The classic wooden fence is a versatile addition to almost any home. According to Bayou City Lumber, a company that has house pilings, with uses ranging from privacy to curb appeal, wooden fences are functional, long-lasting, and beautiful. Making sure they stay that way is where many homeowners get tripped up, but with a little care, worrying about protecting the beauty and longevity of your wooden fence can be a thing of the past. Basic care for wooden fences of all types can be broken down into three main elements: cleaning, protecting, and maintenance.
Cleaning Your Wooden Fence
Fences put up with a lot of punishment from the elements. Dirt and grime builds up in cracks and along the edges, water can soak through crevices, and the sun’s UV rays beat down all day long. One of the best ways to mitigate long-term damage from the elements is with regular cleanings using specially formulated fence or deck cleaner.
Danny Lipford, from the syndicated TV show “Today’s Homeowner”, recommends scrubbing the fence with either a long-handled scrub brush or with a pressure washer. When using a pressure washer, it is important to keep in mind that high pressures can damage wood, so use a pressure washer rated at 2,700 PSI or less, with a wide angle tip. Also, remember to keep the wand 12″ to 18″ away from the surface of the fence, and use constant, even movements of the wand to clean the fence.
Prtecting Your Wooden Fence
Simply cleaning your wooden fence isn’t always enough. According to Bayou City Lumber: Houston’s Lumber Yard, those same elements that punish your fence on a daily basis will continue to do so even after cleaning, unless you take steps to protect your fence. Sealing, staining, and painting are all great methods of protecting your fence, and they can often be used in concert for even greater protection.
Sealing your fence can be as easy as applying a water-repellent preservative and sealant, which can usually be found for under $20 per gallon at your local home improvement store. Many sealants also offer protection against the sun’s UV rays as well.
Staining or painting your wooden fence is another protective option to consider. According to HGTV, many exterior wood stains pull double duty these days as a sealant and can often be color-coordinated with the exterior of the home.
Maintaining Your Wooden Fence
Just as preventative maintenance can help your car run smoothly, preventative maintenance can help your wooden fence stay beautiful all year long. The trick is coming up with a schedule and sticking to it.
Most experts recommend cleaning and staining or sealing your fence every two to three years, depending on your climate, but HGTV recommends an easier method to figure out if your fence needs to be resealed. If water doesn’t bead up on the surface of the fence anymore, it’s time to re-seal.
Additionally, check regularly to make sure that branches, vines, and bushes aren’t leaning on your fence, and that soil isn’t collecting around fence posts or along the bottom-most fence panel. Branches, vines, and bushes add weight which can pull your fence right off its hinges, and soil allows moisture to collect and accelerate decay.
Lastly, periodically check all of your fence’s hardware, such as fasteners, hinges, and latches, tightening and replacing as necessary.
Whether you are using your wooden fence to keep pets in, keep neighbors out, or beautify your home, caring for and maintaining your fence will help extend its beauty and longevity.