How To Care For A Wooden Fence
How can you go wrong with a classic wooden fence? It gives your property a bit of privacy and style. The only issue with a wooden fence is the material itself. As you probably have already experienced, wood rots. Because of this and constant exposure to UV rays and wind, annual and regular maintenance is required.
Don’t let the upkeep drag you down. Wooden fences can last for decades when taken care of. All it takes is a little attention and maintenance to keep the look you love and the functionality you need. From weather damage to kids ripping through your fence to create shortcuts, there are a few simple tricks you can apply to keep your wooden fence strong.
Cleaning Your Wood Fence
Wash your fence every year to expand the life of your wooden fence. To begin the washing process, prune or cut down any unwanted foliage or vines on your fence. Afterwards, take a minute to imagine your fence divided into sections. This will make the task of cleaning your whole fence a little less daunting. You can then tackle the job of rinsing the wood. The goal here is to only wet your fence; you won’t need to power or pressure wash here. A simple spray with a regular hose or a lower setting with your pressure washer will be sufficient for this first step.
Apply a detergent meant for wooden decks and fences to your power or pressure washer. Apply the detergent to your fence from the bottom to the top. This will help you avoid streaks and clean to the best of your ability. Allow the detergent to soak for about 10 minutes to make sure that it is working. Gently add water to areas that start to dry before the time is up. After letting the detergent soak, put your power or pressure washer on a moderate setting to rinse all detergent carefully off. When rinsing, keep in mind that wood can be a relatively delicate material. Try a fanning motion to keep the rinsing soft enough to clean the wood without damaging it.
What is the difference between a power washer and a pressure washer? A power washer uses hot water. If you see mold spots on your fence, you will want to use a power washer. Otherwise, a pressure washer will be sufficient. To get your hands on a pressure or power washer, you can either buy one or hire one. Buying one may be worth the investment to you as it is recommended to wash your fence annually.
Check for mold growth throughout the year. Green, blue, or black spots on your fence are a sign of mold growth. If you see strange coloring on your fence, now is the time to clean it. A brush might be needed in addition to your power washer to scrub off any mold stuck on your fence.
Adding Sealant To Make Your Fence Last
After a thorough cleaning of your wooden fence, it might be time to add sealant or paint. To prevent trapping moisture in the wood, let your fence sit for two dry days. Once all the water has had a chance to evaporate from your fence, you need to add a sealant to protect from any sun and wind damage.
Completely resealing your wooden fence should happen every two to five years. This number of course will vary depending on where you live and what the weather is like. To test your fence for whether it needs to be resealed, add water to your fence and see if the water beads up or if it soaks into the wood. If water no longer beads up on your fence, it is time to reseal it.
To thoroughly reseal your fence, make sure to get the grooves in between any panels. You might need to put down your roller brush and pick up a regular brush. This task takes more effort, but it is key to preserving the entirety of your fence. Keep in mind that sealing your fence thoroughly is a lot less work than replacing rotten boards that were left partially exposed due to a poor sealant job.
After sealing your wooden fence, you may use a stain to add to the aesthetic. This maintenance is not required, but might help you achieve the look you want. Washing and sealing your fence regularly is important maintenance that will keep your fence strong and long-lasting.
It’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for the condition of your fence. You never know when a dog’s digging has damaged it or when children in your neighborhood have detached panels to cut through to the other side. There are some damages you simply can’t anticipate or put a yearly check point on.
For regular repairs and maintenance, be sure to check your fence at least once a year. Along with a yearly summer wash, this task should be fairly easy. Walk the line of your fence and use your hand to check all of your pickets. If one is loose or rotten, you will want to replace it or nail it back into the base of your fence. Any leaning pickets should be placed upright. If you have a sectional fence, it’s a good idea to check every section to be sure that all nails are still intact and that no major damage has occured.
For any minor damage or cracks in the wood, you can use a waterproof wood glue to seal it. For more major damage, you can add a concrete spur to the base of the damaged panel to keep it in place. You will need to dig a hole to place the spur and bolt it to the damaged fence area.
Caulk, Wiring, and Post Caps
To further protect from damage, you can add caulk in between wood and concrete posts. This keeps moisture from collecting in the wood of your fence. It’s important to change out the protective caulk every year for best results.
If you are worried about animals breaking through your wooden fence, you might want to consider adding a wire fencing to the outside. This step can provide the protection your property or garden may need though it may take away from the aesthetic you are looking for.
The tops of fence posts are exposed to the most sun, weather, and water damage. Properly installed post caps can protect your posts from collecting water on the top. When water collects on the top of fence posts, you may see your fence rotting away in the future. This is why a lot of wooden fence owners install post caps. We offer 4x4 fence post caps and 6x6 fence post caps in many sizes and colors. These caps are placed on the top of all fence posts to add to the longevity of fence posts as well as add to the style.
Wooden fence maintenance will still be needed just as regularly despite any additional caulk, wiring, or post caps. These steps will simply help you to keep your fence as long as possible without a full replacement.