Putting a wood fence around your yard isn’t just practical, it’s also decorative and can add value to your property. Unlike some other types of fences built of plastic or metal, though, wood fences can require a lot of maintenance. Wood is a sturdy material, but it is highly susceptible to the elements of the outdoors. If you do nothing to take care of your fence, it could just be a few years before it starts to rot away. A well-maintained wood fence, on the other hand, can last fifteen years or longer. Learn how to take good care of your fence if you want it to last.
Tips for Building the Fence
If you really want a solid wood fence that will be around for years to come, you need to build it with those properties in mind. The kind of wood you use to build it is just one factor that will determine its life span. Cedar and redwood, for example, are both highly resistant to decay and rot, and are good at keeping bugs away too. They’re also light and practically waterproof. Some other types of wood, like Douglas fir, might be structurally stronger, but cedar and redwood are perfect for above-ground fences.
As you’re preparing to build the fence, you should also buy pressure-treated wood for use as the posts of the fence. The posts are at greater risk of damage from bugs and moisture because they’re underground, but using wood that’s pressure-treated will keep them safe and in good condition. If you’d like you can build the entire fence out of pressure-treated wood, but this will raise the cost of the fence significantly.
Tips for Maintaining the Fence
After you’ve built the fence, don’t stand idly by thinking that it will stay in good shape on its own. Consider the following maintenance tips to keep your fence going strong:
- Apply a wood preservative. It’s a good idea to use a sealant or wood preservative on your fence at least once a year to protect it from the elements. A good preservative will prevent the fence from splitting or warping, and repel water effectively too. If your entire fence is made from pressure-treated wood, you don’t have to worry about applying a preservative as it already contains rot-resistant chemicals.
- Keep sprinklers away from your fence. Install and program sprinklers to water away from your fence. If you have a lot of water from your sprinklers hitting your fence over and over again every day, it’s going to decompose much faster. If there’s no way to avoid having your sprinklers hit your fence, make sure to apply a sealant even more frequently.
- Trim any shrubs, trees, and vines near the fence. The more weight that’s pressed on top of or against the fence, the quicker it will crack or break. Cut low hanging branches off from nearby trees so they don’t sit on the fence, and trim plants near the fence so they don’t add moisture to the fence and make it rot faster.
- Yearly inspection. Be sure to give your fence a full inspection at least once a year to check for broken or rotting areas. The sooner you repair areas that are starting to look damaged, the more money you will save and the longer the fence will last.
The key to making your fence last is vigilance. Pay attention to how it looks and take action quickly if you notice anything wrong. Remember that the better the materials you use to build it and the higher the quality of the installation, the longer it will be around to enjoy. And don’t hesitate to contact professionals, if you have any bigger issues or questions that you need help with.