How To Clean A Wood Fence Without Pressure Washing

Wooden fences are a great way to safeguard your property while also making it look beautiful. Unlike metal fencing, they offer a warm and natural touch to any garden, giving you your own private patch of countryside.

Fence built from wood

With that being said, wood is often prone to dirt, mould, mildew, and other unpleasant elements. Many people would simply scrub it off and clean it with a pressure washer, which, while effective, can do significant harm to the wood if the settings are too high. As such, wooden fencing can be cleaned safely and effectively with no use of power washing whatsoever, and we’ll show you how in this article!

How to clean a wooden fence without using a pressure washer

Are you ready to learn how to clean your wooden fence like a pro? Let’s have a look!

1. Wrap plastic around the perimeter of the fence

You’ll want to cover the landscaping area surrounding the fence with plastic if you have plants you care about or if you decide to use a chemical cleaner. Get enough plastic sheeting from your local hardware store to cover the plants and grass up to 1 m from your fence.

2. Remove any heavy particles using a wire brush 

A stainless steel wire brush is useful for cleaning stuck-on dirt and grime as well as preparing your fence for cleaning and painting. You can buy one at your local home improvement store if you don’t have one.

Remove any caked-on or large pieces of debris and be extra cautious not to scrub too deeply into a painted fence. Then, replace the wire brush with a plastic bristle scrub brush and apply a little more pressure.

The man's hand holds a brush with wire hair and cleans the board of old paint

3. Clean the fence using a garden hose

Spray your fence with a garden hose at medium to high settings to wet it down and remove the grime on the surface.

4. Use oxygenated bleach on your wooden fence

Use a mixture of one part bleach and 2 parts water and remember when you mix an oxygen bleach powder or any household bleach, always follow the label instructions to the letter. Apply the mixture to a damp fence with a large paintbrush, wait 15 minutes, and then scrub the surface with a plastic scrub brush. Rinse the mixture and any leftover residue with a garden hose.

5. Use chlorine bleach to get rid of mould and algae

You can make a mixture of water and chlorine bleach to get rid of green algae or mould residue. Remember to wear rubber gloves. For extra cleaning strength, add a teaspoon of dish soap and scrub the dirt away with a bristle brush. Concentrate on the stained areas and apply a little elbow grease. After you’ve scrubbed all surfaces of your wooden fence, give it a good rinse.

6. Use a commercial wood cleaner to clean the wood

You can buy a pre-mixed cleaning solution to make the whole process a lot easier. Look for a fence cleaner made specifically for wood and deckings.

7. To get rid of mildew, use white vinegar

To eliminate ugly mildew or moss, combine 12 cups (120 mL) of white vinegar with 4 litres of warm water. Scrub your fence with a bristle brush after applying the mixture with a sponge and letting it sit for 15 minutes. After that, properly rinse with water using a hose.

vinegar glass bottle on wooden table

Wooden fence maintenance tips

Now, let’s learn about some cool tips that will help you keep your fence at its finest, shall we?

1. Apply stain

It’s always a good idea to stain your fence as this will help protect it from both wet and dry decay. Make sure to get a wood fence stain that matches the colour of your fence.

If your property has chestnut siding, for example, you will want to use a wood stain that is brown in colour. To keep your fence in the greatest shape, use a wood stain with a moisture-resistant layer or UV coating.

If you’re unsure about what colour to choose, take a snapshot of your garden and bring it with you when you go to buy a wood stain.

2. Paint it

Painting is a great way to preserve and maintain your fence and extend its lifespan. It’s possible that you’ll need to repaint the fence every four years to keep it looking good and prevent it from deteriorating.

Man in protective gloves is painting wooden fence

Paint is also prone to chipping and peeling in some spots. To fix it, restore the impacted regions as soon as possible. Remove the old paint, sand the affected area, and apply a fresh layer of paint. It’s a good idea to use primer-coated paint for the greatest results.

3. Do regular fixings when necessary

When a fence begins to rot, it swiftly spreads. That is something to bear in mind when it comes to wood fencing. So, it is important to have it repaired as quickly as possible.

Keep in mind that rotting or water-damaged timber might widen the boards or spots around it. It is very common in old houses with neglected fencing and outdated curb appeal.

Types of wood fences

1. Solid fence

Solid fence panels are the most private option available. To make a robust timber screen, they are often made without gaps between the slats or pales. To sustain the weight of the extra pales and give the appropriate amount of camouflage, solid fence panels are made of good quality timber and sturdy, firm materials.

Featherboard, which is also known as Closeboard or feather edge fencing, is a strong solid fence and can be found in gardens all across the UK. Featherboard has a timeless aesthetic appeal to it and provides a protective perimeter or barrier, ensuring complete privacy and security from intruders.  

It is made up of sawn timber pales that run the length of the fence and are tied to horizontal timber rails, which are then affixed to a fence post drilled into the ground. You can also find the pales and rails fixed together creating a panel that is fastened to the fence posts.

wooden fence that seperated private property

2. Semi-solid or decorative fence

Decorative fencing panels can help frame your garden and create a welcome setting. They are usually made of horizontal wood slats with little spaces between them.

The slats are held in place all around by a solid supporting structure that holds each individual slat in place, and they are reinforced further by one or two extra rails, depending on the fence’s height. Venetian, Louvre, and Metro fence panels are semi-solid ones, made up of separate pales with holes between them that enable light and air to pass through.

They make wonderful garden dividers, screens, or even one-off feature panels for garden designs that allow for semi-visible screens to help establish a form of identity inside your garden. “Hit & Miss” is another semi-solid panel style that features an open design with broader slats alternating from the front to the back of the panel.

They give the illusion of a solid panel, with the gaps between the slats not being visible until you stand close enough to look through them. Unlike other designs, the panel blocks the view to provide you with even more privacy.  

3. Trellis fence

It is the classic choice for a garden screen or topper panel to install on top of a solid fence to add additional depth to the existing fencing, especially when they are made of pressure-treated wood.

The total thickness and strength of any trellis’s timber battens are very important. When exposed to winds and harsh weather conditions, a weak trellis made from battens thinner than the recommended size commonly falls apart and breaks in no time.

It’s also crucial to use high-quality stainless steel or galvanised fasteners to keep the trellis battens together so they don’t rust and therefore increase the entire lifespan of the fence. You can pick from a range of trellis patterns with varying degrees of visibility through the panel, all depending on the size of the square or diamond holes created by the battens.

A white trellis supporting a large red rose vine

We hope you have a better understanding now of how to clean fences without using any power washer. If you keep your fence as clean as possible, it will give you many more years of service while still looking lovely! This guide has the answers for you! Don’t waste another minute and go clean yours now!

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