Wood fences provide a timeless, beautiful finish to any landscape. Wood is one of the most versatile materials for fencing, providing a warm, inviting look for your curb appeal while still providing containment for pets and privacy for cozy gatherings in the backyard. Wood fences can be stained or painted to match almost any home style and exterior.
Wood fences can last for years if they are properly installed and maintained. They also can continue to look as beautiful as they did the day they were installed. If you are considering installing a wood fence in your yard, learn how you can make sure that your wood fence stands the test of time and only gets more and more beautiful as it ages.
Choose the Right Starting Materials for Your Fence
Some woods are better for fencing than others. Less costly pine pickets can decrease the initial price tag for your fence installation, but they may not last as long as more weather-resistant cedar wood. Pressure-treated pine posts, on the other hand, can perform quite well in moist environments — even better than cedar in some cases.
You might choose a blend of cedar pickets and pine posts, depending on the ground your fence will be set into. For example, cedar posts cannot be set in concrete, as this will lead to early rot. Pine posts that are pressure treated can be set in concrete, which makes the fence sturdier. Depending on your fencing needs, pine posts (regardless of picket material) could be best.
Give strong consideration to pickets that are made from cedar or redwood. They have a natural resistance to moisture and insect damage, and they look beautiful. Cedar and redwood both have a pleasant smell, especially when first installed. Cedar does not warp as much as pressure-treated pine, which makes it better for decorative or more detailed fence designs.
Clean Your Fence
When you keep your fence as clean and dry as possible, it will last longer and look better. When caring for your fence, be sure to:
- Wipe off moss and mildew spots. The Pacific Northwest is known for its rainy climate, which can lead to moss and mold growth on exterior structures. Stains and water-resistant finishes can help reduce growth, but you should still wipe off spots as they appear in order to prevent moss and mildew from spreading quickly.
- Use sprinklers sparingly against the fence. If you do use a sprinkler for plants and grass, point it away from the fence to keep unnecessary water from soaking the wood.
- Pressure wash on low pressure. Occasionally, a fence might need a good thorough wash. Use a low setting on a pressure washer to remove debris and mold growth, never resorting to higher power, as this can damage the wood. After pressure washing, the fence will need a new coat of sealer or oil-based exterior paint.
If you have a yard with plenty of vegetation and bushes, try and trim them back so they don’t rub directly against the fence. Don’t allow dead leaves to collect against the pickets in autumn, as leaves trap moisture and can cause the wood to rot.
Treat Your Fence for Pests
Cedar wood and pressure-treated pine or fir will resist insects naturally. However, over time, your wood fencing (especially untreated pickets) can still fall prey to more aggressive insects like termites, wood wasps, or carpenter ants. Check your fence each fall for signs of insect damage, including:
- Holes from boring.
- Hollow sounds in posts or pickets when you knock on them.
- Sawdust or insect wings on the ground around the fence.
- Visible insects on the fence.
You might need to spray your fence for insects if notice that your fence is starting to become food for pests. You can prevent pest infestation by staying on top of painting and sealing your fence as needed, instead of allowing this protective coating to wear away with exposure to rain, sun, and winter weather.
Seal and Stain Your Fence
Sealing and staining or painting your fence will keep it looking new for years down the road. You know it is time to reseal or repaint your fence when you notice the paint beginning to peel or the fence itself beginning to grey in places, especially along the corners or tops of the pickets.
Sometimes, many layers of paint can make a fence peel more easily. You can avoid peeling by running a belt sander with low grit paper over the pickets before repainting. Don’t be too aggressive with sanding, however, as you want to remove and smooth the old paint without taking off a layer of wood.
Repair and Replace Your Fence
Some pickets will split, warp, or break over time. Replace these pickets with new ones. Split pickets are easier for insects to infiltrate, and warped pickets affect the overall aesthetic of your curb appeal. Some pickets can be repaired. You might fill holes or even fix broken rails with wood glue or epoxy fillers.
For more information on installing, caring for, and repairing wood fencing, contact us at Town & Country Fence.