The Secret DIY Way to Restore Wooden Gates Better Than a Pressure Washer
There is a Better Way To Restore Wooden Gates Than A Pressure Washer
We Were Skeptical when we first heard of this method -
We've been in the business of gates and wooden gates for years and years. Over that time, we have certainly seen some wacky DIY tips go wrong, and have heard of miracle solutions that turned out to be a huge waste of time and money. So, you can imagine how skeptical we were when we were told about a company which used this method to clean the siding of a $4,500 sq. foot house WITHOUT a pressure washer. We decided to give it a shot, as an experiment, just to see what would happen.
And we were really, really surprised at the result. You could literally see the mold and grit oozing out of the pores of the wood. Unbelievable!
BUT- Before we get to that though, we want to remind everyone about regular wood fence maintenance.
When to Spot Clean, and When to Fully Restain
As we mentioned above, you should be stripping and restaining/ resealing your wooden driveway gates about every 5-7 years. For some gate owners in particularly temperate climates, this could extend to upwards of every 7-10 years. And for those people who live in climates which are more susceptible to seasons (such as those who live in places that get a lot of snow in winter and hot sun in summer) you may need to do the big maintenance as often as every 3-4 years.
In between the big maintenance jobs, you should be doing an annual check, and spot fix on your wooden driveway gate. Here are some small issues for which you should be keeping an eye out, and repairing annually:
- Loose Hardware/ Fastenings
- Splits or cracks in the planks
- Loose Nails
- Worn Areas
- Algae or Mold
If you notice just a few areas with these issues on your driveway gate, then a spot clean should be in order. In these instances, you should be okay with lightly sanding the affected area and then applying 2-3 coats of the appropriate stain. Make sure the area is clean before you sand or apply stain.
Algae and Mold
If you find that the majority of your wooden driveway gate is tinted green, or yellow, then you have algae. This is a serious issue for wooden gates if left unattended. In these instances, This DIY tip also removes Algae and Mold! If you do find that your fence or gate is covered with algae, you need to strip and restain it completely. Otherwise the wood can rot and destroy your fence.
To avoid algae and mold, try to make sure that no sprinkler systems are spraying onto the wood surface, make sure to keep wood properly sealed and stained with a sealant that is rated for outdoor use, and after heavy rains, mix a solution of bleach water and spray the fence down. That should prevent the algae from forming.
The Secret DIY Tip to Washing a Wood Fence without a Pressure Washer
What you'll need:
- A hand pump Sprayer
- 5 lb. Container of Oxiclean Versatile Stain Removing Powder (make sure this is the variety you purchase)
- A 5 Gallon Bucket
- A Stiff Bristled Deck Broom or handheld brush
Step 1: Make the solution:
-You will want to make the solution of oxiclean to water with a ratio of about 1 and 1/2 cup of oxiclean powder to a gallon of water.
- If you're using the scoop that came in the 5 lb. container of oxyclean, that’s 1 and 1/2 full scoops.
- Be aware that the scoop that comes in the 5 lb. container is a 3/4 cup, while the scoop that comes in the 3lb container is 1/2 cup.
- Fill up your hand pump sprayer, which you can pick up from your local hardware store for about $20-30
Step 2: Apply to Fence
- Apply to the fence using the brush or broom one section at a time (sections should be about 5ft x 5ft)
- Make sure to completely soak the fence, as we want to make suds
- Use the broom or hand held brush to scrub the fence with the oxiclean solutions in even circles. You will want to scrub pretty hard in order to make sure that the solution penetrates the wood a bit, but not so hard that you damage the wood underneath
- You should let each section stand with the suds for about 15-20 minutes. You can sit back and watch the grit come out of the wood grain.
-Rewet areas as needed.
- We applied the solution to a section, and then while it was standing moved on to the next. By the time we were done applying the oxiclean to the second section, the first was ready to be rinsed.
Step 3: Rinse
- Fill the hand pump with water, and going with the grain of the fence, push the suds from top to bottom of the fence
- Use the scrub brush on stubborn spots as needed, allowing to sit for another 10-15 minutes
Step 4: Allow to Dry
- Allow the fence to completely dry before applying any coating. We suggest waiting about 72 hrs. You don't want to risk applying a sealant to a wooden fence when it is damp; you'll trap water inside the wood and fast track wood rot.
- After 72 hours, apply the waterproof sealant, and stain.
The Proof Is In the Fencing-
It only took one application, but we have heard of especially difficult fencing taking 2-3 applications. Just to show you that we aren't making this up, we went online and found some videos of oxiclean in action.
Though the concentrations and techniques may vary slightly, at the end of the day, Oxiclean Versatile Cleaner works, and works WELL. And, coming in at only $13 per 5 lbs, it is by far the most economical solution. If you're wanting only to clean your wood fence, but not restain, then cut the oxiclean in our solution in half, using only 3/4 cup per gallon, and use a softer bristle brush, and very gentle strokes, then rinse the gate immediately. Have a great 4th of July!
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