Fence Cleaning and Maintenance Tips
"How to Clean Your Fence"
Fence maintenance can be frustrating if you are not sure how to clean a fence. Regardless if you're looking for tips on how to clean a vinyl fence, wood fence, chain link fence or steel & aluminum fences, this article should teach you everything you need to know for proper maintenance for all fence types.
Each section will explain the materials needed for cleaning your fence, how to clean your fence, level of difficulty (based on a 1-5 scale with 1 being easy and 5 being hard) and the recommended time frames for cleaning. Let's get started.
HOW TO CLEAN VINYL FENCE:
- Bucket of soapy water or spray bottle of vinyl cleaning solution.
- Soft scrub brush (for tougher stains or dirt)
Level of Difficulty:
- 2 - Vinyl fence is relatively easy to clean but can require a little "elbow grease" or extra scrub for some tougher stains and dirty spots.
Recommended Time Frame for Cleaning a Vinyl Fence:
- For maximum results; you should clean your vinyl fence at least once every 3 - 6 months.
A few reasons why you would need to clean your vinyl fence would be: dirt and/or grass from the ground accumulating on the fence due to cutting the grass, leaves, debris after a storm, and more rarely, a type of chalk build up can develop on parts of the vinyl fence. These reasons are not major and are easily cleaned as explained below.
The majority of vinyl fences can be cleaned very easily by just spraying the fence down with a water hose. However, if there are some tough stains that a water hose does not take care of just follow the method below and your fence will look brand new every time you clean it!
To prepare for cleaning a vinyl fence, you will want to decide if you are going to use a bucket of soapy water, a vinyl cleaning solution (can be purchased at your local hardware store), or a combination of both. If you are using a bucket of soapy water you will want to fill the bucket with water to your desired amount and mix an environmentally safe cleaning solution in the bucket. (TIP: If it is environmentally safe, it is vinyl fence safe)
After you have your bucket of soapy water, all you must do now is get your soft cloth rag wet via the water in the bucket and wipe down the areas of the fence that need to be wiped down. If you are using a spray bottle of vinyl cleaning solution, just spray the areas of the fence that need cleaned and wipe with a dry soft cloth rag. When you are finished cleaning an area of the fence, rinse it off with a water hose and allow it to air dry.
Things to Avoid:
- NEVER paint a vinyl fence
- NEVER place a barbeque next to your vinyl fence
- NEVER screw attachments to your vinyl fence this could void your warranty.
- AVOID hanging heavy items on your vinyl fence (i.e. potted plants, heavy ornaments.)
HOW TO CLEAN & STAIN A WOOD FENCE:
- Water Hose or Power Washer (for deep cleaning and removing old paint)
- Wood Stain (desired color), NOT PAINT
- Bleach or wood cleaning solution
- Plastic Sheets (to protect grass under fence) OPTIONAL
Level of Difficulty:
- 4 or 5 - Cleaning a wood fence can be a little easier than our mentioned level of difficulty depending on the type and amount of cleaning that will be taking place.
Recommended Time Frame for Cleaning a Wood Fence:
- For maximum results we recommend that you clean/re-stain your wood fence once every 3-5 years.
If you have a cedar fence, you may notice that it will begin to turn a grayish color or the paint/stain will begin to lose its brightness, regardless of what kind of wood fence you have. You may notice a mold begin to develop on the fence. This section of the article will explain how to take care of these problems and get your wood fence looking new again!
If you decided to use plastic sheeting to protect your grass, you will want to lay that on the ground underneath the fence prior to starting any cleaning. (Using plastic sheeting will protect your grass from any harmful chemicals that may be in the cleaning solutions).
A mixture of "1 part bleach and 2 parts water" is very common when cleaning wood fences. However, you may also purchase wood cleaning solution from your local hardware store. What you will want to do first is to apply the cleaning solution to the fence and allow it to soak in until you notice that the fence is becoming brighter and/or clean. You will then want to spray the fence off with a water hose (use a power washer for removing old paint or tough stains - make sure power washer is on the widest spray setting and held about 12 inches away from fence).
After the fence has been cleaned and sprayed off you will want to allow it to air dry. If it still needs cleaning in certain spots after it dries, repeat the above mentioned process. Once the fence is clean and dry you are ready to apply a stain. (If you do not wish to stain a certain color, you can use a wood sealant to ensure that the fence will look new for a long time). NOTE: DO NOT USE PAINT ON YOUR WOOD FENCE, INSTEAD USE A STAIN.
Properly apply the strain and allow the stain to dry. Your wood fence should now look beautiful and brand new. If you apply this process at least every 3 - 5 years, your wood fence will look beautiful and brand new for a long time!
HOW TO CLEAN CHAIN LINK, STEEL AND ALUMINUM FENCES:
- Bucket of soapy water OPTIONAL
Level of Difficulty:
- 1 - Cleaning metal fences such as chain link, steel and aluminum is very easy and does not require much time/effort to complete.
Recommended Time Frame for Cleaning a Metal Fences:
- For maximum results, we recommend that you clean your metal fences once a year or as needed.
If you want to give your children a chore to do around the house, now is the time. Cleaning a chain link, steel or aluminum fence is very easy and can be performed by almost anyone. Most of the time you can clean your metal fence by simply spraying it off with a water hose. However, if you come across some tough stains or areas that need a little scrubbing, the following advice should do the trick.
First, you will want to prepare a bucket of soapy water. To do this, simply fill a bucket with warm water and mix with any cleaning solution that will not increase chances of rust development. You will then want to take your soft bristle scrub brush and dip it in the soapy water. After the brush is wet, simply scrub the areas of the fence that need cleaning and rinse by spraying off with a water hose... It's that easy.
We hope that these tips will help you when cleaning and maintaining your fence. If you have any further questions about cleaning or maintaining your fence, please feel free to contact Anchor Fence.