Fencing can make your property look wonderful, but daily exposure to the elements can ruin it quickly. With a little forethought, you can weatherproof your fence to help it keep its natural beauty longer.
While all fences need some type of protection, wood fences are most prone to damage from the weather.
The following 5 tips will help keep your wood fence looking its best throughout the years:
- Keep It Clean
The first thing is keeping your fence as clean as possible. This eliminates things like fungus growth over the fence. It also keeps harsh chemicals like winter salt from causing the wood to deteriorate. Even seemingly harmless dirt can cause damage to wood over time, if it is left on wood.
- Test for Waterproofing
Don’t assume that the wood made for fencing is automatically waterproof. Spray a tiny area of the fencing with water, and watch to see what happens. If the wood turns dark, then it is not waterproof, and will start to decay over time, if something is not done to change that.
You will need to do some kind of testing before you purchase the wood, in order to save trouble later. Finding that the wood is not waterproof isn’t a reason not to purchase it, if that is the wood you like.
Finding it out in advance simply makes it easier to treat the wood before installing the fence. This will make it much easier to make sure every inch is covered with the stain.
- Apply Weatherproof Stain
Stains not only come in many different colors, but they also come with waterproofing. Spending a bit more for the added protection will enable your wood fence to add years to its life. In the end, you end up saving money.
Another thing you can do is add a protective wax made specifically for wood fences. This adds yet another coat of protection between the wood, and elements. This stain and protectant can be used even after the fence is installed, but doing it beforehand will make things easier for you.
- Use Pressure-Treated Wood
Pressure-treated wood will help protect against insects and weather. This is especially true for the posts because they go beneath ground, where insects and moisture, thrive the most.
If the posts become insect-infested, their weakened state will cause the rest of the fence to sag and eventually fall apart. Finding pickets for picket fences that are pressure-treated may not be possible. Pickets, however, are above ground, so not subject to sitting in still water. They should stand up well by simply using water proof stain, and a wax coating.
- Keep Sprinklers Away from the Fence
One thing that isn’t often considered in regards to wood fencing is the regular use of sprinklers near the fence. This will not give the wood time to dry thoroughly, and can cause rotting in a quicker amount of time than if sprinklers are kept from hitting the wood.
It also helps to build up the ground under the fence, so that any rainwater drains away from it. If the water tends to pool around the posts, they will rot away quickly. A very slight incline, starting at the post, and declining away from it will allow the majority of water to be swept far enough away, so that it doesn’t cause damage.
A Word on Metal Fences
Wood fences aren’t the only kind of fence that are subject to weather damage. Metal fences can rust over time.
To prevent this, besides keeping them clean, they can also be covered with a protective coating of weatherproof wax. This will allow any water to run off the metal, rather than sink in, and cause rust to take hold.
In addition, keeping them clean is also just as necessary as it is with wood fences. While insects may not be an issue where metal is concerned, underground moisture or pooling around posts, can add to the chance of development of rust.