Brighter and warmer days are around the corner, and many are looking forward to spending more time outside. However, a dirty fence can be an unsightly distraction while enjoying time in your backyard with family and friends. After seasons of rain, snow and dirt accumulating on the fence surface, it’s likely past due for a good spruce. Here are some tips to get your fence looking good as new for the warm months to come.
Most Common Staining Agents
Wood and vinyl fences are most commonly stained by mold, mildew, algae and dirt. These agents can stain your fence in a variety of colors such as black, green or yellow. Organic growth like algae, mold and mildew are accelerated by cool damp air, so parts of your fence receiving a lot of shade will likely have more growth. Parts of the fence that are close to the road or driveway will likely have more dirt stains as a result of cars kicking up mud and dirt as they drive by. While dirt is more of an eye sore, mold can do some serious damage, which is why it’s important to clean your fence each year.
Cleaning a Wooden Fence
Wood is a porous material, which means even stained and sealed fences will get dirty over time. To get a wooden fence truly clean, it will need to be power washed to remove any algae, dirt, mold or mildew from the inner parts of the wood. It can also be beneficial to wash wooden fences with a cleaning solution. A homemade mixture of white vinegar and water or bleach and water should do the trick, or there are wood cleaners available for purchase well.
Soak a rag in your choice of cleaners, and scrub down the both sides of the fence. Allow the cleanser to soak into the wood before power washing it off. It’s important to use a power washer because a typical garden hose won’t have strong enough pressure to completely remove the cleanser, dirt and grime. The average lifespan for a wooden fence is 15 to 20 years for those that are well kept and cleaning it thoroughly each year will help you maintain the fence for as long as possible.
Cleaning a Vinyl Fence
The cleaning process for a vinyl fence is a bit easier than that of a wooden fence. The easiest way to quickly clean a vinyl fence is again with a power washer. This should wash away all the dirt and grime sitting on the surface without damaging the fence. However, for those without a power washer, vinyl fences can be cleaned with a wash cloth and gentle cleaning solution. Vinyl fences last longer than wooden fences with a 50-year lifespan, but only if they are well-kept.
Cleaning an Aluminum Fence
The fence with the easiest maintenance and upkeep is an aluminum fence. They are the most durable, and many even come with a lifetime warranty. Organic material like algae can grow on aluminum fences, but they will not cause any lasting damage as with wooden fences. Aluminum fences don’t require any deep cleaning but washing it every now and then will keep it looking sharp. A solution of white vinegar and water will clean aluminum fences nicely for those interested in giving it a quick wash.
If your fence is looking worse for wear, it may be time to spruce it up during your Spring cleaning this year. For those with wooden fences, it’s even more critical to keep the fence clean because organic matter that is left to grow will eventually cause serious damage to the integrity of the fence. If your wooden fence is too far gone, it may be time to take it down and build a new one. When considering fence building to include attaching wire to wood posts, consider using the F46A 40-315 Fence Stapler offered by FASCO America®. It’s durable yet lightweight compared to most fence staplers, includes an adjustable depth of drive, and is high-powered for hardwood applications. FASCO America® also offers the cordless F70G Gas Fence Stapler. Download our whitepaper for 5 important tips for building the perfect fence by clicking the button below.