power washing a wood picket fence


What are the pros and cons about powerwashing a wooden picket fence (42 inches high fwiw).
Am I right about the cons: It will take a long time to get at the fence from all angles, including the sufaces neaer where the rails and th and pickets meet the round posts.
I'm going to break several of my pickets that might last for years if I don't touch them. (I can no longer find pickets to match, I only have 80 new ones left, and I can't make more because they are flat on one side and rounded on the other.
If I don't do a very good job, there will be noticable lines and spots that are still dirty.
Even if I seem to do a perfect job, it will start getting dirty again and maybe not evenly.
I just don't like the whole idea. In my world, certain things were not expected to be cleaned. I replace the pickets that break because of age, and I replaced the ones that had visible termite damage.
The pros are that it will be cleaner and lighter colored for a couple years or more.
Something said to me makes me expect that I will be pressured to do so some time in the future.
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mm wrote:

Hey, if somebody wants your fence cleaned tell them they are welcome to clean it.
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On Mon, 28 Jul 2008 18:42:56 -0400, "J. Clarke"

Good answer. I may really use it.
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mm wrote:

Power washing is one of my services.
If you like the look of weathered wood, leave it alone.
If you, or SWMBO, prefer the look of new wood, power washing *can* do a good job of refreshing the surface if you do it right: * Don't get the wand too close, or you'll gouge the wood. I once did this on purpose to my many-years-old-and-never-maintained cedar deck. Careful work gave me a rustic look. * Talk with a pro at a real paint store about their wood cleaning and bleaching products. If you put them on right, your fence will look almost new. * Yes, it will be a lot of trouble to get into all the corners. * Once you finish renewing the wood, apply a transparent finish to keep it looking that way. You'll have to reapply the finish every few years, since *all* finishes eventually fail outdoors. Your new buddy at the paint store will be glad to help you.
Note: You *can* get new pickets, but you'll have to find a woodworker with a shaper. They're actually pretty common. Ask around at church; you probably already know someone.
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Steve Bell
New Life Home Improvement
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On Mon, 28 Jul 2008 22:54:12 +0000 (UTC), "SteveB"

Wow. I'm lucky to have you reply.

I do. It's fine with me. I'm sure there's enough work out there without me.

I'm good at being careful for a while, but there's maybe 100 feet. I know that's not much by a lot of standards, but it's well past the point of fun to the point of work.

Great. I'm glad to have a knowledgable person agree with me. I'll never do a good job on something I didn't want to do in the first place. (It's the HOA architectural chairman who owns the power sprayer, and who said I could use it. :( )

I didn't want to spend much money -- they were a dollar a piece when I could get them -- but I will pursue this anyhow.
I had thought that the semi-round pickets were the end pieces when a log was cut into lumber, that the round side was what was just under the bark. Any truth to that?
Or were they all made with a shaper to begin with, and that's too expensive for mass sales now.
Or is there some thing about cutting up logs that doesn't leave the outside piece anymore, like higher demand for particle board?
BTW, what is T1-11? It seems like it's a mixture of some segment of wood with maybe a lot of glue. It takes a long long time to rot, but it doesn't look like treated plywood either, if there is such a thing.

Good luck on all your services.
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mm wrote:

Oh boy. The anally-retentive types _love_ HOAs, and the ones with the tightest pucker get themselves on the board.
I bid you peace.

That's not a bad price. Like most small jobs, there's more work in setting up and putting away tools than there is in actual woodworking.

That's possible, but I'd have to look at the picket to tell.

That's possible too. A shaper is nothing but a big-honkin' version of a router table. The router is a lot bigger so it can drive 4" bits. You could probably make your pickets with a router.

The sawmill takes the bark off the log first, probably with water jets, then saw it into boards. Some boards have curved edges because they came from the outside of the log. If the board is destined for finish work (stuff you can see), they'll cut off the curved part. If it's going to be a stud inside a wall, nobody cares what it looks like as long as it's strong enough. I used 2x4 last week that had large pockets of actual bark still attached. Just to be safe, I used it for deadwood at the top of a wall--that's what the wallboard gets nailed to.
The sawdust and waste bits are either burned for power or made into particle board, MDF, OSB, etc.

It's plywood with a rough (rustic) surface with grooves cut in to simulate boards. It's good for siding, as long as you paint it and keep it off the ground. It might have some type of treatment. You can probably buy it both ways. I always paint it, so I would prefer no treatment.
All plywood has glue. The cheap plywood (mostly from China nowadays) has more glue and less wood. The last Chinese plywood I bought (and believe me, it _is_ the last) also had metal filings in the glue.
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Steve Bell
New Life Home Improvement
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Thanks again.            
On Tue, 29 Jul 2008 13:27:51 +0000 (UTC), "SteveB"

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Read the book Tom Sawyer (by Mark Twain). Substitute "power wash" for "white wash" and you'll have the right idea.
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Christopher A. Young
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Replace the whole thing with a lovely plastic fence that never looks dirty and sell the power washer on eBay. Plant lots of screening greenery around the new fence to make it blend in with the area. Use nice thick layers of cypress mulch to keep the nasty rain from splashing dirt on the fence or the ground cover. Neatness counts, so use plastic borders for total control. HTH
Joe
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Have your mom in law lick it with her sharp tongue.
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