Keep reading if you are looking for easy-to-follow answers about wood fence maintenance. There are several reasons why people prefer wooden fences for their homes and other properties. Wood fences are affordable and durable. They are versatile, as they are available in different wood and can be customized to your specific preferences and needs. Installing wooden fencing is also an environment-friendly option. These fences also increase your property’s value. And when cared for properly, they can last for decades.
A split rail fence, a privacy fence, or a picket fence can enhance your home’s beauty while improving security. At Summit Fence, we specialize in installing all types of fences, including wood fences in Atlanta and all the surrounding areas. From our vast experience, we know that proper fence maintenance is the key to adding years, if not decades, to your fence’s life. If you choose a new wooden fence or already have one, it is crucial to know how to maintain it. This comprehensive guide has covered all aspects of wooden fence maintenance and protection so you can get the most out of its lifespan while enjoying all its benefits.
WOODEN FENCE MAINTENANCE
Very few other outdoor features can be visually appealing than a well-planned and designed wooden fence around your property. However, your fence must look impeccable without cracks, flaking paint, or warping. If you want to enjoy all the benefits that come with a wooden fence, it is essential to keep it well-maintained.
Importance of Wooden Fence Maintenance
The longer wood is left out in the elements, the faster it degrades. Regular and proper wood fence maintenance can help protect it for longer while keeping it looking and functioning at its best. Besides, quick repairs as and when needed can further improve its lifespan.
If you already have a wooden fence or prefer the natural elegance of wood, it is essential to invest in regular maintenance. When left to them, wood fences can start splitting or warping within a year. Lack of care can cause your fence to disrepair and lean or sag within a few years. It is not just the elements; wooden fences also require protection from animals and insects. Over time, the damage can add up when you lag in maintenance and give your fence an old, worn-down look and feel. While other fence materials have unique problems, wood can shrink, rot, or warp when not properly cared for.
Wooden Fence Longevity
When properly cared for and maintained, wood fences can last for at least two decades. The natural lifespan of the fence will eventually depend on several factors. The most important of these factors include the following:
- The type or species of wood
- Your local conditions
- Exposure to the elements
If your area experiences extreme weather or your fence is exposed to the sun, it may only last for a while if these conditions don’t exist. However, with proper wood fence protection, your fence can last longer in almost all kinds of conditions.
Keeping your Wooden Fence Looking New
Before you learn the best way to protect wood fences, you must learn about their everyday problems. Termites are a big concern when you have wood fences. Ensure your property is regularly checked for termites to treat the problem quickly. These pests cause wooden fences to age quickly and fail. Your fence can be sealed to protect against termite infestations.
When you have pets that love to dig, your fence will likely be uprooted in some spots. Pouring concrete to build a strong foundation for each post will be required.
Maintenance Steps For A Wooden Fence
So, how to treat wood fences? As mentioned above, it depends on many factors, with the type of wood you have, being the most important. It is recommended to follow these steps to treat your old wooden fence at least once a year:
- Collect the following supplies
- Power washer
- Putty knife
- Wood cleaner
- Wood filler
If your wood fence maintenance job involves repairs, add a drill or wrench, wood glue, and screws to this collection.
- Wash Your Wood Fence
All fence maintenance jobs begin with cleaning it. It is crucial to allow the wood to ‘breathe’ when you have a naturally finished wood fence. This requires removing dirt and grime regularly. You can make the washing process simple and quick using a power washer.
* Power washer
* Putty knife
* Wood cleaner
Power-washing your wooden fence is recommended at least once a year. You can use a maximum pressure range of 1500 and 2000 psi. This pressure should be suitable for removing weathering that may have built up over months. Once the dirt and debris are removed, your fence will be protected against mold and rot.
It is best to avoid more powerful power washers, as they can increase the risk of damage to the fence. Use a power washer with both 15-degree and 25-degree tips. Use the 15-degree tip for cleaning areas that are difficult to reach or more challenging. For example, it is more effective in dislodging or removing discoloration around the hardware, such as latches.
Alternatively, you can clean your wooden fence with soapy water. This method can be part of your more frequent cleaning process. It is focused on removing dust and pollen from the fence. If you see tougher stains, use your garden hose. You can also use a gentle power washer. Look out for black or green stains. These stains are often algae or mold and cannot be removed with basic cleaning methods. Algae and mold need to be killed to prevent the stains from returning.
