How to Clean a Fence with your own Cleaner Solution

Clean vs. Not Clean FenceIf you are going to re-stain your fence or deck you need to make sure you properly clean the surface area prior to applying the new stain.  Properly cleaning the material ensures that the stain you apply will adhere properly and last longer.  Proper cleaning of the wood will also bring the fence back to life and make it look newer.  Over time, dirt, mold, moss, grease and other materials can adhere to the fence and it is never good to apply a new stain without removing these debris first.

If you have a pressure washer you can easily clean your fence or deck by putting it on a lighter setting so as not to damage the wood.  However, there are other options besides using a pressure washer to clean your fence or deck.

If you frequent stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s you may be familiar with a product called 30 second cleaner. It is a concentrate 30 second cleanerformula that is designed to remove mildew, moss, mold and dirt from wood prior to painting.  Many professional painters will use a similar formula to prep their paint areas.  30 Second Cleaner is a great product but it can come with a somewhat high price.  If you have a huge fence you may not want to pay for that much pre-mixed product.  Alternatively, if you need a quick and easy cleanup, 30 second cleaner may be just perfect for you.

For those of you with larger projects, there is a cost effective way to reap the benefits of 30 second cleaner without having to pay the high price for the premixed concentrate.  30 second cleaner is a simple formula of household bleach and trisodium phosphate phosphate which you can mix together yourself.  Don’t believe it?  Just look at the ingredients next time you are in the store. Trisodium phosphate Phosphate, or Bleach Application Sprayer TSP, is a chemical many painters use to prep their work areas and can usually be found in the painting area of a hardware store.  Household bleach, well you probably know where to find that.


When it comes to combining TSP and bleach there are many different approaches in terms of measurements but for a great outline on how to do this visit this nice write-up on how to make your own outdoor cleaner.  The best way to apply the cleaning solution is using a pressure operated sprayer.  These can usually be picked up at a hardware store for under $15 and are well worth the investment.  The TSP and Bleach combination shouldn’t run you more than about $20 and ought to last you much longer than the large $30 bottle of 30 Second Cleaner concentrate.   The cleaner application should be done when the fence or deck is dry. For best results let the cleaner work for about a minute and then run a brush over the area and then rinse it clean with a garden hose.  You are now ready to re-stain your deck or fence!

Using Lattice Around Your House

Use lattice for privacy or  around the bottom of your deckIf you are like most people, the exterior of your home isn’t aesthetically friendly all the way around.  Maybe you have a deck that you use the underside for storage or have a firewood pile that is an eye soar.  There are a couple of options to take care of these areas, one of them being to build a fence around them and block the view.  However building a fence may not always be the best solution.

Consider using lattice around your home as an alterative to fencing in certain areas.  For example, if you have  deck that you tend to store items underneath but it is an eyesoar, trying putting up some lattice.  You will find that not only does it cover up the mess under the deck, but it can add to the appeal of the home.

Lattice can also be used as a shade option for a gazebo or on a deck.  Simply build a frame and install the lattice on the top side of the frame.  The nice thing about using lattice for shade is that it is cheaper than building a roof and allows some sunlight through so the area is not completely shaded.  Lattice is also nice because it is slotted so wind can easily pass through it during storms decreasing the chances of a blow-over.

Lattice Wood Gazebo RoofLattice should not be used as a full alternative to a fence.  Lattice is not very durable and will do a poor job of keep out unwanted visitors.  It is also see through, so if privacy is an issue you may want to see if you can find an alternative such as a cedar fence, vinyl fence or slatted chain link fence.

Overall lattice is a great choice when you need to cover exposed areas around your home but don’t want to spend a fortune.  It is both functional and visually appealing.

How to Set Fence Posts (Video)

This is a short and sweet video on how to properly set a fence post.  Enjoy.


Time for a New Fence?

Well it looks like it is time for a new fence.  We do not recommend this as a safe way to tear down your old fence but for entertainment purposes, it works.

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Tips for Installing a Gate on a Slope

sloped gate installationFirst off, if you can avoid installing a gate on a slope, do it. Installing a gate on a hillside presents quite a few challenges and if it can be avoided try to install the gate in a flat area with as little slope as possible.  In fact, installing a gate in a flat area can be challenging enough for the inexperienced.  If you think about it, installing a gate on a hillside will present opening and closing problems.  Depending on how you install the gate, it will most likely be interfered with by the hillside.

