If you’re thinking about getting a wood fence for your home, you’ll be happy to know that they’re not only beautiful, but they can also add an extra layer of security. Typically, wood fences can last around 15 years, but with some simple maintenance, you can make them last even longer – like up to 20 years or more!
Before you get started on building your fence, you’ll want to think about a few things. Firstly, you should consider the type of wood you want to use. Cedar and redwood are popular choices because they resist decay and rot, but there are other types of wood available too. If you live in Hickory, cedar is probably your best bet because of the weather.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the fence posts should always be pressure-treated. This will prevent the wood from rotting too quickly due to exposure to moisture and insects. However, the pickets (the vertical boards) don’t need to be pressure-treated since they’re not in contact with the ground.
Be Patient Before Restaining
Lastly, it’s important to wait about a year before staining or painting a new wood fence. This will give the wood and the chemicals used for pressure treatment time to dry out. If you try to stain or paint the fence before it’s dry, you’ll just trap moisture inside, which can cause rot and decay. Pressure-treated wood is protected from termites and fungal decay, but it can still swell, shrink, crack, and warp. So, it’s a good idea to perform some basic maintenance on your fence every two to three years.
Yearly Fence Checks
To keep your fence in tip-top shape, take a stroll around your yard once a year and check for any signs of damage or rot. If you notice any broken boards or loose nails, fix them right away. Make sure that each section of the fence is securely attached to the next one and that any leaning sections have properly seated posts. Check the hinges and locks on your gates and lubricate them with automotive grease if needed.
If you find any splits, cracks, or chips in the wood, use a waterproof wood glue to seal the damage. This will prevent moisture from causing further deterioration. Since pressure-treated lumber isn’t completely resistant to water, take steps to minimize its exposure to moisture. Adjust your sprinklers so they don’t wet the fence, trim back any bushes or vines that are hanging on the fence, and make sure the area around the fence has proper drainage.
Every two to three years, it’s a good idea to give your fence a thorough cleaning to remove dirt, moss, mildew, and graying. Then, coat it with a UV inhibiting, water-repellent coating. If you notice mold on the fence, mix a solution of 20% bleach and 80% mild detergent, spray it on the fence an hour before washing, and it will kill any mold spores and prevent them from growing back.
Finally, you should reapply paint or stain every three to five years (or sooner if needed). Choose an exterior oil-based stain or latex paint to seal out moisture and prevent wood rot. Pick a stain or sealant with a UV inhibitor to keep the wood from turning gray. Let the wood dry for about a week before applying a stain or sealant, and use a brush or power sprayer with a thinner tip designed for stain.