Is your fence looking a little worse for wear? Because it is exposed to the elements all day, every day, it will eventually start to look worn and dirty. If you live in an area with extreme heat or cold, cleaning the fence might be needed more often, maybe as often as twice a year. Cleaning off the grime is essential especially if you plan to paint or stain the fence to freshen it up.
The idea of scrubbing each plank by hand probably doesn’t sound very appealing. Maybe you have considered using a pressure washer to get the fence looking its best again. Before you pick up a machine and start spraying, there are several things to consider.
First, remember that the first word in the phrase is “pressure.” And your fence isn’t contained to just your space. You have a neighbor or a road or a forest or something on the other side of it, and any person, plant or animal that might be close enough can be hurt by your cleaning process. Many people forget that these machines are so powerful that, if used incorrectly, power washing can even damage concrete.
Even if your fence pickets are close together, the spray can and will get through even the smallest crack or hole and pose a danger to others. If your home is close to your neighbor’s house, pressure washing the fence can get expensive if you blast their window and destroy it. Caution is the key with this household task. That’s why it’s worth considering hiring a professional to take care of the exterior cleaning job. They have a lot of experience with pressure washers and know how to handle the tool safely.
Pressure Washing Your Fence
If you want to try the job yourself, take these steps for success:
- Remove any animals or plants or items you might trip over from the area you will be washing.
- Do your research on the proper nozzle to use for the kind of fence you have. Cleaning a wood fence is a different task than washing a vinyl or metal fence.
- There are many different types of cleaning solutions as well. In order to get the desired final look, you’ll need to use a product designed for the type of fence you have.
- Start washing the fence with a detergent first. That will loosen some of the baked-on dirt and grime and make the main pressure washing a bit easier.
- Wash the fence in sections, letting the detergent soak in a while.
- Once you have washed the fence and let it soak, use a low- to medium-pressure spray to rinse everything away.
- Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using a product for pressure washing.
- Wear recommended eye protection.
- Never leave a hose that is turned on unattended.
You can also use these steps for other wooden structures that could use a good cleaning. For example, you could follow these same steps to power wash your deck.
How to Pressure Wash Driveway
Another outdoor area that gets dirty quickly is your driveway. Not only does the weather leave behind residue, but regular dirt and grime plus tire marks and other gunk from your vehicles can build up easily. Not only is the buildup unsightly, but stains can also weaken the surface of the actual driveway! Just hosing off the concrete won’t do the trick. You will need to apply some pressure.
Before you start cleaning, make sure everything is off the driveway. Toys, bikes, plants, everything. Get a broom or a leaf blower and make sure any loose debris such as twigs or small rocks are removed from the driveway.
Also, be sure to protect doors or windows that are near the driveway, as the pressure could harm the finishes on the doors or damage windows. If your landscaping abuts the driveway, you might consider covering the plant with tarps as the chemicals from the pressure washing solution can be harmful to them as well.
Most driveways have a slant to them that allows rain to run off. Take a moment to determine where the highest point of your driveway is. That is where you should start the power wash to ensure the fluid flows away from your work area.
Add some degreaser to loosen up any stains that have settled into the concrete. Your pressure washer might have an attachment that can do this but if not, a stiff broom will work. Be sure to scrub the solution into the driveway well.
If you aren’t familiar with how to use a pressure washer, read the directions thoroughly first. There are specific ways to connect the parts for proper usage. Don’t use the highest setting if you have bricks in your driveway. They can be damaged, and even concrete can be damaged if you aren’t careful. If you would rather not risk it, consult a professional. They have a lot of experience with this equipment and can get the job done safely.
Once you have the cleaning solution in the pressure washer and everything is set up correctly, you are ready to get started. Test an inconspicuous area first to be sure your driveway can handle the pressure. If all goes well, start spraying the detergent from side to side, overlapping the sprays by a few inches to be sure you cover the entire surface. Then let the detergent sit for 15 minutes.
Then set the pressure washer to rinse and change out the nozzle as needed. Repeat the sweeping motion and remove all the detergent from the driveway. Let everything dry. Consider adding a concrete sealant once everything has dried off. This will help you repel future stains. You can apply the sealant with a roller, or you can contact a professional to get the job done for you. They are experts at power washing and can power wash your siding, driveway, fence and any other surfaces that need cleaning.
Benefits of Pressure Washing
You might be wondering why pressure washing is such a great idea for cleaning up your outdoor areas. There are many reasons! Let’s look at them.
- First, it is a lot easier than using a stiff broom to scrub away dirt or even more taxing, using towels and your own steam. You just point and spray and the grime flies away. Setting up the power washer is also fairly simple if you read the directions.
- Not only is it easier, but pressure washing is fast. You can clean your driveway, patio and more in a couple of hours rather than taking all day. It’s even faster when you bring in a professional to do the power washing for you! You save time gathering supplies, putting everything together and actually doing the work.
- Pressure washing improves the curb appeal of your home. It is amazing how much fresher and newer your yard and your home look when you have a sparkling driveway, crisp, clean trim and a debris-free fence.
- Getting rid of mold and other contaminants helps you and your family breathe easier. This is especially important if you or your loved ones have asthma or another breathing disorder. Pressure washing removes slippery substances that could potentially cause falls, and it keeps your porch and fence from premature rotting. That also keeps your family safe from a potential fall!
- Because you can often just use water, pressure washing saves the environment from extra chemicals and other harmful substances. It’s amazing how water can clean so well in so many instances when you use high pressure.
- It’s a great way to prime your siding or other surfaces for a new coat or two of paint. A clean slate is absolutely essential to help the paint stick and leave a smooth, finished look.
If you have a big exterior cleaning job, pressure washing is the best way to go. DIY isn’t difficult, but for the fastest, most thorough clean, contact a professional and your home will be like new before you know it.
ABC Can Make Your Property Look Like New
Instead of wondering how long it takes to power wash your home, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. Our professionals are experts at power washing and can get your home nice and clean in no time. We can even power wash your home while you’re away, so you can come home to a sparkling clean home.