Wood is by far one of the most common fencing materials on the planet. There’s a good reason for this; it’s super durable and has an appearance that can’t be beaten by any other material. However, wood will only remain durable as long as you take good care of it.
When improperly cared for, wood will begin to deteriorate, turning rotten and becoming incredibly weak. Eventually, the only option you’ll have is to replace it.
Also keep in mind, however, that wooden fences will need to be replaced at some point but you can ensure that yours lasts for as long as possible using the tips we’ll discuss in this article.
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Why Choose A Wooden Fence?
There are so many reasons that wood fencing is one of the most popular options for domestic properties. For starters, it’s one of the best materials for creating privacy because of how solid it is. While metal fencing is very strong, the bars leave a direct view into your garden and that’s not what you want when you’re relaxing with your family.
What’s more, wooden fences offer great security, again because of their solid structure. If you use wooden fences with vertical boards, this makes them even more difficult to climb and is an instant deterrent to potential intruders.
Another great thing about wooden fencing is the number of choices in terms of style. On top of this, wood can be painted or stained to almost any colour you can imagine which allows you to put a more personal touch to your garden.
Wooden fences are ideal for dividing up the garden. For example, you could create an enclosed dining area or somewhere for the kids to play. You might even use shorter wooden fences to enclose storage boxes or your wheelie bin. They’re certainly much more versatile than just a border.
In terms of maintenance, wooden fences do require a degree of work but it’s certainly not difficult. If you want something that’ll stand the test of time without having to over exert yourself then wood is a material worth considering.
Ways To Extend The Life Of Your Wooden Fence During Installation
One of the best ways that you can ensure a long life for your wood fence is to install it correctly. There’s no point in going in all guns blazing and rushing the work as that’s a surefire way to send your fence to an early grave. Here are my top tips for long lasting wooden fence installation.
Choosing The Right Fence Posts
Choosing the right fence posts can really make or break your installation and more and more people are now opting for metal.
The problem with using wooden fence posts with a wooden fence is that you’re making the entire structure more vulnerable. The fence posts are very close to the ground so they will soak up moisture and this can cause problems with insects, rot and mildew, all of which will shorten the life of the posts. If the posts are strong, neither is the fence.
You might be sold on the idea of getting pressure treated wooden fence posts but they’re not as strong as they were in days gone by. This is because manufacturers are no longer allowed to use chromated copper arsenate which is one of the chemicals that really gave these posts their durability.
If your fence posts become weak, there’s a chance of the entire thing blowing down when there’s a strong gust of wind. Instead, I’d recommend opting for metal fence posts as these will ensure a solid foundation and will last for much longer.
Using Rot Boards
Rot boards, sometimes called kickboards, are placed at the bottom of the fence and are designed to fill the gap between the fence and the ground. The main benefit of this is that any moisture is soaked up by the rot boards as opposed to the fence itself, therefore making it last longer.
Type Of Wood
When installing a wooden fence, it’s worth spending some time choosing the right type of wood. There are plenty of options out there but generally speaking, redwood or red cedar are among some of the best as they’re highly resistant to rot and decay.
Wait To Paint
Once you have installed your fence, it can be very tempting to reach for the wood stain or paint to give it a unique look. Many people also believe that they’re doing their fence a favour by painting it, and therefore protecting it, off the bat. But that isn’t the case.
In fact, you could be doing more harm than good by painting your fence within the first year. This is because the wood needs to properly dry out. If it doesn’t and you apply treatments, the only thing you’ll achieve is locking moisture in and this will eat away at the fence from the inside out.
Ways To Extend The Life Of An Existing Wooden Fence
If you’ve already installed your fence, there’s no need to rip it down and start again if you want to extend its life. There are lots of things you can do to ensure your wooden fence is well maintained.
Staining Your Wood
Once that first year is out of the way, you can start thinking about painting or staining your wooden fences. These treatments are ideal for improving the longevity of wood but are also great if you want to change up the appearance.
Even after the first year, it’s a good idea to regularly stain or paint your fence to further extend its life. Plus, you’ll be able to switch up the look every few years to keep your garden looking fresh and up to date.
Fence stains work in several ways. They protect the wood from harmful UV rays but also seal it to prevent moisture from getting in. It is important to make sure that you choose a high quality wood stain. While this may cost a little more, it will ensure that your fence gets the best protection and it’ll certainly be cheaper than replacing the whole fence. What’s more, if you buy cheap fence stains, you’ll find that they fade a lot more quickly so you’ll have to recoat the fence more often.
As a rule of thumb, you’ll need to repaint your fence between every two and four years. However, things like the quality of the paint, the weather and other environmental factors will impact this.
Give Your Fence The Once Over
If you want to make sure that your fence doesn’t fall into a state of disrepair then you’re going to need to regularly inspect it. You can make a fence inspection part of your annual garden routine. It’s a good idea to do this in spring when you’re outside getting the garden ready for summer.
Take a look for signs of damage that may be starting to show. This will give you the opportunity to fix them before they get out of hand. Things like rot, loose nails and damage to fence posts are all common problems that can be easily sorted when addressed right away.
Keep It Clean
Just like everything else on your property, your wooden fences need to be kept clean. It’s amazing how dirt can impact the longevity of wood so make sure that you schedule regular fence cleaning.
The best way to approach this is to combine cleaning and staining; clean the fence first, allow it to dry and then paint it. While this only needs to be done every couple of years, it’s best to keep an eye out for things like mould which should be cleaned as soon as you notice them. Not only do they affect the appearance of the fence, but if left unchecked, they could affect its quality.
Avoid Contact With Water, Soil And Plants
One of the best ways to ensure that a wooden fence stands the test of time is to prevent it from being in contact with moisture. This isn’t only moisture from water sources like rain but also from things that may transfer moisture like soil and plants.
Where possible, keep your fences off the soil and avoid having plants in direct contact. Moreover, when it comes to watering your plants, keep the water off the fence. If you have a sprinkler then you can set this to spray in the opposite direction to your fence.
Of course, many of us border our garden with both fences and greenery. This is OK as long as you keep plants in check and regularly trim them back so they’re not overtaking the fence.
While wood is one of the most common materials for fences on domestic properties, it won’t last a long time unless it is properly cared for. When well maintained, you’ll have a fence that will last years but it’s important that you stay on top of this.
Additionally, it’s wise to install the fence correctly using metal posts and keeping the fence off the ground with the use of rot boards.
All of these things combined will ensure that your stunning wooden fence remains a feature of your garden for a long time to come.