Should I Pressure Wash My Fence Before Staining

Homeowners with fences on their property often ask, ‘should I pressure wash my fence before staining it?’. The right answer is absolute. Pressure washing has many benefits when it comes to staining a fence, and in this article, we are going to take a look at some of these benefits. We will also take a look at some tips and tricks that can help you to do a better job at pressure washing your fence.

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How to Check if Your Fence Needs Pressure Washing

Whether you should pressure wash your fence or not depends on the condition of the fence. Old wood often collects dirt, dust, mildew, and mold with time. Weather conditions can also age the wood to make it look darker than its original color.

If the dirt particles are ingrained in the wood after years of no cleaning, then yes, you need a pressure washer. You should also check the condition of the wood if it is still solid underneath the dirt and grime or if it is rotten. If the wood is rotten, then a pressure wash might do more damage than improving the state of the fence.

Benefits of Pressure Washing a Fence Before Staining

With time, fences can get dirty as they get exposed to the elements such as rain, snow, wind, dust, dirt, and more. If you start staining or painting the fence before you clean it, the paint will look uneven. A paint job that is not uniform looks sloppy, and it can peel off easily as time goes by.

By cleaning the fence, you prepare the surface for receiving paint as the finish can better penetrate and stick to the wood. A properly cleaned up fence absorbs the paint and keeps it on the surface for a longer time than a dirty fence.

Pressure Washed Fence - Before and After
Pressure washed fence before and after

Things to Take Care of Before Pressure Washing the Fence

Pressure washing a wooden fence is a delicate business, and you can’t just start a pressure washer and start cleaning the fence. Here are some of the things that you need to keep in mind while pressure washing a fence.

1) Choose the Right PSI for your pressure washer — If you are going to pressure wash the fence, you need to choose the right PSI for the pressure washer. A pressure washer with PSI rating of 2000-2500 PSI can remove the dirt from the wood without damaging the wood at all.

2) Choose the Right Nozzle – Using a different type of nozzle can harm the wood of the fence. Choose a wide spray nozzle that sprays the water in a wide-angle to remove the dirt but does not damage the wood.

3) Prepare the area – Before you start pressure washing, prepare the area where the fence is located. Remove any debris or loose materials in the area, cover up any electrical connections, and make sure you are wearing safety gear like safety glasses, heavy shoes, and thick gloves. It is best to wear old clothes that you don’t mind getting wet and stained.

4) Pressure Wash Carefully – At first, pressure wash a small area of the fence to see if the setting on your pressure washer is correct, and it won’t damage the wood of the fence. Pressure wash the fence from a distance so that the debris from the area does not strike you.

5) Clean the Area – The dirt and debris from the fence can gather at the bottom of the fence, and you need to clean it properly before you start staining the fence. The debris can cover up parts of the fence that are near the ground, and cleaning it will give you more space to stain the fence.

6) Let the Fence Dry – Letting the fence dry in the open air is essential for the water to evaporate entirely so that the fence is ready for staining. Once the fence is completely dry, you can start with the staining process.

Pressure Washing Is A great Way to Prepare a Fence for Staining

Video Guide

Here are some video links that can give you a better understanding of how to pressure wash your fence.

1) Get Perfect Results on Pressure Washing A Fence

2) Make Your Fence Look As Good As New With Pressure Washing

FAQ About Pressure Washing Fences

Here are some of the frequently asked questions and answers about pressure washing fences.

Q1) Do you have to pressure wash fence before staining?

Ans. If you have not cleaned the fence in a long time, it can do with a spot of pressure washing. It’s up to you, if the fence looks dirty with visible discoloration and spots of dirt, then you need to pressure wash it before staining. If it’s only mildly dirty, you can clean it with a brush and soapy water as well.

Q2) How long after power washing can you stain a fence?

Ans. Once you have pressure washed a fence, you need to let it dry completely before staining it. It is recommended to wait 48-72 hours before you start the staining process. If you attempt to stain the fence before that, it might not get appropriately stained.

Q3) Can you pressure wash a wooden fence?

Ans. Yes, you can pressure wash a wooden fence. But you need to use a low PSI setting, around 2000-2500, on the pressure washer and choose a wide nozzle.
You should start the pressure washing with a lower PSI and increase it if it doesn’t clean the dirt off the fence. A wide nozzle will not harm the wood as long as you maintain your distance from the fence.

Q4) How often should I pressure wash my fence?

Ans. You can pressure wash your fence whenever you feel that it’s getting dirty. An easy check would be to see if it looks like it’s the original color and if there are spots of dirt on the fence anywhere.


Pressure washing a fence before staining is an excellent way to clean it. Keep in mind the points mentioned in this article to avoid damaging the wood of the fence. Always start pressure washing the fence at a low PSI and maintain your distance from the fence. Once you feel that the fence is clean enough, let it dry before you start staining the wood. Removing the dirt and grime from the fence will ensure that the stain will penetrate the wood evenly in all places.

For any questions or queries related to pressure washers, please feel free to get in touch with us through the comment section.

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Hi, I'm James. The Chief Editor at I worked in Pressure Washer industry for a few years, and I thought to share my knowledge about pressure washer on our blog with my team.

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