What Pressure to Strip Cedar Fence

When it comes to stripping a cedar fence, the pressure you use is of utmost importance. While it may be tempting to opt for the most powerful pressure washer available, it’s crucial to consider the material you’re working with. Cedar is a delicate wood that can easily be damaged if too much pressure is applied. Therefore, it’s recommended to use a power washer that operates at a pressure of 1,500 or 2,000 psi. These machines provide just the right amount of force to effectively strip the fence without causing any harm. However, it’s important to note that stripping a cedar fence isn’t a task for amateurs. Hiring a professional with ample experience in the field is highly advisable, as they can complete the job efficiently while ensuring the integrity of your fence remains intact.

How Do You Clean a Cedar Wood Fence?

Using a soft-bristle brush or sponge, scrub the cedar fence in a circular motion, focusing on any areas with built-up grime or algae. Allow the solution to sit on the wood for about 10-15 minutes, ensuring it doesn’t dry out. This will help break down stubborn dirt and stains.

If you notice stubborn stains or discoloration, you can use a cedar-friendly wood cleaner or oxalic acid solution. Apply it to the affected areas and allow it to sit for a specified time before rinsing thoroughly. Be cautious when working with oxalic acid, as it’s a strong solution and should be handled with care.

Once the fence is clean, allow it to dry completely before applying any sealant or stain. This will help protect the wood and maintain it’s natural beauty. Consider using a cedar-specific sealant or stain, which will provide protection against weather damage and enhance the appearance of the wood.

Regular maintenance is key to keeping your cedar fence looking it’s best. Inspect the fence periodically for any signs of damage, rot, or loose boards. Repair or replace any damaged areas promptly to prevent further deterioration. Additionally, consider reapplying a protective sealant or stain every few years to maintain the fences longevity and visual appeal.

Best Practices for Protecting Cedar Wood Fences From Insects and Pests

  • Regularly inspect the fence for any signs of insect activity or damage.
  • Remove any vegetation or debris that may be touching or leaning against the fence, as these can provide pathways for pests to access the wood.
  • Apply a protective sealant or stain to the cedar wood to add an extra layer of defense against insects.
  • Consider using natural insect repellents, such as cedar oil or citrus-based solutions, to deter pests from approaching the fence.
  • Trim any nearby trees or shrubs to reduce the shade and humidity around the fence, which can attract insects.
  • Keep the area around the fence clean and free of food or water sources, as these can attract pests.
  • Regularly clean the fence using gentle soapy water and a soft brush to remove any dirt or debris that could attract insects.
  • Repair any damaged areas or cracks in the fence promptly, as these can provide entry points for pests.
  • Consider installing a barrier, such as a gravel strip or metal mesh, at the base of the fence to prevent burrowing insects from accessing the wood.
  • Consult with a professional pest control company for additional advice and treatment options if the pest infestation becomes severe.

Maintaining the cleanliness and longevity of a cedar fence requires regular upkeep. Two common methods for achieving this are by manually applying a bleach solution and scrubbing the fence, or by utilizing a pressure washer. While both approaches have their benefits, it’s important to consider whether pressure washing is suitable for cedar fences.

Is It OK to Pressure Wash a Cedar Fence?

Pressure washing a cedar fence can be a contentious topic among homeowners and fence professionals. While some argue that pressure washing can damage the wood fibers and strip away the natural oils that protect the cedar, others believe that with proper technique and equipment, it can be a safe and effective cleaning method.

Older and more weathered fences may be more vulnerable to damage, while newer and well-maintained fences may be better suited for pressure washing. Additionally, if your fence has already been stained or sealed, pressure washing could potentially strip away these protective coatings, so it’s essential to assess the situation beforehand.

To determine the appropriate pressure level for your cedar fence, it’s crucial to follow the manufacturers guidelines and recommendations. This allows for thorough cleaning without causing excessive damage. Additionally, using a wide-angle nozzle and keeping the nozzle at a distance of 12-18 inches from the wood surface will help prevent any potential damage.

