By David Wilfong
What are some of the most important things to remember in caring for wooden fences?
As one of the most popular materials out there for fencing, wood is a beautiful, functional product that’s been used on fences and boundary markers for centuries. It offers many visual benefits that simply aren’t achievable with other materials – and it also comes with some additional care needs that you’ll want to keep in mind to maximize its function and aesthetics. At United Fence Co., we can help with any and all questions you have about wood fence products and their installations. Our pros will also lend their expertise to help you understand how caring for a wood fence differs from certain other types like vinyl or chain link – here are a few of the important factors to consider here.
For starters, you should only purchase wood fencing materials, particularly for posts and in-ground materials, made from pressure treated wood. Th is describes a chemical process that forces preservatives directly into the wood – it’s placed in a cylinder, then pressure is applied to add these preservatives, which will protect the wood from both fungal decay and attack from termites or any other possible insect invaders.
This is particularly important if you’ll be installing new posts as part of the fence. Th is wood goes directly into the ground, where it’s exposed to even more risks than wood that sits above the ground. Areas like rot, insect invasion and moisture-related decay may all take place if the wood is not properly treated first, and this will directly impact the quality and lifespan of the fence. While pickets don’t necessarily need to be pressure-treated, post wood absolutely does.
The primary risk to wood fencing materials is the invasion of moisture, which can leak into wood and may cause it to sag, lean, rot or otherwise wear down much faster than normal. And while it’s not possible to stop moisture from contacting your fence, of course, it’s possible to protect it.
The primary tool at your disposal here is a water repellent sealant, which we can recommend for you if needed and can be purchased at any home improvement store. This product will create a strong barrier between moisture and other elements and your wood, blocking them from the kind of warping and splitting that can take place if they’re exposed to water for too often. Do note, though, that in most cases, pressure-treated wood does not need to be additionally sealed, as the pressure treatment does the job itself.
A couple other tactics to limit the exposure of moisture and resulting issues with your wood fence:
Keep sprinklers away from the fence where possible – they will increase the speed of wood rotting.
Keep vines and bushes, which will prevent wood from drying naturally and will instead retain moisture, off the fence whenever you can.