fun
As summer creeps closer, you might already be thinking about how you plan on enjoying the warmer weather, sunshine, and long days. While you might get away for a while, chances are you’ll want to spend a large chunk of your summer at home, too. If your home isn’t in great shape, however, you might find it difficult to relax to the max. Indeed, now’s the time to not only clean up your home’s interior spaces but your house exterior as well. Your siding, deck, and landscape might be your main outdoor priorities, but, if applicable, your fencing deserves just as much attention.
Your fence serves both cosmetic and practical purposes, creating a beautiful barrier around your property. If you’ve got kids and/or pets, maintaining a sturdy and safe fence is crucial, especially during summer when playtime frequently happens outdoors. The best way to keep your fence in prime condition is to thoroughly clean it at least once a year. With that in mind, here’s how to properly clean your fencing for this summer’s outdoor fun.
How to Clean a Fence
Get Rid of Grime with a Wire Brush
All of your home’s outdoor surfaces are exposed to the environment, which means dirt, dust, and debris are bound to build up over time. Winter is especially harsh toward wooden surfaces, bringing cold temperatures, snowfall, ice, biting winds, and more. As such, spring is a great time to inspect your fence for damage, grime accumulation, and any other potential issues. Depending on how long it’s been since you last cleaned your fence and how nasty the previous winter was, there may be a solid layer of gunk clinging to your fence. Simply blasting this grime with water won’t likely eliminate it, so you’ll need to take a more abrasive and up-close approach. Wire brushes feature coarse bristles that can loosen even the most stubborn grime stuck to your fencing. Of course, you’ll want to be somewhat restrained when scrubbing away this gunk, as scrubbing too forcefully may damage any underlying paint or scratch the underlying surface itself.
Gently Hose Down Your Fence
After you’ve loosened and/or gotten rid of most of the residue coating your fence, it’s a good idea to give it a rinse with a garden hose at a medium to high pressure level. Doing so will help get rid of any grime or dirt that’s just barely holding on. Moreover, rinsing your fence at this juncture will prepare it for the next step: a more intense cleaning via power washer.
Pressure Wash for a Powerful Clean
Generally speaking, pressure washing your fence is the most efficient cleaning method. That said, improper usage of said pressure washer can actually damage your fencing and put people in harm’s way. Moreover, not everyone has access to a pressure washer in the first place. For these reasons, it’s often a good idea to hire professional pressure washing services to wash your fence, decking, and/or siding rather than tackle the job yourself. If you’d prefer to try it yourself, however, make sure you take the proper precautions and use the right settings. The PSI (pounds per square inch) of your washer shouldn’t exceed 1,500-2,000. You should also use a nozzle tip that fans the water out for wider distribution and less pinpoint pressure -- consider a 25-degree tip, for instance. The angle you aim the stream, the distance you stand from your fence, and the cleaning solution you use matters, too. Stay around two feet away from your fence and keep moving the stream right to left in long strokes until no more visible signs of dirt remain. Make sure people and pets are standing nowhere near the stream, as the blast from a power washer can cause serious injury.
Consider Manual Scrubbing
Pressure washing may be the quickest and most powerful way to clean your outdoor fencing, but it’s not the only way. Whether you can’t easily rent a pressure washer or hire professionals, or you simply don’t want to risk damaging your fence or landscape, you can always wash your fence manually. If so, you’ll still want to remove any grime using a wire brush and hose it down as mentioned before. Your next course of action is to coat your fencing with a stain-removing substance such as oxygenated bleach (typically in powdered form and mixed with water). Use a large paintbrush to apply this solution to your entire fence and allow the coating to settle for about 15 minutes. After that time has passed, remove the bleach with a scrub brush with plastic bristles. Then, rinse your fence with your garden hose one more time and let it dry.
Eliminate Any Remaining Mold or Mildew
Even after you’ve manually scrubbed and rinsed your fencing or pressure washed it, the job isn’t quite over. For starters, you might still need to contend with some remaining mold, mildew, algae, and/or moss, all of which can further damage and stain your fence. In order to eliminate lingering mold and algae, scrub them away using your plastic bristle brush and a cleaning solution that’s one part chlorine and two parts water. As for moss and mildew, create a cleaning solution made up of one gallon of water and a half cup of white vinegar. Apply this solution to your fencing with a sponge and leave it for about 15 minutes. Once again, scrub away the moss and/or mildew with your plastic brush and rinse.
Make Necessary Repairs
If you’ve followed the previous steps, you should be left with a clean fence for the summer. If your fence is falling apart, however, cleanliness only matters so much. After you’ve tackled the cleaning process, take another look at your entire fence and see if any areas could use some fixing up. Making even minor repairs can prolong your fence’s lifespan. Take the time to glue damaged features back together, repair/refasten/replace boards, countersink protruding nails, drive in new nails and screws, straighten out gates, and so on.
Apply Fresh Coatings to Seal the Deal
If you truly want your fence to stand the test of time and shine all summer long (and beyond), you can’t go wrong with some fresh coatings. For starters, apply a wood preservative/sealer at the base of your fencing to stave off rot and water damage, as this is where it’s most vulnerable. Then, select a wooden fence/deck stain to further waterproof your fence, shield it from ultraviolet rays (i.e., sunlight), and provide some additional color and gloss. As with any outdoor home painting project, try to apply these coatings on a moderate, dry day for the best results and easiest application.
Open the Gate to Summer Fun
There’s still plenty of time to prepare your fencing and the rest of your exterior for the incoming summer weather. If you’re looking for a professional touch in Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin, TN, allow the experts at Nash Painting to restore your outdoor spaces this season. To learn more about us, our hassle free painting services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!