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6 Ways to Protect Your Fence From Wild Pacific Northwest Weather

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Home and business owners in the Pacific Northwest know that the weather can wreak all sorts of damage to exterior structures. From the heavy rains and late snows of spring to ice and heavier snowstorms during winter, your outside structures have to withstand anything that the weather throws at them. 

Is your fence prepared to meet these challenges? If you are not sure, then now is a great time to get it in the right place to face the changing seasons. Discover a few things to do, no matter the state of your fence.

1. Clean Up the Yard

Regular yard maintenance, especially as the seasons change, does more than just make your property look better. It also helps you keep the fence in good condition and avoid exacerbating existing weaknesses.

Leaves, overgrown shrubs, and gardening equipment can all trap snow and rainwater against the fence, which leads to rotting and warping. Look upward to check the condition of your trees as well. All those limbs and branches above the fence may fall on it and cause damage. Prune any branches that are particularly risky. 

Put tools, equipment, and toys or play equipment inside the garage or shed for the winter, or secure them away from the fence. The more freestanding objects you can find a home for, the less danger of flying debris and snow build-up around your fence. 

2. Analyze the Condition of Your Fence

Take the time to walk around the perimeter of your fences with a careful eye. Look for signs of weakness or potential damage that can be fixed before the onslaught of rain or snow starts.

Check for small cracks and holes you may be able to fill with wood putty. Test the stability of the fence, and look for loose boards or footings. Touch the boards to see if there are any soft spots, which indicate rot, and correct sagging or warped sections. Repeat this inspection after major wind or snowstorms and when the seasons change. 

3. Keep Up With Snowfall

Prepare for winter snowstorms, and try to keep up with them when they come. Snow — especially wet, heavy fall or spring snow — put a lot of weight on fences. Chain link or iron fences may not be as much at risk for snow buildup, but vinyl and wood fencing will be in real danger.

Clear snow away from the fence line as it falls, shoveling it inward toward the open areas of your landscape, and use ice melt to prevent ice from accumulating. Try to do this more than once during a long snowstorm, often in conjunction with removing snow and ice from roofs and other structures. 

4. Reconsider Your Fence Style

Is your current fence up to the job of facing the weather intact? The best time to figure this out is when the weather is still good, rather than when your fence fails or creates more problems during a flood or snowstorm. Solid fences may continue to face risks from flooding and snow, but an open style may solve these problems more permanently. You may need to replace an untreated or poorly installed fence. 

5. Check the Footings

While the biggest weather threats to wood and vinyl fencing is usually the weight of water and snow, aluminum and steel fences face other threats. One of the most common is the cycle of freezing and thawing that happens throughout Pacific Northwest winters. Freezing ground expands and contracts many times as temperatures rise and fall. This can cause problems with the footings of metal fences. 

6. Talk With Neighbors

Certainly, if you share a fence with a neighboring property, then you should get together to check its condition and assess any needed repairs. However, even if you manage and pay for the fence on your own, talk with your neighbors about their side if you can’t fully inspect it.

This is a good chance to open a dialogue that could lead to shared fence maintenance or even the decision to replace an aging fence. However, even if that does not happen, you need to check the fence line from all angles. Make this a positive experience, though, not criticizing your neighbors but offering solutions. 

Where to Start

Do you want help assessing the condition of your fence? Not sure if a change in fencing materials or style could solve ongoing problems in your yard? Do you need help with major repairs before fall and winter weather starts? Begin by meeting with the fence pros at Town & Country Fence.

For more than half a century, we have worked with property owners throughout the Pacific Northwest to find the best fencing solutions for their needs. Call today to make an appointment, schedule a consultation, or just get answers to your questions.