Your fence provides privacy, security and enhances your property’s aesthetic appeal. Proper maintenance can help extend its lifespan & minimize costly repairs.
Regular cleaning removes dirt buildup, grime and mildew growth from your wooden fence. A hose or power washer with oxygenated bleach works best. Make sure you clear any plants growing too close to the fence, as they can exert pressure that could cause rot or warping.
Clean it Regularly
The primary function of a fence is to provide security and privacy, but the way it looks also contributes to the overall appeal of your property. Dirty fences quickly lose their curb appeal and can also become breeding grounds for mold and mildew. It’s important to clean your fence regularly to prevent these unsightly growths as well as to extend its lifespan.
To clean your fence properly, it’s important to start by giving it a thorough rinse with a garden hose. This will open the wood grain and remove any clumps of dirt. Then, use a mild detergent or cleaning solution that’s safe for wood. A scrub brush may help with any particularly stubborn stains. It’s also a good idea to work in small sections, rinsing frequently. If your fence is prone to mildew, try using oxygen bleach instead of traditional cleaning products. Just make sure to wear rubber gloves and long sleeves, as oxidation bleach can be corrosive to skin.
After scrubbing, rinse the fence with clean water until all soap and cleaner are removed. Lastly, let the fence dry completely before applying any stain or protective sealant. It’s also a good idea at this time to trim any plants, shrubs or trees growing near your fence. Overgrown vegetation can rub against your fence and cause scratches, or may become a breeding ground for insects.
Staining, painting or sealing your fence will not only enhance its appearance but will also protect it from damage. When choosing a stain, look for one that’s designed specifically for wood. A transparent stain will allow the natural beauty of the wood to shine through and will also serve as a moisture barrier. If you choose to paint your fence, opt for an oil-based paint that’s formulated to resist UV damage. It’s a good idea to re-stain your fence every three years or so.
Inspect it Regularly
The key to extending the life of your fence is catching problems and conducting routine inspections. These inspections should involve walking the entire length of your fence, looking for signs of damage or wear, such as loose boards or sagging sections. This will also help you identify any sections that may need additional maintenance or repairs. If you find any issues, it is important to address them promptly to prevent them from getting worse.
Begin by clearing away any trash that has collected at the foot of your fence. Accumulation of trash accelerates rot and soil shifting, which can lead to weak or damaged posts. In addition, if you have any bushes or plants growing near your fence, make sure to trim them regularly. The roots of these plants can cause rotting or warping of your fence and the branches can scratch protective coatings.
It is also important to look for any rusting on the metal components of your fence. If you notice any rusting, call your fencing expert right away as it can be a safety hazard. Rust can cause the wire to break, resulting in a dangerous short circuit and loss of power.
Next, inspect the pickets of your fence to ensure that none are missing or showing any signs of rot. You will want to check that the nails holding them in place are secure and hammer in any that have come loose. If any of the pickets are rotted or missing, it is time to replace them.
Finally, be sure to inspect the connections cables (called HT Cables) that run from the energizer to your fence or from one section of your fence to another. These are prone to rusting and must be replaced as soon as they break as they represent a serious safety hazard and can cause a dangerous short-circuit.
Lastly, you will need to clean your fence every two to three years. This will include cleaning the wood from dirt buildup, pool or lawn chemicals residue and mildew. Afterwards, you should consider staining the fence with a waterproofing product that will also protect against UV rays.
Repair Damaged Sections
Whether your fence has been damaged by someone cutting through it, the weather or a family of critters, it’s important to repair any sections that are compromised. This is especially true if the damage threatens the structural integrity of the fence. Leaving even small amounts of damage unrepaired can compromise the overall strength of your fence and potentially lead to it collapsing.
Fence repair isn’t as complicated as it might seem. With the right tools and materials, you can fix most types of fence damage in a matter of minutes. However, if your fence has a more complicated design it will take a bit more work since you might have to buy specialty parts or custom-made components in order to make the necessary repairs.
The most common type of fence damage is a loose or broken board. If a board becomes detached from the post, it needs to be replaced as soon as possible to prevent further deterioration of both the fence and your property. Loose or broken boards can also be a safety hazard if they fall on or into your garden or yard, so it’s crucial that you take steps to repair them as soon as possible.
A loose or broken board can usually be easily repaired by using a hammer or chisel to remove the old screw and railing from the post and then replacing them with new ones. It’s a good idea to use galvanized screws to ensure that they will hold up well over time.
If your fence is made of wood, you should stain or paint it regularly to protect against sun damage and water damage. A good quality wood preservative will help to keep your fence looking great for years to come. You should re-stain your fence every 2 or 3 years depending on the amount of sunlight and rain it gets, and your personal preference.
Chain link fences are actually quite simple to repair, although they can be somewhat time consuming since they’re made of interwoven metal wire that’s hooked together. If you have a section of the fence that’s been damaged by either someone cutting through it or the weather, you can easily fix this by using linesman’s pliers to straighten out the hooked end of the fabric and untwisting the same portion at the bottom of the fence.
Replace Broken or Rotten Boards
When a section of your fence becomes twisted, bent or rotting, it’s time to replace it. This is a sign of structural weakness that can quickly cause the entire fence to fall over, particularly if large objects are regularly leaning against it. To prevent this, examine your wooden fence regularly and repair or replace sections as soon as they become damaged.
Start by examining the entire length of your fence for damage or rot. Look for sections that are broken, twisted or leaning and check for signs of insect infestation. Look at the base of your posts as well to see if they are rotting, and note any areas where the fence wobbles or seems unstable.
If you notice any rotting or warped boards, start by measuring them to determine their exact size so that you can find replacement pickets. You may be able to find boards that match your old pickets at your local hardware store or lumber yard. If not, you can use a circular saw to cut pieces of 2×4 to the same size as your existing pickets, and then nail them into place with nails or screws. Be sure to saturate any replacement wood with a water-repellent stain or preservative, and caulk the joints between them to keep out moisture.
It’s also a good idea to paint your fence with petroleum-based stain every couple of years to protect it from rain, sun and UV rays. This will help to prolong its lifespan and enhance its appearance as well.
Regularly trimming vegetation is another way to ensure that your fence stays healthy. If plants are allowed to grow too close to your fence, their branches can scratch and dent it, and their roots can push or pull against the posts, causing them to twist or bend. To prevent this, trim any plants growing too close to your fence to within a few feet of its base. Then, be sure to use a power washer or detergent solution to clean the surface and remove any dirt buildup, mildew or fungus that has formed.