Pressure Washing Fences – PSI Explained

Published by: | Updated: January 31, 2023
JCS Refresh Pressure Wash Fence PSI

Blasting away years of grime on your fence is easy if you know the correct PSI settings to use. 

However, if not, your fence is at risk of significant damage.

This article will tackle which PSI settings should be used when pressure washing a fence, factors that may affect those settings, and other FAQs.

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About The Author

Meet the expert behind this article. 



Co-owner & Service Director

Hey there, I’m Cody. 

A decade of residential and commercial pressure washing led me to start JCS Refresh. Now I can share my knowledge with folks like you. 

Reading from Washington State?

Reach out about our fence cleaning services, and let’s set your property up for a refreshing visit. Quotes are free!

Quick answer

Delicate fences made of softwood should use between 500 PSI and 600 PSI. 

Hardwood fences can handle a PSI of 1,200 to 1,500, while other durable materials, such as vinyl, Aluminum, and steel, can tolerate up to 2,000 PSI.

Factors that affect fence PSI settings

Let us dive deeper into the two factors affecting these PSI settings.

Fence material

The primary factor that you should consider is the fence material. 

As mentioned, this is the main aspect of determining the appropriate PSI setting because not all fences can tolerate intense pressure.

Check out the variations below and the recommended PSI to avoid damaging your fence:

  • Softwood – softwood material, such as, pine or cedar can withstand 500 PSI to 600 PSI.
  • Hardwood – hardwood such as Jarrah, Merbau, or Spotted Gum can tolerate PSI up to 1,300.
  • Composite – composite material combines plastic and authentic wood commonly recycled; it can sustain a PSI of 1,500.
  • Vinyl – vinyl fences are made of PVC, a type of plastic; compared to wood, it can handle up to 2,000 PSI but may take time to remove other buildups such as mold, dirt, or algae.
  • Aluminum – aluminum fences are corrosion-resistant, and nature makes them easier to clean. In addition, it can tolerate up to 1,800 PSI and is most commonly erected in residential homes.
  • Steel – Steel has the same qualities as aluminum and can withstand up to 2,000 PSI. It is typically utilized in commercial properties.
  • Wrought Iron – Iron is another heavy-duty fence that can handle up to 2,300 PSI.

WAIT – here are a few good reads to expand on this topic. 

JCS Refresh Pressure Wash Fence PSI

Type of buildup

Fences are not safe from contaminants such as mold, mildew, or algae; considering the type of fence material plus the severity of buildup will also determine the PSI settings.

JCS Refresh Pressure Wash Fence PSI (2)

Frequently asked questions

Check out the list of these frequently asked questions that may help you with your research:

What if the PSI is too high when pressure washing a fence?

If the fence is made up of softwood, it can undoubtedly leave severe damage; however, if the material is tough, such as iron or steel, it will thoroughly blast away the dirt.

Note: The appropriate PSI for softwood is between 500 to 600 PSI; anything higher than that range can cause irreparable damage that leads to costly replacement.

What if the PSI is too low when pressure washing a fence?

Low PSI will not cause any problems to your fence; however, it may take additional time to clean the surface since you need to utilize the recommended PSI.

Will the wrong PSI leave streaks after pressure washing?

Indeed, specifically if you use a higher PSI than recommended. The pressure will not only leave streaks but can also peel, spall, and stain fences.

JCS Refresh Pressure Wash Fence PSI (3)
Imagine this, but on your fence... not good

Can you pressure wash a wooden fence?

Of course! As long as the suggested PSI for the wooden fence is utilized, no need to worry about damaging the wood.

Remember, softwood can tolerate 500 to 600 PSI, while hardwood can withstand up to 1,300 PSI.

JCS Refresh Pressure Wash Fence PSI (4)


Overall, operating the pressure washer with a suitable PSI is essential to avoid any risk of damage that could lead to costly repairs. 

Follow the recommended PSI for every type of fence material to achieve the best results for your property!

Remember, if you’re uncomfortable with the idea of tackling this project, think about hiring out a fence cleaning service to assist. 

We always appreciate you taking the time to read our article!