Pressure washing a fence allows you to breathe new life back into your yard. When you pressure wash a fence, you get rid of dirt, grime, mold, and buildup that has accumulated over the years. Not only should you perform this task to renew the fence, but you should also pressure wash a fence before staining or applying a sealant.
The average cost to pressure wash a wood fence ranges from $125-$235, with the average homeowner spending around $180 on pressure washing a 500-square-foot wood fence with labor and cleaners.
Cost to Pressure Wash Fence
|Fence Pressure Washing Costs|
|National average cost||$180|
|Average range||$125 – $235|
Cost to Pressure Wash a Fence Per Square Foot
To pressure wash a fence, a contractor may provide an estimate based on the total square footage of the fence. Although a home may be priced by linear feet for pressure-washing jobs, fence pressure wash jobs are typically estimated by square footage. On average, the cost to pressure wash a fence is between $0.30 and $0.40 per square foot 1. Based on this estimate, you can calculate the cost of pressure washing fences of different sizes:
|Average Fence Size||Pressure Wash Fence Cost|
|150 square foot||$45-$60|
|300 square foot||$90-$120|
|500 square foot||$150-$200|
|800 square foot||$240-$320|
Pressure Washing Prices Per Hour
Pressure washing jobs can also be charged by an hourly rate. To pressure wash a fence, expect to pay between $75 and $125 per hour for a contractor. If you are outside of the company’s service area, they may add a travel fee of $25 or more, depending on the distance. For a 500-square-foot fence, expect the work to take approximately two to three hours to complete. Extra time may be needed if the yard requires any cleanup or prep-work.
Pressure Wash a Wood Fence
Pressure washing a wood fence has advantages and disadvantages. Talk to your contractor about any potential hazards that could occur based on the wood type.
Power washing is preferable since pressure washing could damage the wood if the pressure is too high. Take care when power washing a cedar fence. Like pine, cedar is considered a softwood and may be damaged. To power wash cedar fence sections and posts, a lower PSI may be considered. Unlike other wood types, do not use over 1,500 pounds of pressure (PSI). Power-washing cedar fence materials requires the contractor to stand about a foot and a half away from the fence and follow the grain to protect the integrity of the fence.
Oak is a hearty wood and can usually be treated with a pressure washer. Oak is less likely to splinter during treatments. However, if the oak fence has been painted, a lower PSI should be used to avoid stripping the paint off the fence. This is the reason it is best to pressure or power wash the fence sections before staining or painting.
Redwood fences are usually fine for pressure and power washing. Pressure-treated woods are less prone to breakage and less likely to splinter. The contractor may choose to use 1,500 PSI or more using a 30-degree angle tip.
Pressure washing is acceptable for many types of fences but typically not the best idea for pine. Pine is a softwood and more prone to damage like breakage when a pressure washing is performed. If the pine fence is painted, it does little to protect the integrity of the fence. Talk to your contractor who may recommend power washing a pine wood fence instead of pressure washing.
Pressure Wash a Vinyl Fence
It is normal to wonder how to clean a vinyl fence with a pressure washer. Vinyl fences are susceptible to certain types of buildup, such as bird droppings, dirt, grass stains, and algae. Since vinyl fencing is not a porous material, you are less likely to cause damage when you pressure wash vinyl fence sections. Pressure washing can be done as needed, and the best way to clean a vinyl fence is by using a PSI of at least 2,000. For a white vinyl fence, stand at least three feet away and work from top to bottom.
Pressure Wash and Stain a Fence
Staining a fence without cleaning it is not ideal because you lock in any dirt, debris, and mold. After 48 hours, you can stain or paint the fence. The average cost of staining or painting a fence is $1,500. Ask your painter if the pressure washing cost is included in the price.
Power wash wood fence slats and posts if you are concerned about damaging the material with a pressure washer. Power washing uses heated water to remove stains from fences. In comparison, pressure washing does not heat the water first. A normal amount of pressure is utilized with a power washer. Pressure washers have a pressure range of up to 2,300 PSI. Since the water requires heating, power washing costs slightly more than pressure washing, between $0.40 and $0.45 per square foot.
Pressure Wash Fence PSI
In most cases, contractors use around 2,000 PSI to pressure wash wood fence posts and sections. However, pine and cedar wood fences require a lower PSI to avoid splintering. If the wood has been pressure treated, then more pressure can be applied. It is always best to start with a conservative amount of pressure since it can strip the paint and damage the wood. Another consideration when pressure washing a fence is the gallons per minute (GPM) used, which refers to the rate the water is released from the pressure washer. The higher the GPM, the faster the pressure washer cleans the fence. Usually, the contractor gauges both the PSI and GPM to determine how long the job will take and what type of pressure the wood fence can tolerate.
