Fences can add a sense of privacy to your property. They can also provide safety for pets and small children by creating a secure environment. A fence installed in an area that receives no sunlight can begin to develop an unsightly green coating in some areas. This slimy green stuff is usually moss. A member of the genus Bryophyta, moss was one of the first land plants to grow on earth. Its vertical growth pattern makes a nearby tree or fence the perfect trellis. Unfortunately, moss growth on a white wooden fence is not always an aesthetically pleasing look. Removing the green stuff for good involves a combination of cleaning and prevention.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Warm water
- Washing powder
- Liquid chlorine bleach
- Thick rubber gloves
- Scrub brush
- Garden hose
- Paint, stain or polyurethane sealer
- Paint tray
- Power washer
Fill a bucket with 2.8 litres (3 quarts) warm water. Add 158 ml (2/3 cup) of TSP (trisodium phosphate), 67 g (1/3 cup) washing powder and 0.93 litres (1 quart) liquid chlorine bleach. Put on a pair of thick rubber gloves before applying the cleaner to the wooden fence.
Apply the moss cleaning solution to the fence using a scrub brush. Scrub the entire area affected by the green stuff, not just the moss itself. Scrubbing the entire affected area will ensure that you do not miss minute sections of moss growth.
Rinse the fence thoroughly with a garden hose to remove all traces of the cleaning solution. The green stuff will come off completely during the rinsing. Allow the fence to air-dry for 1 to 2 days and then repaint.
Removing the moss
Repaint the cleaned area of fence with whatever was on it previously. Most fencing has a coat of exterior paint, exterior stain or exterior clear polyurethane sealer.
Pour the paint, stain or polyurethane sealer into a paint tray. Apply the paint, stain or polyurethane sealer to the fence with a roller, but use a paintbrush to get in-between the wood slats.
Allow the first coat of paint, stain or polyurethane sealer to air-dry before applying a second coat. Because most exterior paints, stains and sealers are oil based, they usually require a 24-hour waiting period to fully dry between coats. Allow the fence surface to dry overnight and tackle the second coat the following day.
Tips and warnings
- If the fence has weathered, take this opportunity to apply a new coat of paint to the entire fence.
- Remove as much foliage as you can from the area around the fence. Direct sunlight burns up and eventually kills moss. The more sunlight you let into the area, the less of a chance there will be for moss growth.
- You can also add the cleaning solution to a power washer. Just make sure that you use the power washer on its lowest setting to avoid damaging the wood.
- Do not attempt to remove the moss from the fencing before you put on a pair of thick rubber gloves to protect the skin on your hands. A pair of goggles is also a good idea to protect your eyes from backsplashes.
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