Fortunately, mold and algae can be killed readily. Prepare and use a solution of chlorine bleach in water. Add one cup of chlorine to a gallon of water. You can also use white vinegar instead of bleach if you prefer a natural method.
- Sand the Fence
Wood fence maintenance may also require light sanding. Once the fence has been washed, check it for any signs of damaged wood or rough patches. Smooth out any such rough surfaces using sandpaper.
- Repair the Fence
When the fence is clean, the next step is to fix any broken or damaged posts or boards.
Check for any popped-out nails and replace them. Also, look for loose boards and fix them using screws or nails. Stainless steel or aluminum screws and nails are recommended because they don’t discolor or rust the fence.
- Protect the Fence
Once you have restored your wooden fence to good condition, giving it proper wood fence treatment for protection is essential.
Apply a fresh coat of paint or stain.
When applying stain, make sure the manufacturer’s instructions are carefully followed.
When applying paint, use a brush or roller designed for outdoor applications.
Let the stain or paint dry completely before using the new fence.
EXTENDING YOUR OLD FENCE’S LIFE
If you have an old wooden fence, it is essential to take many more steps to ensure you get more life out of it.
Inspect Your Fence Every Year
It is recommended to take a walk around your yard and check the fence at least once a year. Watch for any signs of rot or damage.
- Replace any broken wooden boards.
- Tighten any loose screws.
- Hammer in any loose nails
- Check every section to ensure it is correctly fixed to the other sections
- The locks and hinges on the gates should be secured and lined up
- If there are any chips, splits, or cracks in the wood, apply waterproof wood glue
- The seal will protect the wood from further damage associated with moisture
- Adjust the sprinklers to prevent the fence from getting wet
- Trim any vines or bushes, preventing them from hanging on the fence
If any section is leaning, ensure the posts are firmly fixed to the ground. If the posts are in bad condition, make sure to replace them. Use automotive grease to lubricate the hinges, locks, and other hardware. It is essential to know that pressure-treated lumber doesn’t protect completely against water intrusion. So every step to protect against moisture will contribute to wood fence protection and add more life to the fence.
If your sprinklers spray water on the fence, it can lead to the wood rotting or moss growth. Vines and bushes can not only hold moisture, but they can also add weight to the fence. It is also important to ensure effective drainage around the wooden fence to prevent water from pooling around the posts. Ensure the soil at each post’s foundation is tightly packed and slightly sloped away from the fence.
Professional Fence Cleaning
Get your wooden fence professionally cleaned every two to three years. This is important for removing moss, dirt, graying, and mildew. After cleaning, provide the following wood fence treatment:
- Recoat the fence using a water-repelling and UV-inhibiting layer
- Repair the fence and scrape off any moss or peeling paint until new wood appears
- Use a pressure washer to clean the fence
Homeowners often ask how to treat wood fences if there is mold. Mix bleach and mild detergent in a 1:4 ratio and spray it on the wooden fence. Do this 60 minutes before washing to remove mold spores. It will also prevent the spores from reappearing.
Paint or Stain
Once the fence has been thoroughly cleaned, paint or stain it. This should be done every 3 to 5 years.
- Make use of exterior latex paint or oil-based stain
- The stain or paint should seal out moisture and protect the fence from rot
- Additional benefits include restricting weathering while extending the life of the fence
- Make use of a sealant or stain with a UV inhibitor that prevents the fence from graying
Leave the wood to dry for a week after the washing/cleaning before the stain or sealant is applied. Paint can be applied with the help of a power sprayer or brush.
MAINTENANCE TIPS FOR NEW WOODEN FENCE
If you are a new homeowner or have a new wooden fence, you may be considering whether you should treat your fence or not. When addressing the maintenance needs of your new fence, it is recommended to consider the following factors:
- Type of Wood: Redwood and western red cedar are widely used for fences, as they are good at resisting rot and decay. Cedar is most commonly used, as it can withstand extreme conditions.
- Fence Posts: Make sure fence posts undergo pressure treatment. They are always in contact with the ground and are exposed to insects and moisture. If they are not treated, the posts can rot fast. There is no need to pressure-treat the vertical boards or pickets, as they are above the ground. When pressure-treated wood is infused with chemicals that prevent bugs and water from causing damage to the wood.
