You have your best pressure washer all set up, and now you want to know how to use a power washer on wood-specifically, how to pressure wash a wood fence. You’re wise to find out since wood is easily damaged by someone who doesn’t know how to use a power washer, even when pressure washing a no longer-valued, old wood fence.
Power Wash What Kind of Wood?
What you first want to do is find out what kind of wood it is that you’re pressure washing. Is the wood pressure-treated pine, like a great many wood fences are, or is the wood cedar? Is the wood fence larch or locust, or even the rarer redwood or cypress? Each of these woods is power washed and cleaned differently. Let’s take a look at two of the more common woods used for fencing: cedar and pressure-treated pine.
Pressure Wash a Cedar Wood Fence
Compared to pressure-treated pine wood fences, cedar wood fences are much easier to damage when pressure washing. Knowing how to use a power washer on a cedar fence means you know to lower the water pressure, by either turning a pressure adjustment dial or throttling down the engine speed on the pressure washer; and it means knowing to use just the right amount of water volume and nozzle fan tip.
Cedar is a soft wood and sometimes has a rough-hewn finish. When the wood grain is already raised to some degree, you need to make sure you’re always mindful of using the exact amount of pressure necessary to clean the cedar fence without further raising the grain or breaking, cutting up or splintering it. Whether pressure washing a smooth or rough cedar wood fence, remember you are pressure washing softwood. Power wash accordingly.
Start with about 1500 pounds of pressure at 3 gallons a minute, with a 45-degree angle tip. Press the trigger gun of the best electric pressure washer before getting close to the wood fence and slowly close-in on the surface of the fence. Pressure wash the fence by sweeping up and down with the fan tip horizontal or perpendicular to the grain and vertical cedar boards and posts of the fence. Pressure wash the rails of the fence with the AR Blue Clean AR383 pressure washer fan tip vertical or perpendicular to the grain and horizontal position of the fence rails.
Start in the most inconspicuous place on the fence, since almost without fail you will scar the wood of the fence at least a couple of times before you understand and actually use the correct cleaning technique. Lightly “feather-in” any scarring you caused with the pressure washer, by pressure washing up and down the scar with a sweeping motion that serves to lightly pressure wash the wood further immediately around the scar, thus somewhat hiding it. Do not do further damage to the wood by “feathering-in” too much, as in pressure washing too much in an attempt to hide the electric pressure washer scarred wood.
Pressure Wash a Pine Wood Fence (Pressure-Treated)
Usually, the boards, posts, and rails of a pressure-treated pine wood fence are hard enough so as to be much more forgiving of someone whose pressure washing skills are much less than that of someone who has lots of pressure washer experience and skill on wood. Still, pressure washing a pressure-treated pine wood fence requires using the same attention to technique, water pressure and volume, and appropriate cleaning tip.
Start with about 1500 pounds of pressure at 3 gallons a minute, with a 30-degree angle tip. Press the pressure washer gun trigger before getting close to the wood fence and slowly close-in on the surface of the fence. Pressure wash the fence by sweeping up and down with fan tip horizontal or perpendicular to the grain and vertical position of the pine boards of the fence. Pressure wash the rails of the fence with the pressure washer fan tip vertical or perpendicular to the grain and horizontal position of the fence rails. Always go with the grain of the fence when pressure washing it.
How to Use a Power Washer on Wood: Pressure Wash a Cedar or Pine Wood Fence (Conclusion)
To use a power washer on wood means having knowledge of the wood you are pressure washing and knowledge about how to use the best electric pressure washer. Without question, you will ruin the look of a fence, even if it is already a bad-looking fence if you don’t give any thought to and use proper technique when pressure washing a wood fence. However, don’t let that shy you away from pressure washing a wood fence; applying yourself to learning how to use a power washer on wood, specifically how to pressure wash a wood fence gives you the satisfaction of doing it yourself.