How to Get Your Fence Ready for Spring

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The time for spring cleaning is here, both inside and outside your home. While you probably have a solid routine established for the majority of your house, you probably haven’t put much thought into how to clean your fence.

The type of material your fence is made of — as well as the type of dirt messing it up – determine just how you’re going to get it sparkling clean again. After a few decades working with fences, we’ve pretty much seen everything there is to see. Plus, we can also show you a nearly no-maintenance fencing option if you want to make this the spring you upgrade.


Reasons Your Fence is Dirty
No question your fence has definitely seen better days.

There’s a blackish, greenish, or yellowish growth on your once pristine fence. You don’t know what it is, but you know it doesn’t look good.

Wood or vinyl, the most common things to dirty a fence are:

– Algae
– Mildew
– Mold
– Dirt

Algae, mold, and mildew are organic growths caused by moisture and accelerated by a lot of shade. For both white vinyl fences and wooden fences of all variety, this is the most common flavor of nasty you’ll see.

On the other hand, grimy dirt on fences mostly occurs on front yard fences courtesy of the road out front.

The grimy road dirt is really just a cosmetic issue, while the mold can overtime damage the integrity of a wooden fence.

Either way, you want to do something about it.


How to Clean a Wooden Fence

Even if it’s stained and sealed, wood is an inherently more porous material than vinyl or aluminum. That means organic growth on the surface of a wooden fence eventually seeps in. Your cleaning regime needs to account for that, too.

To refresh a wooden fence you’ll want to use a combination of a cleaning solution and some heavy-duty washing.

You can make your own cleaning solution, using either bleach or white vinegar in water.

If you use bleach, you want to make your mixture with a 1:5 bleach to water ratio. If you use white vinegar, you want to make your mixture with a 1:1 vinegar to water ratio. Soak rags in your fence-cleaning mixture and then scrub up and down both sides of the fence. Allow the mixture to seep into the wood itself for deep cleaning. Finally, blast the fence with a rented power washer — most garden hoses just don’t have enough water pressure.

This should eliminate the organic growth and surface stains, restoring some of the fence’s luster.

Eliminating the growth that can undermine the fence is crucial. The average life expectancy for a wooden fence is between 15 and 20 years—this type of spring cleaning helps your wooden fence meet that milestone.

Note about wooden fences: keep in mind, wooden fences are not like aluminum or vinyl. They need to be repainted every 4 to 5 years to maintain their color. No amount of spring cleaning can help that fact.


How to Clean a Vinyl Fence

Cleaning a vinyl fence is a bit easier since the vinyl repels the intrusion of mold. However, the surface still gets dirty.

Renting a power washer and blasting your vinyl fence will eradicate organic growth and road dirt alike. It’s probably the easiest solution if you don’t mind spending a little money. However, if you’re willing to put in the elbow work, you can wipe down your fence with the homemade cleaning solution.

A well-built vinyl fence can boast a 50-year lifespan – keeping it clean every spring makes it look beautiful for that entire duration.


How to Clean an Aluminum Fence

While maintaining a vinyl fence is easy, an aluminum fence makes it even easier. Aluminum fences are the choice for homeowners who don’t want to have clean their fences. Distinct and stylish, aluminum fences are one the most durable, low maintenance fencing options available. In fact, aluminum fences come with a lifetime warranty.

While algae and other organic material can grow on the surface of an aluminum fence, it won’t infiltrate or cause damage.

When it comes to dirt, you can all but forget about it. The striking dark colors of aluminum fences means that even there is some surface dirt, you won’t see it.

Most homeowners don’t need to clean their aluminum fences to keep them looking stunning. However, if you want to give it a quick washing, the white vinegar cleaning solution works like charm.