How much does it cost to pressure wash a fence?
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Pressure Wash a Fence Cost Guide
Updated: August 18, 2022
Pressure washing a fence allows you to breathe new life back into your yard. When you 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 do it before staining or applying a sealant.
The average cost to pressure wash a wood fence ranges from $125 to $235, with the average homeowner spending around $180 on pressure washing a 500-square-foot wood fence with labor and cleaners. Prices run as low as $100 to pressure wash a 300 sq.ft. wood fence to as high as $300 to pressure wash an 800 sq.ft. wood fence.
Cost to Pressure Wash Fence
|Fence Pressure Washing Costs|
|National average cost||$180|
Cost to Power Wash a Fence vs Pressure Wash
Pressure-washing fence tools are an effective way to get rid of different types of stains, and keeping it 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.
The primary difference between pressure washing and power washing is a heating element. Power washers have a heating element that allows the cleaner to use hot water in addition to pressure to remove dirt and debris. While both options can be used on any surface, power washing may better remove built-up and long-term stains. The only drawback is that heat is not always the best option for older fences as it can cause minor damage.
Both options can effectively remove grass stains, mold, and mildew as long as the proper cleaning products are used. Below you will see the average cost difference between opting for pressure washing or power washing to clean a 500 square foot fence based on a per square foot cost of $0.30 to $0.40 for pressure washing and of $0.35 to $0.45 for power washing.
|Type of Washing||Average Cost|
|Pressure Washing||$150 - $200|
|Power Washing||$175 - $225|
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 surface. The cost of this project is most often calculated using square footage since the height of the fence varies from type to type. On average, the price ranges between $0.30 and $0.40 per square foot. Based on this estimate, you can calculate the cost for different sizes:
|Average Size||Average Cost|
|150 sq.ft.||$45 - $60|
|300 sq.ft.||$90 - $120|
|500 sq.ft.||$150 - $200|
|800 sq.ft.||$240 - $320|
Pressure Washing Prices per Hour
Pressure washing jobs can also be charged by an hourly rate. You should expect to pay between $50 and $150 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 surface, 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.
Should I Pressure Wash My Fence?
Pressure washing a fence renews the appearance of the fencing. Over time, dirt and mildew cling to the surface and alter the appearance. With this type of wash, you instantly remove any buildup. This process is also a necessity before staining or painting. If you decide to do so, 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. You should also do it 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 since you can remove any grime that built up over the winter. Schedule the washing to be done when temperatures are mild, and the weather is sunny.
PSI Needed to Clean a Fence by Material
The pressure washing process may be different depending on the material. Different materials require different cleaning products and different PSI settings to ensure that it is properly cleaned without incurring any damage. The cost is similar for all types of materials, but wood may be a little higher because it can take slightly longer to complete the job when there is heavy staining. Below you will see some considerations that need to be made depending on the type of material.
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 washer cleans the surface. Usually, the contractor gauges both the PSI and GPM to determine how long the job will take and what type of pressure the fence can tolerate.
|Softwood||500 - 600|
|Glass||1,200 - 1,500|
|Hardwood||1,200 - 1,500|
|Steel||1,800 - 2,000|
Softwood and Hardwood
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. In general, if you are washing softwoods such as pine or cedar, the estimated PSI is around 500 to 600. For harder woods, a pressure of 1,200 to 1,500 is best. However, if you are cleaning painted wood, you may need to use a lower PSI to avoid stripping the paint off. This is the reason it is best to pressure or power wash the surface before staining or painting.
Even though glass is durable enough to stand up to outdoor elements, high pressure can easily damage them. When being washed, a PSI of 1,200 to 1,500 should be used to effectively remove any dirt and debris while preventing any damage to the integrity of the fence. It is non-porous, making them easy to clean with any level of cleaner. It is important to note that even using low pressure on a glass surface can lead to paint chipping, so repainting sections may be necessary after the process.
Unlike most other types of fences, composite cannot withstand higher levels of pressure. When washing, it is advised to use low pressure, no higher than 1,500 PSI. In some cases, it costs around the same as pressure washing a wood fence because the lower pressure may cause the job to take longer if it is more heavily covered in dirt and debris. In some cases, light scrubbing may need to be used in combination with pressure washing to clean the surface properly.
