The white picket fence has long been a symbol of the American Dream, signifying property ownership, stability, and prosperity. Whatever your views on their iconography, wooden fences can complete the look of a home’s exterior while protecting its lawn, garden, and other features from outside forces. But while your wooden fence safeguards your property, there’s not much protecting it. 

Just like any other part of your home, your wooden fence requires proper maintenance if you want it to remain beautiful and upright. Cleaning your fence is a major aspect of maintaining it and an important step before residential painting. The question is, should you clean it yourself, or hire professionals to get the job done? The short answer is, as usual: it depends. If you’d rather not sit on the fence, though, let’s elaborate further on this topic, exploring the importance of maintaining your wooden fence and how to clean it the right way.

Why Clean Your Wooden Fence, Anyway?

You might wonder why cleaning your fence is so important in the first place. After all, a wooden fence is meant to remain outside, where it’s bound to get dirty and wet. While it’s true that no amount of cleaning will immunize your fence from future dirtiness, doing so helps minimize the damage that can come with these various environmental conditions. For instance, an excess of moisture can lead to mold, mildew, and rot as the water seeps inside the wood’s pores and gradually deteriorates it. Properly cleaning your fence can help blast away any fungi that have taken hold of it.

It’s also wise to thoroughly clean your fence before painting or staining it (whether or not you hire exterior painters for this part). A clean surface makes for stronger adhesion and therefore better protection. Of course, if nothing else, cleaning your fence regularly, along with hiring painting services to coat it, keeps it looking fresh. And an appealing fence automatically boosts your home’s curb appeal (and therefore, its value).

What Cleaning Your Wooden Fence Entails

So, cleaning your wooden fence is a matter of maintaining its structural integrity and its appearance. In other words, it has to get done. But in order to determine whether or not to do it yourself, you must understand what goes into a proper fence cleaning. To make things simple, there are two main methods of cleaning a wooden fence: pressure washing or cleaning by hand. 

Using a pressure washer is more efficient than manually cleaning, of course, but it also comes with a few caveats. For one thing, you might not have access to a pressure washer. If you don’t own one, you can always rent one, but it will cost you. Next, know that standing too close to the fence while pressure washing or failing to use the right settings or detergent can actually damage your fence. Make sure you do your research on which nozzles, power and heat levels, and chemicals are safe to use when washing wooden fences.

As far as hand-washing goes, it’s pretty straightforward. You can use the same chemicals as you would when pressure washing, but apply it to a cloth or sponge instead. Cleaning your fence by hand minimizes the risk of damaging it, but can take hours and plenty of physical exertion.

On the Fence: DIY or Call the Pros?

So, should you clean your own wooden fence? If you have a functional pressure washer or can afford to rent one, are experienced enough in using one and choosing the proper detergents, and/or are willing to manually scrub your fence, then yes, you can clean your own wooden fence and save some money in the process. But if you’re concerned about hurting the wood and don’t want to spend time or money on the necessary equipment and tools, save yourself a headache and hire professional cleaners.

All American Painting Plus is more than just a professional painting company. Our Plus Services also include pressure washing, wood rot repair and replacement, wooden fence cleaning, and much more. After we clean your fence, our house painters can apply a new coat of paint or stain to it as well. To learn more about us and everything else we offer our clients in Northern Virginia, give us a call at (703) 620-5563!