How To Restore A Gray Wooden Fence

If you have a wooden fence on your property that looks gray and dull, then the UV rays of the sun have caused the wood to degrade. The sun also forces naturally coloring agents within the fence to break up causing a dull appearance. Mold, dirt, pollen, and rust from nails can also accumulate within the wood grain and ruddy its appearance. You may consider contacting your local fencing contractors to replace the entire fence if you want it to look beautiful again. Fortunately, this may not be required unless you see rot damage or cracks across the fence posts. If damage is not present, then keep reading to learn how to clean and stain your fence instead.

Clean Away Debris by Power Washing

Many people choose to purchase wooden fence cleaning solutions to remove the debris and residue from the surface of a fence. Unfortunately, these products often contain strong basic materials like ammonia to dissolve the debris. You can make your own cleaner out of bleach or vinegar, but both commercial and homemade varieties will not remove the ingrained debris from the wooden planks. This is true even if you choose to use a vinyl, polypropylene, or an aluminum bristled brush.

You can remove the dark matter as well as the dull stain from the fence by using a power washer instead. A small residential use power washer is not strong enough though, because it will likely only release up to 1900 or 2000 pounds per square inch of water pressure. You need a professional or a heavy-duty device that is meant for surface preparation. Look for a washer that can release up to 4200 pounds per square inch of pressure. These devices usually have bigger engines and they use gasoline to power them, so be advised that you will not be able to plug it in like you would your residential use washer.

The Power Washing Process

Once you purchase or rent the correct washer from your local home store, fill the fuel reservoir with gasoline and connect a hose to the inlet on the device. Look for a PSI gauge on the side and set it to 3600. This is best, because pressure as high as 4200 PSI may gouge the wood as you spray it. You can prevent gouges as well by making sure to use a wide angled or a 25 degree sprayer nozzle.

With the right nozzle in place, hold the end of the pressure washer about four feet away from your fence. Turn on the machine and work from the top of the fence down. Generally, it will only take a few seconds of washing to remove the debris on each section of the fence.

Stain the Fence

Allow your fence to dry fully for several days before you start the staining process. Afterwards, go to your local home store and purchase your stain. Look for a water-based stain if your fence is made out of redwood, cedar, or cypress wood. This wood is naturally protected from rot, and an oil-based product is not necessary. If your fence is not made out of one of these woods though, or if your fence is regularly exposed to high winds, snow, and hail, then use an oil-based stain. Also look for semi-solid or completely solid stains. These varieties are more opaque and protect the wood from UV rays much better than transparent ones.

Once you purchase the stain, consider renting or buying a paint sprayer. You can use a brush or a roller to add the stain to your fence, but you will likely end up using more stain and the applicators will not force the stain into the deep grain of the wood. This can leave an uneven and unprotected surface. With a paint sprayer, this will not be an issue. A low-pressure consumer or residential sprayer is best to apply the thin stain. Also, a small tip is a good choice. Once you have the sprayer, fill it with the stain and stand about two feet from the fence as you use it. Spray from the bottom to the top to keep drips to a minimum. 

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