If you absolutely must install a gate on a hillside consider the following.  Try and keep the gate as narrow as possible.  The wider the gate, the more likely you are to run into operational problems.  When installing the gate, think long and hard about how it will be swinging open and closing.  Is it opening in a fashion that it will run into some sort of interference?  If so you may have to make some modifications ranging from digging out the slope or creating a gap under the gate where it is interfered with. Also consider have the gate open on the downward side of the hill.  In some cases this may not work but it is another option.

In conclusion, it is best to try and avoid installing a gate on a hillside but if unavoidable, test every option and consider interferences before finalizing the installation.

How to Stain a Wood Fence

Updated November 2017Staining a Wood fence on a sunny day

Treating an old wood fence with a protective stain as it will not only keep your fence looking good, it will protect it from the elements. There are plenty of ways to stain a wood fence including a paint brush, roller or paint sprayer. For larger projects, it may be worth the money to invest in a quality sprayer as it will make the job go much faster.  For smaller projects, staining a wood fence with a simple roller and paint brush for those hard to reach areas should work just fine.

Choosing the right stain for wood fence

Choosing a stain is the biggest decision you will have to make when staining your wood fence. There are so many variations of stain offered and big box retailers offer generic brand stains at an affordable price.  Remember though, as is the case with so many things in life, you get what you pay for.  So be sure to do PLENTY of research before staining a wood fence. staining a wood fence is fairly straightforward process

Going with a cheaper brand of stain without doing your research can mean re-staining the wood fence in just several years. Another thing to consider is the color of the stain and how it will look on your fence.  If possible, try and get a sample of the stain prior to applying it to the whole fence.

Staining a Wood Fence

Finally, it is time to stain the fence.  It is often a good idea to wait several weeks if the wood is new for the treatments to settle in and if you live in a wet climate like the Pacific Northwest, allow time for the wood to dry in warmer weather.  When staining a wood fence, make sure to apply plenty of stain and paint away!

When Is the Best Time to Stain a Wooden Fence?

Wait a few weeks before staining a new wooden fence. Why? Wood is affected by light, temperature and humidity. It needs time to adapt to its new environment. Early or late summer are good times for staining a wooden fence. You’ll need a few days of dry, warm weather, both before and after you stain. The boards need to be completely dry. A cloudy day, early in the morning or late in the afternoon are good times to work. In general, it’s better not to paint in direct sunlight.

Gather Your ToolsCustom Concealed Fence with fresh stain

Staining a wood fence requires using a combination of rollers and brushes. You’ll need the following tools:

  • Long-handled roller and trim roller
  • Paint pan
  • Four-inch wide brush and trim brush
  • Rubber gloves
  • Eye protection such as goggles
  • Canvas or plastic sheets

Apply the Wood Stain

#1 Lay sheet over plants, grass and ground. Move pots and furniture to a safe distance. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Here’s the general procedure for staining a wood fence:

#2 Using the roller, dip into the stain. Apply in an even coat. Work from top to bottom. Starting at the top helps prevent drips.

#3 After completing a 3-foot section with the roller, work the stain in with a brush. Work the product into corners. If you have a partner, the work will go more quickly. One person applies the stain with the roller, the second follows behind with the brush.

#4 Follow the same procedure in step 2 using the trim roller and brush.

#5 Refer to your product directions to learn if you need a second coat.

Damaged old wooden fence from storm

What to do with an old wooden fence

That being said, no amount of stain can save an old wooden fence if it’s destroyed, breaking or unable to withstand stormy weather. There are a number of things you can do to recycle your old wood fence.  Here is a short list of ideas on what you can make out of your old wooden fence:

  • Vintage looking planter boxes
  • Birdhouses, bird feeders or  squirrel feeders
  • Garden trellises
  • Garbage container corrals
  • Old picture Frames
  • Simple retaining walls (only very small walls – consult a professional if unsure)
  • Garden Stakes
  • Vintage looking picture frames
  • Rustic looking bench
  • Mail Box

As you can see there are plenty of simple uses for an old wooden fence, including many options that aren’t listed above. Be creative and see what you can build!

Wood fence installation in Portland OR

From fence installation to removal of old wooden fences, Pacific Fence and Wire has the tools and expertise you need to get the job done right the first time. Contact us today for help with your next landscaping or yard renovation project.

Things to Remember When Purchasing Fence Materials

When tackling a wooden fence project there are several things that need to be considered prior to purchasing the building materials and starting on your project.

Start by measuring how long your fence will be. Take these measurements and on a piece of scratch paper put together a rough layout of your fence area. Next, decide how far you will distance your fence posts. Normal distance is 8 to 10 feet but may vary from fence to fence. On your scratch paper, indicate where you will be placing each post, properly spaced based on your distance. If you are going to install a gate, remember the each side of the gate will require posts as well. You should now have an accurate count of how many posts you will need to purchase.

