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I have a fence that I believe to be made out of vinyl. I'm not exactly sure what it is made out of though. I'm interested in possibly pressure washing it, due to a large buildup of material on the surface of it. Is this ok to perform without damaging it?

I would imagine that the pressure setting used matters. Are there any fence types that I wouldn't be able to pressure wash?

Fence

  • You're correct--"vinyl" and "PVC" are how that type of fence is described. – isherwood Jun 1 '18 at 15:55
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    Not an answer, but possibly helpful data point: About 3 times a year I clean my vinyl fence with a SPX3000, rated at around 2,000 psi but which others have measured closer to 1200 psi. I use a 15 degree fan tip and shoot from around 5' away. For problem areas I'll get as close as 6" for a very short time. No damage yet, but I may be pushing things. As fixer1234 says, you'll get much better results using a cleaning solution first. My fence is near spotless when I finish. – Nicholas Jun 1 '18 at 20:23
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It's not a matter of whether, but how. You can cut through many materials with a pressure washer if you go about it like a samurai. I've cleaned soft vinyl boat furniture with one, and I've damaged similar materials when I got careless.

Approach the job carefully and with just enough pressure (controlled by distance and nozzle shape) to do the cleaning and you'll be fine. Experiment on a scrap if you have one available to see just what it takes to cause damage.

  • As it so happens, yes I do have a scrap piece of the fence. Great suggestion. – Sarah Szabo Jun 1 '18 at 16:02
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Just to add to what isherwood said, you don't need to rely on pressure to blast it clean. That's likely to mar the surface. Use cleaning fluid designed for pressure washers to do the work.

Basic cleaning products will loosen dirt. If the fence has mold or lichen on it, use a cleaner that treats that.

You apply the cleaner at low pressure with a soap nozzle or foaming dispenser. Then let it sit there and work for a little while. If it is just cleaner, you rinse it with moderate, not high, pressure. Some mildew/lichen treatments you don't rinse off at all. The residue will kill the stuff over time and weather will remove it.

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