As we previously mentioned, one of the downsides of wooden fences is that they need more upkeep than some of the other fences such as vinyl. A wood fence may be damaged in any number of ways: rotting, splitting or other mishaps. In order to keep your fences strong and healthy, there are various factors you need to consider because diving into helping.
Organisms that cause decay need oxygen and moisture in order to grow. Soil in contact with fences supplies moisture, therefore, fence parts that are below ground are more prone to decay. Another factor to keep in mind is the climate; wet climate favours decay. To protect from decay:
- Use wood pressure-treated with preservatives
- Apply water-repellent preservatives
- Build with naturally decay-resistant wood
- Follow careful construction practices
- Choose wood that are naturally resistant. Cedar wood is an ideal wood for fencing because it contains natural oils that make it moisture resistant as well as unappealing to insects. Redwood also resists moisture and insects.
Keeping on top of the repair by removing the damaged panel and replacing it is one of the best way to maintain wooden fences.. An advantage of wood panel fencing is that you can repair or replace individual pieces rather than the whole fence. Repair may include repainting a worn piece, or it could involve replacing an entire panel. Either way, it is a job that you can get done in a few hours.
Sealing your wooden fences from the elements is a must. Either that is by painting the fences or by staining/sealing. Staining gives panels a hint of color while maintaining a natural wood look. As a rule, when water no longer beads up on the wooden fence but soaks in, it is time to reseal. After the initial sealing, your wood fence will need regular maintenance at least every three years to prolong its life and help it stay strong and beautiful. The first step in wood maintenance involves cleaning it to remove all mildew. Special mildew cleaning solutions will make this process easier – apply it with a scrub brush to wash away all mildew that accumulates on the surface of the wood. After scrubbing every part of the wood fence, rinse away the cleaning solution with a hose. As you scrub the fence, examine it carefully to find any areas that need repair. If you find areas with decay, make a note to repair or replace these parts of the fence to keep the fence strong. Allow the fence wood to dry for at least two to three days after washing it before proceeding with painting or staining. Caulk all crevices in the fence with wood caulk to protect the fence from moisture. Apply the paint or the stain to the fence to cover all exposed surfaces. Although tedious and time-consuming, it’s most effective to apply the product with a paint brush or a paint roller instead of spraying it on. After applying one coat, allow it to dry completely and then apply a second coat of paint or stain. If you have not painted or stained your fence, you will need to apply a clear sealant every year to protect the wood and maintain a strong seal against moisture.
Softwoods such as redwood, pine, fir and cedar are all most susceptible to termite infestation. Unfortunately, those are the types of woods most likely to be used for fences. Termites require moist soil to survive and work to eat through softwoods that are partially buried. If your wood fence has portions that are buried, try digging them out and keeping the fence entirely exposed to the air. If you remove the wood from the termites’ habitat, they will not be able to destroy a wood fence. Furthermore, remove old roots, boards or other wood residue from soil near your fence. If termites have already infested your soil, contact a pest control specialist to treat the soil.