Pressure Washer Fence Cleaners
Contractors evaluate different types of pressure washer fence cleaners for a job and consider whether a strong chemical is needed to remove the buildup on a fence. The environmental impact is also considered for each cleaner. Mild soaps are usually less abrasive but may not remove mold or mildew. The following options are typically considered for a pressure wash fence project.
- Cleaners remove dirt but are very mild without harsh additives and are safe on most fence types.
- Sanitizers remove dirt and 99.99% of bacteria quickly. Like cleaners, they are also mild and do not usually damage fence materials.
- Disinfectants remove dirt and eliminate any organisms within 10 minutes of application. This works best for mold or bacteria on a fence.
- Soap is biodegradable and very safe for the environment. Soaps are not toxic to pets and humans. They are not a great choice for wood fencing due to the chemical additives and oils. You could use it successfully on a vinyl fence.
- Detergents are strong cleaning agents and are usually safe on wood fence materials to remove dirt, bird droppings, and grass stains.
- Specialty products for pressure washing wood fences are the best choice because they contain no bleach or ammonia. These products remove mold and mildew from wood decks and fences quickly and efficiently.
Should I Pressure Wash My Fence?
Pressure washing a fence renews the appearance of the fencing. Over time, dirt and mildew cling to a fence and alter the appearance. By pressure washing a fence, you instantly remove any buildup. Pressure washing a fence is also a necessity before staining or painting. If you decide to pressure wash your fence, the wood is prepped by rinsing off the mildew or dirt. If you do not do it, you risk sealing in any dirt and mildew into the fence. This could make the material prone to breaking or warping over time. Pressure wash a fence after poor weather if you want to remove any dirt or staining that occurred because of the poor weather. Spring is usually the best time to pressure wash a fence since you can remove any grime that built up over the winter. Schedule pressure washing to be done when temperatures are mild, and the weather is sunny.
Best Way to Clean a Fence
Pressure-washing fence tools are an effective way to get rid of different types of stains, and keeping a fence clean prolongs its life. Power washing and pressure washing are similar methods used for cleaning a fence. Most of the time, pressure washing your fence removes any accumulated dirt and debris, but in some cases, extra steps may be needed to remove all the buildup.
Grass stains are not uncommon to see on a fence. However, painted white wooden fences and vinyl fences make grass stains more visible. To start, remove as many shrubs and trees around the fence as possible. If you cannot remove the shrubbery completely, trim it back before cleaning. Grass stains and mild dirt do not typically require abrasive cleaners to remove. Power washing and pressure washing are both acceptable methods to clean grass stains. If grass stains do not come off with pressure washing alone, stronger cleaning agents should be used. Your contractor may opt for adding the extra cleaning agent or switching to power washing the fence to heat the water before application.
To remove mold from a fence, pressure washing is the best option. The pressure washer should be used with a bleach and water solution to ensure all the mold is sprayed off. Mold on a fence normally does not require mold remediation services since the issue is outdoors and does not pose a health threat.
To keep a fence long-lasting, perform regular maintenance each year. Remove any buildup by spot cleaning areas with mild soap and water or with a garden hose. If you notice larger spots, use a vinegar and water solution to remove them. Stain a wood fence every couple of years to keep it looking new and protect it against moisture damage. Make any fence repairs as needed. Repairing a fence is usually no more than $500 and is less costly than replacing a fence entirely.
Remove weeds from fence sections and posts as a way to maintain your yard. Overgrown weeds most often occur around chain link fences but can be an issue with any fencing. If weeds are growing at the base of your fence, remove them with a weed killer or weed wacker. Yard cleanup services cost around $200, but it depends on the size and condition of the property. It is a good idea to remove weeds before cleaning a wood fence with a pressure washer.
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Consider applying a sealant after pressure washing a fence. Sealants protect a fence from water and environmental damage. Expect to pay around $1,500 when staining or painting a 200-square-foot privacy fence .
Additional Considerations and Costs
Permits. Wastewater permits may be required in some states. Contractors may need to arrange permits with your municipality before a pressure washing job.
Inspection. Lead paint on the fence is a potential health hazard. Notify your contractor about the possibility of lead paint before requesting an estimate.
Licensing. Some states require occupational licenses for contractors who work with pressure washers. All environmental guidelines must be followed to avoid fines from the EPA.
DIY. Pressure washing a fence is never a DIY job. You need the equipment and the experience to know how much PSI to use on the fence. That is something professionals know better than anyone.
Insurance. Commercial and general liability insurance is important to protect against damages that might occur as a result of the pressure washing.
References. Before you hire a contractor, ask for past references to check with other customers about the quality of the contractor’s work.
Electrical systems. Talk to the contractor about the electrical needs for the project. The contractor needs to know where the outlets are available at the home. For electric pressure washers, an outdoor ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) socket is required.
Gas or electric power washers. Companies may charge more when using a gas-powered pressure washer, but you will be responsible for the added electricity on your bill for electric versions.