How to Protect Your Wood Fence

Wood Fence

So you’ve opted for a wooden fence and it’s been installed and looks fantastic. Now the secret is to take steps to ensure that it continues to look great, and lasts a very long time.

When you consider how to protect your wood fence, you need to devise a maintenance plan that takes all the features of the fence into account. These include:

  • Wooden FenceThe type of lumber the fence is made from
  • The design of the fence
  • The finish of the fence and whether it has been stained and/or sealed or painted
  • Other elements of the adjacent area, including plants

Protecting Different Types of Wood

Different materials are used for wood fencing, primarily the type of wood or related material. For instance there is a choice of lumber including softwoods, some of which are naturally rot resistant, like redwood and cedar, or hardwoods, much of which is imported from tropical climes. Alternatively plywood or hardboard might have been used for panels.

In general terms, the type of lumber or wood chosen will have determined the way it was treated when the fence was constructed and installed. So when you consider how to protect your wood fence, you will need to take all of this into account.

Design of Wood Fences

The possibilities for wood fencing are immense, depending on the reason for fencing, the look required, and the budget available to construct the fence. For instance:

  • Split rails are easy to build, economical on the pocket, and they look rugged and informal. Treated lumber is normally used and the wood is often left to weather naturally. Maintenance then focuses on structure and wear and tear.
  • Picket fences are more intricate in terms of design and take more care to complete. While design may incorporate pickets that are spaced or positioned closely together, with tops that are shaped or plain, maintenance (and therefore protection) will depend largely on the finish chosen. Weathered wood, painted pickets, and picket fences that are stained and/or sealed are all within the realm of this basic design.
  • Board fences may be created using the full range of available materials, and this, coupled with design, will determine what is required to maintain the fencing, and keep it looking good for as long as possible. Solid hardboard or plywood panels are often incorporated in board fences.
  • Lattice is another design possibility, and one that is often chosen to accommodate climbing plants. This can be a challenge in terms of working out how to protect your wood fence, because you don’t want to remove plants just to restore the surface protection originally given to the wood. For this reason it is essential to consider protective coatings carefully when the fence is constructed or installed.

Fence Finish

One of the most important factors to consider when it comes to how to protect your wood fence is the coating (if any) you are going to give it. Your decision will directly affect the maintenance needs of the fence in future.

While some woods (and this includes both softwoods like redwood and most hardwoods) may be left to weather naturally so that they turn a gentle shade of brown-grey. Others, including pine, usually benefit from staining and/or sealing.

Painting wood fences can introduce an element of sophistication and charm, but if there is any evidence of peeling or flaking over time, it’s important to take immediate action. If you don’t, you will inevitably end up having to strip and repaint the entire fence.

Other elements

The actual structure of the fence – whether it’s been constructed using concrete footings or simply with upright posts or poles embedded in the ground – as well as adjacent areas like flower beds must also be taken into account when you consider how to protect your wood fence long term. For instance, if you do decide to plant right next to your wood fence, you are going to have to ensure the plants grown – which means you will need to water them constantly. This could have a negative impact on the fence unless you have protected parts of the fence below the ground with something like bitumen.

Whether you are planning a new wood fence or have serious maintenance issues, if you live in Georgia, the pros at FenceWorks can’t wait to give you a hand.