While the PSI for washing an aluminum fence is not restricted, you typically can use a lower level of around 1,800 PSI or less to get the job done. Since aluminum is not porous, it will not take as much pressure to remove debris. It is important to note that pressure washing aluminum can lead to paint chipping, and you may need to touch up the paint after. In terms of cleaning products, you can use any sanitizer and disinfectants, though less abrasive ones are preferred.
Using pressure washing to clean a steel fence is similar to an aluminum one, though you may need to use a PSI of up to 2,000 to remove dirt, debris, and staining properly. All types of cleaners can be used on steel, including those considered more abrasive, which can be more effective for deep stains. Yet as with aluminum, paint chipping is possible, and paint repair may be needed after.
It is normal to wonder how to clean a vinyl fence with a pressure washer. Vinyl is 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 wash it. It can be done as needed, and the best way to clean vinyl is by using a PSI of at least 2,000. For a white vinyl surface, stand at least three feet away and work from top to bottom.
Wrought iron is one of the most durable options and can easily be cleaned with a pressure washer. Its high level of durability allows PSIs of up to 2,300 to be used, making removing high levels of debris simple and quick. All levels of soaps, disinfectants, and sanitizers can be used to get the surface properly cleaned, and it is also a good material for green products. Since the surface is non-porous, these cleaners can effectively clean without producing any toxic runoff.
Pressure Washer Fence Cleaners
Contractors evaluate different types of cleaners for a job and consider whether a strong chemical is needed to remove the buildup on a surface. The environmental impact is also considered for each cleaner. Mild soaps are usually less abrasive but may not remove mold or mildew.
While most pressure washing companies have their main cleaners, many may offer green options for homeowners concerned about safety for pets, children, or the environment. If this is a concern, homeowners should check with their pressure washing company to inquire about cleaner options.
In general, a pressure washer company makes a few considerations about a project when choosing a cleaner. They assess the condition of the surface and determine if sanitizer is needed to remove bacteria, if stronger disinfectants are needed to address mold, or if a more mild soap that is biodegradable will work and make the area safer for pets, humans, and the surrounding environment.
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 surface. The average cost of staining a fence is $1,000 to $3,000, with the total cost for pressure washing and staining running around $1,150 to $3,300. When hiring someone to do this job, you should inquire if pressure washing is included in the price or is an additional cost.
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 the surface. In some cases, power washing may be included with staining if it is the preferred method of cleaning. Fence power washing and staining cost $1,175 to $3,225. As with pressure washing, you should check to see if power washing is included in the price of staining. 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.
To keep a fence long-lasting, perform regular maintenance. 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 wood every couple of years to keep it looking new and protect it against moisture damage. Make any repairs as needed. Repairing a fence is usually no more than $500 and is less costly than replacing it 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, remove them with a weed killer or weed wacker. Yard cleanup services cost around $350, 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 the surface from water and environmental damage. Expect to pay an average of $230 to $450 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. This project should not be 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.
- Does pressure washing raise the water bill?
It may have a slight impact on your water bill. Pressure washers use approximately 5 to 10 gallons of water per minute.
- Do pressure washing companies use your water?
Some companies carry their own water, but in many cases, the company uses your home’s water source for the job.
- What is the going rate for pressure washing?
Expect to pay around $0.30 to $0.40 per square foot. This price includes setup, pressure washing, cleanup, and any chemicals needed for the job.
- How long does it take to pressure wash a fence?
Pressure washing a 500-square-foot fence takes about 2 to 2.5 hours.
- How much does it cost to power wash a vinyl fence?
Power washing a vinyl fence takes the same time as a wood one. Contractors will likely finish the job within two to three hours, with a final cost of around $200.
- Should you pressure wash a wood fence?
Most wood fences can be pressure washed. However, those made from softwoods, such as pine and cedar, need to be pressure washed with caution. Power washing may be preferable since the process is less abrasive.
- How long after pressure washing a fence can you stain it?
When you pressure wash a fence, you can stain or paint the surface after 48 hours. This gives it time to adequately dry before applying the stain or sealant.
- How do you clean a fence without a pressure washer?
You could use a power washer if available. The power washer removes dirt and buildup by heating the water and applying a cleaner or sanitizer to the area. You may also use a hose for stains that are not caked on.
- Do I need to power wash my fence before staining?
It is advisable to power wash your fence before staining. When it is not power washed, the new stain will sit on top of the old, leading to poor absorption. It is also important to power wash to remove mold and mildew.