A wooden fence is a great way to give a home a definitive border. It is sturdy, durable but also provides a rustic charm to the property, and depending on the stain you use, can also be as elegant as any concrete fence or stone wall.
Wooden fencing does require some maintenance, being a natural product that is affected by the elements. This can seem like a difficult and time-consuming task, but it does not have to be. Follow the advice below for the perfect wooden fence, year round.
Seal your wooden fence to avoid rotting
If you have not installed a treated wooden fence, it is important to seal your fence. It is preferable to use a water-repellent preservative and sealant, which will keep your wood from absorbing water which leads to rot. To further eliminate the possibility of rotting, ensure that sprinklers are pointed away from your wooden fencing, as well as not growing vines or plants on the fencing.
Mildew can cause wood to rot, and is not aesthetically appealing. You should use a mildew-removing chemical from a hardware store, or if that is not available, scrub the boards with soap and water. Once this is done, hose the area down with clean water. You will need to periodically scrub down the fence in order to reduce and eliminate mildew build up. Be sure to examine the area where the fencing meets the ground for any signs of rot or mildew.
Every few years, you will need to repaint or restain your wood fence. You can do this with a roller, or paint brush but you will need to ensure that the brush or roller you use is suitable for the paint or stain. Using a sprayer is not advisable, as it may turn out to be uneven and missing pieces of the wood can lead to those pieces cracking, rotting or becoming mildewed. A sealant should be applied every year if you are not using paint or a stain.
Use caulk between the wooden fence posts and concrete fence posts (the concrete posts most likely being your neighbour’s). This will keep out the moisture and prevent boards from rotting and cracking. Your wooden fence will have a much longer life if this is done on a yearly basis, before the rainier months. If you do not use caulk or a sealant, the boards will swell and become misshapen which defeats the purpose of having a fence for protection and privacy.
Suss out loose screws
It is vital to check for any loose or rusted screws in your fencing. Tighten up loose screws and remove and replace rusted ones. A rusted screw contributes to problems such as misshapen boards, cracked boards and even mildew and rotted wood. Do a monthly check of the screws, and take note of areas which have regular problems, as this could mean it is in a too-moist area.
Replace damaged boards
Just like you would do with rusted or damaged screws, you should replace damaged wooden boards. If you leave a rotting or cracked board in, this can affect the entirety of the fence. You may have to call in help to do so but it is worth the time and money, as the fence is the first barrier between your property and any intruders. It is also a matter of maintaining the aesthetics, as damaged or water-laden boards will look out of place and unpleasant among straight boards.
Keep it clean
Cleaning a wooden fence is not often done by those who own one, but it should be. Other than removing mildew and finding rotten boards, it will keep the wood itself sturdier. A clean wooden fence usually has little to not rot and dirt on it, which lengthens the lifespan of the fence. You can use a pressure cleaner or get your hands dirty and use a scrubbing brush, water and mildew-eliminating chemicals. Be sure to do this during a week or weekend that promises sunny weather, so as to give your fence time to dry out before you re-apply the sealant.
A wooden fence can be a beautiful garden accessory and an effective barrier if it is cared for correctly. You will need to ask your installers for their advice initially but after the first year, the maintenance becomes easier, and can even be a fun family activity. You should regularly apply the sealant or stain, and be sure to never have a sprinkler spraying directly onto the fencing. Follow the guideline above and you will have a sturdy and stunning wooden barrier for years to come.