Many people might think twice before constructing something made of wood because it can deteriorate, but there are ways to prepare your wooden fence for the long haul. If you are careful and thoughtful enough about how you’re maintaining the structure, you can keep your fence sturdy. Read on to discover a few ways to make your wooden fence last longer so you can get the most out of it.
Clean It Every 3–5 Years
Make it a habit to strip your wood fence down every 3 to 5 years so you can reseal it. Take this time to clean off the fence, cut away any unwanted vining plants, and wash, sand, or scrape off any deposits. The look and level of protection you’re going with will determine the type of seal you choose to use for every application.
Once you’ve cleaned the fence, you can determine how you want to replenish its appearance. You might want a new stain or a new paint color. In most cases, people use the same thing they used before to maintain consistency in the look of their fence as it ages. If you’re using a stain, use it as it is or put a clear coat over it for even more protection.
The idea is that the color alone should be enough of a finish to seal the wood and protect it. However, some pre-blended paints include the primer and finish all in one, so you have a range of options when it comes to deciding how you’ll update the appearance of your fence.
Reseal It Regularly
If you’re using paint, you’ll want to make sure you have multiple layers on your wood, or it will chip and flake away in a shorter period than it would if you have layers built up. When resealing, it’s not just about the top finishing layers but all layers combined.
Latex-based paints work exceptionally well because they are weather-resistant and grip well on the wood, so you know that they will be long-lasting. Make sure you’re doing this regularly so that you’re building on those layers as they thin out and patch where necessary. This will keep your fence looking fantastic year after year.
You can also use a clear polyurethane sealant to help simple paints hold up to the elements. Many of these sealants defend the wood from UV exposure as well.
Build With Metal Posts
You can be sure of one thing: if you’re planning on building a wooden fence and anchoring it down with metal posts, it will last for much longer than it would with wooden posts. Even if you opt to use treated lumber, these posts may not stand the test of time like older treated wood may have. You’ll need to check for watermarks that could lead to potential rot every few years. Once the rot sets in, you’ll notice your fence giving in and leaning, and you’ll need to replace your posts, which could be quite expensive.
With certain metals, like stainless steel or aluminum, there will be minimal rusting. You can finish the metal posts with paint or metal finish to keep them up for decades.
Add Rot Boards
One of the most important things you should consider if you intend to build a wooden fence is installing a rot board all the way across the bottom end of the fence with hardwood fasteners. The purpose behind this board is to absorb most of the moisture from the rain, morning dew, or high humidity days. The rot board will prevent the lower half of the fence from rotting as quickly. When the rot boards deteriorate, replace them, and your primary structure will stay intact.
Inspect and Repair
It’s essential to make a routine of inspecting and repairing your wooden fence annually. However, you should check daily if you truly want to keep things up to speed. You’ll want to look for things like rot on your pickets and posts. If you find concerning signs of rot, it’s crucial to replace the affected pieces as soon as possible.
You can also use your routine inspections as an opportunity to check the security of your fence’s hardware. Or, if you’ve used nails and notice them sticking out, either hammer them back in or remove them and replace them.
The next thing you’ll want to do is free your yard of any debris that may be in the way of your fence construction project. Once you have the fence up, it will be up to you to maintain the area so that you don’t have anything growing over or under your fence.
If you have something growing overhead, it could drop limbs on top of your fence, which would diminish the integrity of the wood. Plants or structures could also lean against or on top of the structure, weakening it over time and rotting it out.
If you have things growing from the bottom, you’ll also need to regularly trim down the growth so that you don’t have things growing into your fence and taking it over. If possible, take measures to prevent excessive growth when planning on putting up your fence. Otherwise, you’ll be pruning and trimming constantly.
Coordinate With a Neighbor
One of the best things you can do when trying to get your fence to hold the test of time is to communicate your plans with your neighbor. Note that your properties may share a border, and you should always be mindful of one another.
If you’re planning on building a fence that might connect properties, let them know so that they can prepare in advance. You might also ask them not to plant anything next to your fence and keep it from debris and water as much as possible. While your fence is not your neighbor’s responsibility, they may be willing to help you maintain it on their side or at least communicate with you when they see opportunities for repair.
There are tons of ways of making a wooden fence last longer—you’ve just got to be creative and committed. Fences are essential to any farm or property, and while wooden fences take more work than some others, the aesthetic they bring to the table is hard to beat.
As you can see, there are many things you must do to ensure your wooden fence lasts much longer. While more time is involved, it will be worth the time invested in making sure your fence remains sturdy for years to come. At Cat’s Claw Fasteners, we have high-quality products for your fencing projects so be sure to visit our shop and contact us.