A vinyl fence can be a stylish, crisp, and practical addition to your yard. Aside from the glossy, modern look of vinyl, the main benefit of this type of fence is that it can withstand more than your average wood fence. Still, if it’s been a few years since you’ve installed it, you may notice that your vinyl fence has started to accumulate discolorations and dirt, such as debris, leaves, and even algae. Normally, for a milder film of dirt, it’s sufficient to use a garden hose and a little bit of soap to restore it to its original glory, but if you’ve left your fence alone to collect gunk for an extended period of time, the garden hose may not do the trick. In these cases, it may be time to power wash or pressure wash your vinyl fence. Here’s what you need to know to get started.
Can leaves and debris damage your vinyl fence?
Over time, green and yellow gook can collect on your vinyl fence. This is algae, and it feeds on the nutrients your fence acquires from plants that surround it. Luckily, this is only a surface-level issue, as vinyl is a non-porous material. Excessive buildup of debris, leaves, and algae can be a burden to remove with a sputtery hose and a hand-scrubbing job. So, the next best thing to do is use a pressure washer on your vinyl fence. Luckily, this is an easy process that virtually anyone can handle.
What is the difference between power washing and pressure washing?
Before you begin, let’s answer the burning question that may be on your mind: is there a difference between power and pressure washing? To clarify, most people use the terms “power washing” and “pressure washing” interchangeably, and they are extremely similar. The only real difference is that power washing uses a combination of hot water and pressure, whereas pressure washing uses cool water. Thus, all power washing is pressure washing, but not all pressure washing and power washing. If you’re dealing with a thick layer of dirt and grime, power washing is typically more effective due to the heat. Otherwise, a pressure washer should do.
How to power wash a vinyl fence
What level of pressure should you use?
Before beginning, pay attention to the pressure on your power washer and make sure you select the appropriate setting. If the pressure is set too high, it may ultimately damage your vinyl fence. It’s best to start at a lower setting and adjust accordingly to your personal need. Usually, 500-800 PSI is an acceptable range to start with. If you have more dirt to remove, 2000-3000 PSI is sufficient, as long as you stand further away from the fence to avoid damage. Because the level of pressure you should use may vary based on your specific fence, you should check with your manufacturer about power washing if you’re unsure.
Recipe: Homemade Fence Cleaning Solution
- ⅓ cup powdered laundry detergent
- ⅔ cup powdered household cleanser
- 1 quart liquid laundry bleach
- 1 gallon of water
Step-by-Step: Pressure Washing a Vinyl Fence
- Stand 3-4 feet away from your vinyl fence, pointing the nozzle at the bottom of the fence and working your way up.
- If the grime isn’t budging, gradually walk closer to your fence, adjusting the pressure appropriately.
- Maneuver the nozzle in arcs along your vinyl fence until you are finished cleaning.
- Rinse the solution off with fresh water. Remember not to let it sit for more than 15 minutes, or your fence will have a residue.
Keep your fence clean year round so you don’t have to power wash
After power washing your vinyl fence, you should be happy with its fresh, clean surface. In the future, to avoid such heavy buildup of debris, leaves, and algae, we suggest maintaining your fence yearly and keeping away leaves so that you don’t have to power wash. That being said, power-washing your vinyl fence is just as easy as upkeeping it with your everyday garden hose. So, now that you know how grime accumulates and how to get rid of it, you can enjoy your dazzlingly clean fence all year-round.