How to Keep Your Vinyl Fence Looking Great, Season After Season
An aluminum or vinyl fence can give your property great curb appeal, with a little light care.
One of the first things you notice when you look at a piece of property – home, business, church, park – is the fence. A vinyl fence, aluminum fence, or another kind of maintenance-free fencing solution can complement the look of your property without a huge ongoing investment in repair and replacement. But even with lower maintenance, there are some things you will want to do to take the best care for your fence.
How to Care for a Vinyl Fence: 6 Tips
The great thing about vinyl fences is that they require very little care, especially when compared to other common fencing materials. But exposure to the elements, and especially lawn care, can leave them looking a step below what you would prefer.
Tip #1: Clean your fence periodically.
It’s best to clean your fence soon after it gets dirtied—for example, right after you mow the lawn, or right after a heavy rain. To clean your vinyl fence, just gather together a hose, a bucket with soapy water, a few clean rags, and a soft scrub brush. Start by spraying down any areas that have accumulated grass or dirt stains. In most instances, this is all it will take, but some larger stains may require you to resort to your soapy water, rags, and in very rare instances, your scrub brush.
Note: Never use any type of abrasive cleaner or scouring pad on your vinyl fencing. These run the risk of scratching off the layer that provides your fence with its glossy shine.
Tip #2: Clean stains on a white vinyl fence with a magic eraser.
Some homeowners have also reported good luck using a “magic eraser” on their vinyl fence to get out stubborn stains and dirt. Use it with a small amount of water and scrub the area you wish to clean. Be aware, however, that the magic eraser has small amounts of a dry bleach-like cleanser, and so we do not recommend using it on a colored vinyl fence.
Tip #3: Head off mildew as soon as it forms.
If you live in an area with excessive dampness, it is possible for mildew to form on your fence, especially if it is not in direct sunlight. If you notice mildew forming, it’s best to try and remove it before it grows and spreads.
If normal washing and scrubbing do not remove the mildew, try a mixture of ⅓ cup laundry detergent, ⅔ Trisodium phosphate (Soilax), and 4 cups Clorox bleach. Dilute this mixture in just under a gallon of water, then use it on the affected areas. You can try to scrub the areas by hand or apply the solution with a power-washer; either way, be sure to use protective gloves and eyewear! A faster method to effectively remove mold and mildew in most cases is to use a power washer with a maximum 1500 PSI tip. Be sure to test an inconspicuous area first before moving forward with cleaning the whole fence to make sure the power washer isn’t leaving any marks on the vinyl. If it does, use a lower PSI tip.
Tip #4: Resist the urge to paint your fence.
Vinyl fences are not constructed to hold a coat of paint! These fences are colored during construction, so you should be able to find a fencing color that suits you. But if you get tired of that color, resist the urge to paint it. The paint may not adhere properly to the fence, causing bubbles to form and large areas of paint to peel. Painting the fence also voids your warranty.
Tip #5: Keep heat sources away from the fence.
A vinyl fence can withstand the heat of the sun, even an intense summer sun. But a more intense heat nearby—say, from a BBQ grill or an outdoor heater—can warp or mar your fence. Be sure that these sources are at least 6’-8’ from your vinyl fence and those heating elements are properly shielded.
Tip #6: Before you may DIY repairs, reconsider screwing in any attachments.
It’s relatively easy to use screws and fasteners on a vinyl fence, but be aware that, in many cases, this could void the warranty on your fence. If your fence is truly in need of repair, it’s best to call the company that installed it and then ask them to come out. In some situations, companies with excellent customer service may also walk you through the process to repair the fence yourself if it’s a simple fix. This will, of course, save you money on the repair.FREE IN-HOME ESTIMATE
How to Care for an Aluminum Fence: 4 Tips
Caring for an aluminum fence is even easier than caring for a vinyl fence. With most aluminum fences, there are no traditional slats or panels providing a wide surface for grass, dirt, and grime. Plus, since aluminum fences are usually a darker color, whatever dirt is there does not show easily.
Tip #1: Keep it simple and clean as needed.
If and when you do decide to clean the fence, all you will need is a hose, a bucket of soapy water, and a scrub brush. Hose down the fence and then use the soapy water and brush to address any problem areas. You can also use a degreaser if needed. Just make sure you do not use harsh cleaning substances. And certainly, do not use an abrasive such as steel wool.
Tip #2: Treat hard water stains with CLR.
It doesn’t happen often, but your fence can get hard water stains, especially if there have been periods of heavy rain or flood. Using a cleaner specifically for calcium and lime, like CLR, can remove these stains. Apply with a cloth, let sit a few minutes, and then rinse after applying.
Tip #3: If you live near the coast, give them a good spray every once in a while.
If you live in a coastal area and are near the ocean, sea spray and moisture can carry salt with it, which then gets deposited on your fence. This salt can begin to eat away at the protective coating of your fence. To prevent this, spray down your fence every once in a while with water from your garden hose, which should have much less salt content.
Tip #4: Be on the lookout for signs of wear.
An aluminum fence is made to withstand the test of time. Still, there are some signs that your fence will need a little care. One of the most effective cleaners to remove small marks is to use the cleaner Simple Green along with a clean rag. Simply apply the Simple Green to the dirty area. Then, wipe it off with the rag.
Fence Maintenance and Children
Both aluminum fences and vinyl fences are made to hold up to the elements and provide your property with security, privacy, and beauty with little cost to maintain or repair. This is why these materials are considered to be virtually maintenance-free.
That said, we’ve noticed over our 25+ years as a fence company in St. Louis, MO, that fences do wear with time… and that mistreatment of fences, usually by children, is one of the top causes of problems down the road.
Discourage children from hanging on your fence, and from swinging on your gate(s). Also discourage them from hitting your fence (for example, with a stick or baseball bat). Teach them to treat the fence as if it were one of the walls of your home.
A large vinyl fence, especially a white one, is a very tempting blank canvas to a child. So, if a child draws or paints on your fence, don’t panic. Most vinyl fences are made to resist paint, crayon, marker, or whatever other art supplies kids typically have access to. Use the cleaning tips above to gently remove their “art.”
Fence Care is Easy with Maintenance-Free Outdoor Solutions
Although it sounds like a lot, taking care of these two types of fences really could not be easier. In the case of vinyl, you may have to wash it once 1-5 years depending on the climatic conditions in your area. a year. With an aluminum fence, you can probably go even longer between washings.
Did you know that it could be just as easy to care for your deck and railing if you only used the right materials?
Interested in a Maintenance Free Fence?
We’d love to show you some samples and discuss all the options for maintenance free fencing. We offer a free, no-obligation onsite assessment. Simply complete a short form and one of our team members will contact you to set up a date and time to visit with you. We look forward to it.FREE IN-HOME ESTIMATE
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