So, how to treat a new wood fence? A brand-new fence looks perfect, and most homeowners are confused about whether they should maintain it. If you intend to keep your fence looking and functioning great over the long term, it is important to paint or stain it.
When you have a new wooden fence, you should wait a few months before painting or staining it, as this time is required for the pressure-treated wood and chemicals to dry out. If you paint or stain before the fence dries, it can cause any moisture to get sealed in. This increases the risk of decay and rot.
It is essential to know that pressure-treated wood is safe from termites and fungal decay. Still, it is likely to swell, crack, warp, or shrink. Only regular wood fence maintenance can help provide proper protection against these damages. You should maintain your fence every two years to ensure it stays in good condition and lasts longer than its average lifespan.
When you use pressure-treated wood for your fence, it is suggested to wait four to six weeks before the wood has dried thoroughly.
This form of treatment prevents water from entertaining and damaging wood. You should expect the paint to last two to three years before requiring sanding and repainting. On the other hand, you should expect the stain to last three to five years before needing reapplication. Eventually, the right way to care for your new fence is to ensure regular maintenance.
Staining & Sealing Your Wooden Fence
New wooden fences also need protection from the sun and rain; proper wood fence treatment is the best defense. Staining and sealing are the most commonly used treatment methods. Here, we will discuss both these treatments in detail.
Sealers are transparent; you should use them to show the wood’s natural color and beautiful grain. They help prevent moisture absorption and rot in the wood. The stain has similar protective properties but contains a special dye that protects from UV radiation. Protecting your wooden fence from UV radiation is essential. Exposure to excess UV rays can cause the wood to dry out, causing cracks and graying over time.
Wooden Fence Staining
If you want to ensure wood fence protection from the elements, it is recommended to stain it annually. If you experience rain more often in your area, you should increase the frequency of staining. Stain helps in protecting the wood against moisture and from the elements. It creates a barrier between the elements and the wood, thus increasing the lifespan of your fence. A coat of stain helps protect the fence from the elements and gives it a fresh look.
Before your fence gets stain treatment as part of fence maintenance, it is essential to ensure the wood has already been cleaned and is completely dry. If you observe these points, the coating will better protect your fence against the elements and other factors. As mentioned above, the hardware components in your fence’s gates will also need maintenance and protection. For example, the locks and hinges will need to be oiled using car grease or wood grease. This will not only help lubricate these metal components but will also protect them against rusting.
Wooden Fence Sealing
As mentioned above, sealers allow you to retain the natural color of your wooden fence while protecting it. Staining is an essential step in wood fence maintenance to help it keep looking new while maintaining its ‘health’ over the long term. If you want to showcase the wood’s natural color, you should choose a clear sealer. You can also find a stain with matching color to your fence, and such a matching effect help enhance your fence’s looks.
When choosing a clear fence sealer, ensure it has high-performance UV filters. This will help nourish the wood and prevent potential damage against long-term exposure to sunlight. As part of the regular fence maintenance schedule, you should ensure that the protective layers are reapplied twice yearly. Similar to staining, you will have to increase the frequency of sealing if you experience extreme weather conditions in your region.
When it comes to washing your wooden fence, it is recommended to avoid pressure washing. It can remove the coating and rich color. You cannot afford to leave your fence in the open without protection, or it will start fading.
Weather Treatment for Wood Fence
When it comes to wood fence protection, many weather treatment options are available. Besides standard stains, you can find organic wood treatments that don’t adversely impact nature. You must know that different woods need different forms of treatment and that the right one is chosen for your fence type.
Deck stains are excellent options for treating wood fences to achieve excellent water resistance. Besides bringing greater flexibility, deck stains offer outstanding protection from UV radiation. Typically, these applications should last you up to five years. Make sure it is a professional application to get the most out of it. Standard wood fence stains require reapplication once a year; the frequency mainly varies based on your local conditions.
Graying Treatment for Wood Fence
Many homeowners often cherish silver wooden fences. Graying occurs from a combination of exposure to UV radiation and the elements. Many prefer graying, as it gives a more vintage look to their wooden fence. Then, many others like a fresher look for their wood fence. You should invest in regular wood fence maintenance if you don’t want to make your fence look uncared for. A gray fence can also affect the look of your yard.
