How to Protect Your Wood Fence From the Elements

Wooden fencing can be a great addition to your property; it adds curb appeal and protects privacy while clearly defining your property lines. Before you have a wood fence installed, though, there are some basic things you should know—specifically in terms of protecting your fence from the elements and keeping it looking great for years to come.

Invest in a High-Quality Fence

The first important thing to know is that not all wooden fences are created equal. Spending a little more money on a quality wood fence up-front will save you from having to pay for costly repairs or a premature replacement due to poor quality.

For example, Western Red Cedar is a great fencing material to consider because it is naturally resistant to wood rot. Other types of wood that are more susceptible to wood rot would likely require more repairs in comparison. Whatever type of fencing material you end up choosing, make sure that your fencing specialist is using pressure-treated wood. This will provide necessary extra protection against:

  • dry rot
  • wet rot
  • water damage
  • bugs/pests

In addition to choosing quality wood, make sure the fence’s supporting materials are made to last. For example, fence posts should be made of at least 13-gauge metal.

Make Sure You Know Your City’s Fencing Regulations

Every state has its own fencing regulations to ensure that fences built for the homes there can survive the environment, stand up to the elements, and maintain aesthetics. It’s important that both you and your fencing contractor are aware of these regulations so that your fence can be designed with them in mind.

Specifically, consider limits on the height of your fence, the type of material you can use, and how far your fence posts will need to go into the ground. In regions that see a lot of precipitation, it is not uncommon for regulations to require rust-resistant posts to protect against corrosion, decay, and other damage.

Keep Plants Away From Your Fence

It is a common practice for property owners to place bushes and flowers along fence lines to add to the beauty of a new wood fence. However, plants can also introduce and trap moisture around the fence, which could result in wood rot.

With this in mind, if you have plans to put plants along your fence, make sure that they are trimmed back so that the plants are not touching the fence itself. You can also place a tarp between the fence and the plants to create a moisture barrier of sorts; simply mask the tarp by placing some soil on top.

Clean Your Fence Regularly

Regular fence maintenance will keep your wood fence looking its best. At least once a year, have your fence power washed with a PSI of 1,500 to 2,000. Ideally, the power washer should have 15-25 degree spray tips to ensure a thorough clean.

If you are power washing your own fence, be sure to stand at least 18 inches away from the fence and wear protective gear (gloves, pants, long sleeves, etc.), as debris can spray off the wood with a lot of force.

Seal or Stain the Fence

One of the best things you can do to protect your fence from the elements is to keep it sealed and stained. A quality stain will help to extend the life of a wood fence, though a water-repellent sealant works just as well and can be applied over bare wood or painted wood. Whatever you use, keep in mind that fences generally need to be re-stained or sealed every two or three years.

Regularly Examine Your Fence

Take time to inspect your fence for damage at least once a month. Be on the lookout for cracks, unusual marks or spots on the wood, and leaning sections of fencing. By catching small issues early on, you can have them repaired before they turn into larger and more expensive problems.

Keep Fence Decorations to a Minimum

As much as you may want to hang plants, lights, or other decorations from your new fence, it’s generally best from a maintenance perspective to keep decorations to a minimum. Too much weight can leave your fence prone to damage because it can put too much of a strain on the boards themselves. 

If you decide to hang some decorations off of your fence, stick to lightweight options and leave plenty of open space to avoid trapping moisture.

Get a Yearly Inspection From a Fencing Professional

In addition to performing your own regular inspections, it’s a good idea to schedule a professional fencing inspection. A professional can catch problems that you may not be able to spot yourself.

Looking for a local fencing professional that you can trust with your inspections and repairs? A&O Texas Solutions is here to help. Contact us today to find out more about our many residential and commercial fencing solutions available or to schedule your appointment!