Next, you will need to decide whether your fence will have a two rail structure or 3 rail structure. on your scratch paper, mark out how many rails each section of fence will require. You should now have an accurate count on how many 2×4’s will need to be purchased for the rail portion of your fence. Take the number of rails you purchase and multiply them by 2. This will give you number of fasteners you will need to attach the rails to the fence posts.

You will need to choose a way to set your fence posts. Will you use concrete or a mixture of gravel and sand? Or will you be setting them directly into the ground? The best bet is to ask a professional on the amount of gravel or concrete you will need to purchase. They should also be able to help you determine a proper depth to dig your post holes based on the fences environment.

Calculating the number of fence boards required varies on the width of the board and the amount of spacing you will allow between each board.

Hopefully this list is a good start to help you on your way with your fence project. Should you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact Pacific Fence and Wire!

Quick Tips for Removing Weeds this Spring

Whether we like it or not it is spring time and that means weeds are starting to pop up everywhere. You may have been working out in your yard or garden last week come back no more than a week later to find a cluster of weeds have shown up. So what is the best way to get rid of weeds?

There are a couple of options ranging from spraying weed killer to pulling the weeds. If you go with a spray, be sure to research what is in it and make sure it is both pet friendly and won’t kill off vegetation in your yard that you want to keep. If you choose to pull the weeds, try to get the root and all so it won’t grow back later. Below are a couple of videos with tips on handling those pesky weeds.

Choosing a Fence that is Right for You

Choosing a fence for your property can be a difficult task. There are so many different types of fences available and you may be installing a fence for many different reasons. When choosing a fence you need to ask yourself why you want a fence installed and what purpose it will be serving. This can range from increasing security to keeping a pet enclosed in your yard.

Security Fences:

Security Fence can range in make and style but all serve the same purpose: to keep whatever is inside the fence safe and secure.  Whether it be to deter from break-ins or altogether keep people out, these fences vary drastically.  If you are looking for a residential friendly security fence your best bet is to go with something both aesthetically pleasing as well as functional.  A starting point would be a wooden cedar fence and other options include stone, vinyl and chain link.  If you are a commercial outfit it may make sense to install a high security fence with some sort of barbed or razor wire at the top to prevent intruders from climbing the fence.

Decorative Fence:

Another fence type is decorative fence.  Fences that fall into this category include picket fences, some vinyl fences, iron fence and more.  These fences can also serve as a dual function providing security and enclosures as well.  When choosing a decorative fence it is important to also ask yourself if the fence needs to provide security as well.  Decorative fences can also bring up the visual appeal on the property and really make your home stand out.

Fence Enclosures:

Fence enclosures are typically designed to keep something in.  Whether it be a pet, children or livestock these fences all serve the same purpose: keep whatever is inside them from getting out.  Depending on your needs these fences can vary drastically.  For example, livestock can be kept in with a simple barbed wire fence or post and rail fence.  Children and pets, on the other hand, may require a more robust fence installation such as a full 6 foot cedar fence or chain link fence.

Privacy Fences:

Privacy fences serve purpose of creating a visual barrier that both keeps others from looking in as well as blocking noise.  These types of fences vary as well from wooden fences to vinyl slatted chain link fences.  If noise is an issue it may make sense to install a tall stone fence to truly block out the sound.  The main thing the privacy fences is to really assess your need an make a decision based on what best suits you.


As you can see there are MANY different types of fences that serve a variety of purposes.  To ensure you get the correct fence that fits all your needs contact Pacific Fence & Wire today for a free estimate.  We will walk you through all your options and thoroughly explain the differences in the types of fences we offer. Our number is (503)233-6248 and we would love to hear from you!

A Simple Guide to Home Maintenance

Owning a home can require constant maintenance and repair and can be a scary thing for the inexperienced.  The good news is that if you are willing to take on a challenge and aren’t afraid to do some basic work yourself, you can save a lot of money on repairs and basic upkeep.  You will also reap the benefits of that rewarding feeling of having accomplished something yourself and will gain an overall knowledge of how things in your home work.

Nearly EVERY homeowner has the resources to educate themselves on how to properly maintain their home they just don’t know it.  You don’t have to go buy a book, take a class or go to the library. In face, if you are reading this blog you are just a few clicks away from the greatest library of home maintenance available.  That’s right, it is the internet.

A simple Google search (or use your favorite search engine) will yield a tremendous amount of do it yourself guides, how-to’s and videos to help you on whatever projects you are about to tackle.