Before pressure washing, it’s advisable to wet the fence with plain water to saturate the wood fibers and loosen any dirt or debris. This step helps to minimize the amount of pressure needed to clean the fence effectively. When pressure washing, it’s important to move the nozzle consistently and evenly across the surface, avoiding concentrating the water in one spot for too long.

After pressure washing, it’s recommended to allow the cedar fence to dry thoroughly before applying any necessary treatments or sealants. This will ensure that the wood absorbs these products effectively and helps to protect it against future damage. Regular maintenance, such as reapplying sealants every few years, will also help to preserve the beauty and longevity of your cedar fence.

However, it’s essential to assess the age and condition of the fence, follow manufacturer guidelines, and use appropriate pressure levels to prevent any potential damage.

DIY vs. Professional Pressure Washing for Cedar Fences: Should Homeowners Attempt to Pressure Wash Their Cedar Fences Themselves, or Is It Advisable to Hire a Professional for the Job?

  • The benefits of DIY pressure washing for cedar fences
  • The potential risks of DIY pressure washing
  • Considerations for hiring a professional
  • The advantages of hiring a professional pressure washing service
  • Potential drawbacks of hiring professionals
  • Factors to consider when making a decision
  • Tips for successful pressure washing of cedar fences
  • Final thoughts on DIY vs. professional pressure washing

Additionally, it’s important to trim any vegetation or plants near the fence to ensure easy access and prevent interference during the staining process. Once the fence is clean and free of any previous coatings or debris, it will be ready for the next step in preparing for staining.

How Do You Prepare a Cedar Fence for Staining?

Once the fence is cleaned, the next step is to properly strip the cedar. Stripping the cedar fence removes any traces of previous paint or stain, allowing the new stain to adhere better to the wood. The pressure required to strip cedar depends on the condition of the wood and the type of previous coating.

If the cedar fence is in good condition with minimal peeling or flaking paint, a lower pressure setting around 1500-2000 PSI should suffice. This pressure level is less likely to damage the wood or cause splintering.

It’s important to adjust the pressure accordingly and gradually increase it if needed, always starting with the lowest setting. This helps to avoid causing unnecessary damage to the cedar. Additionally, using a wider fan tip nozzle instead of a pinpoint nozzle can also prevent wood damage during the stripping process.

Once the stripping solution has loosened the old paint or stain, use a pressure washer with the appropriate pressure level and nozzle to gently rinse off the solution. Start at the top of the fence and work your way down, ensuring that all traces of the previous coating are removed. After stripping the entire fence, thoroughly rinse it with clean water to remove any leftover residue or stripping solution.

Allow the cedar fence to dry completely before proceeding with the staining process. Drying time can vary depending on the weather conditions and the porosity of the wood, so it’s advisable to wait at least 24-48 hours before applying the stain. Following these steps will help ensure a successful staining application and a beautifully restored cedar fence.

Tips for Selecting the Right Stain for a Cedar Fence

When it comes to selecting a stain for your cedar fence, there are a few factors to consider. First and foremost, you’ll want to choose a stain that’s specifically formulated for use on cedar wood. This type of stain will help enhance the natural beauty of the wood while offering protection against the elements.

Next, consider the level of opacity you desire. Clear stains are a good option if you want to showcase the natural grain and color of the cedar. If you prefer a more uniform look with added color, you can opt for a semi-transparent or solid stain.

It’s also important to consider the level of maintenance required. Different stains offer varying degrees of longevity, so consider how often you’re willing to reapply the stain to keep your fence looking it’s best.

Before applying any stain, make sure to properly prepare the cedar by cleaning it and possibly stripping any existing stain. The amount of pressure needed to strip the fence will depend on the condition of the wood and the current stain. It’s best to start with a low pressure and gradually increase if needed, taking care not to damage the wood.

Overall, selecting the right stain for your cedar fence involves considering the specific needs and desired outcome for your project. Taking the time to choose the right stain will help ensure that your cedar fence remains visually appealing and protected for years to come.


With their vast experience and expertise, they can ensure that the fence is stripped properly without causing any damage. While more powerful pressure washers may seem tempting, they can be too strong for this particular job, potentially resulting in unnecessary harm to the fence.

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