Similar to skin, wood also needs protection from the elements. Your wooden fence will age faster when exposed to the sun and other elements. It is important to realize that there is no foolproof way to prevent the wood from graying. When a plank gets cut from a tree, the wood dies. Since dead wood cannot renew its fibers, it will need protection against the elements.
- Apply UV-resistant wood finishing products to block damage from the sun
- They help block the effects of the sun and the elements.
- Check the product used for pre-treating your wooden fence to ensure the new application complements it.
Regarding wood fence maintenance for a new fence, slowing graying requires taking steps while the timber is fresh. Timber usually comes pre-treated, but applying wood stain or preserver is recommended to enhance protection.
It is recommended to check your wooden fence once a month to look for any signs of damage. This involves walking the length of the fence. Some of the damages you should look out for include:
- Loose pickets
- Broken pickets
- Tilted posts
Look for loose nails based on how your fence was built. A good thing about fence maintenance is that damaged or broken pickets can usually be easily replaced. When you come across loose nails, you can easily hammer them into place.
Preventing Wooden Fence Damage
When it comes to wood fence protection, it is not just the elements you should be concerned about. It will also need to be protected against pests and wood rot. The following maintenance tips should help you minimize or prevent damage from these factors.
Protection from Pests
Termites or white ants are well known for their ability to eat away and damage wooden fences. Cedar, redwood, fir, and pine are the most commonly used woods for fences. Unfortunately, these are the woods most vulnerable to termite attacks. You can seek professional termite extermination services, but they can also be treated using borax. This compound works as a natural insecticide in getting rid of pests. Even better, borax is not as toxic as other types of insecticides.
Protection from Wood Rot
The best wood fence maintenance tip is to prevent any damage from occurring in the first place. While it is impossible to avoid snow, rain, and sunlight from coming in contact with your wooden fence, you can prevent them from penetrating the wood. You should apply a weatherproof stain to the fence from the time it is first installed. And then, the fence should be re-stained regularly, as per instructions.
If you want to prevent wood rot, it will be required to keep plant life away from the fence. While vines and other plants look great on the fence, you should keep them away from your wooden fence. Plants tend to create damp spots on such fences. Besides, the landscaping should not grow against the fence.
When your fence is highly likely to rot, your wood fence treatment should include the use of borate. This fungicide is safe for application on wood and doesn’t harm humans or pets. This means you can spray it directly on your fence.
If you notice rot on your fence, you should replace the affected areas to stop its spread. It may be required to replace the main posts as well. The posts are in contact with the ground, and rot usually starts here. Wooden fence posts and planks should be replaced at the first sign of rot, or the rot can spread to other parts of your fence. When different sections of your fence are replaced due to rot, it is essential to coat your fence with stain to prevent rot from developing in the future.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT WOOD FOR THE FENCE
Choose the right wood if you need to install a new fence and decide upon a wooden fence. While considering different factors, make sure to emphasize durability. Cedar is the most common option, as cedar fences last the longest. Proper wood fence maintenance and protection can allow cedar fences to last up to 30 years. The wood has a natural resistance to insects and doesn’t rot away quickly. These fences have been known to last four decades when properly treated and maintained.
Whether you want to install a new wooden fence or care for your existing fence, it is important to be regular with inspections, maintenance, and repairs. Any damaged or rotten parts should be replaced immediately to protect the rest of the structure. If you follow the tips mentioned above, you should be able to preserve your fence for years and enjoy its beauty and functionality for decades without a need for a fence replacement.
Fences are meant to last long and protect your property, add to the overall aesthetics, and provide desired levels of privacy. However, all fences, including wooden fences, require regular care and protection if they are to outlast their expected lifespan. If you want your wooden fence to last long, you must invest in proper maintenance. Fence maintenance is about more than just extending the life of your wooden fence. It is also essential to keep your fence looking great as long as it serves its purpose.
When it comes to protecting your wooden fence, you are not alone. Summit Fence is always here to help answer your questions and assist you with taking care of them. We are an Atlanta fence company serving residential and commercial clients throughout the region. We provide comprehensive fence solutions and services, from installation to maintenance and repair. We specialize in installing and maintaining all the different fences, including picket fences, privacy fences, metal fences, chain link fences, ranch-rail fences, and more. If you want to learn more about our services or seek our professional wood fence maintenance services, feel free to contact us. You can call us at 770-334-6964 or send us a message via this Online Form, and we will call you back at the earliest.