There are so many kinds of quality fencing available for your home, but few provide a rustic, homey appearance like natural wood. With the proper fence care, your spruce, pine or cedar wood can last for many years. As a dedicated homeowner, you will need to provide consistent maintenance for your wood system, typically every 2-4 years depending on the coating that you choose.
Today, we’ll walk through the various maintenance tasks required to preserve wood fencing. We’ll also compare the benefits of paint vs staining, plus how you can protect your fence from common threats. With this information, you should be able to avoid the common pitfalls that other homeowners often suffer from.
Fence Line Maintenance
There are three primary points of care when it comes to preserving a wooden fence: wood health and fence integrity. There are several chemical, biological, and kinetic forces that can damage wood. These include (but are not limited to)…
- Carpenter Ants
- Wood Rot
- Ultraviolet Light
Then there are hazards that can damage the entire fence structure, such as severe winds, excessive weight and tree roots. As you examine the steps necessary for your fence’s care, these are the challenges to be overcome. It’s sometimes daunting work, but there’s a right way to go about it.
How Do You Maintain a Fence?
First of all, it’s worth noting that some materials are much more resilient against wood rot and insect damage. Pressure treated wood is one such material. It’s considerably easier to maintain than untreated materials, and it lasts up to 40 years (depending on your choose of wood)! Some natural wood materials, such as cedar, are also remarkably stronger against these hazards.
Assuming your wood has already been chosen, the next step in fence care is cleaning. When cleaning dirtied wooden fencing, most homeowners prefer power washers for their quick and potent results. If you choose to use a power washer, set psi level to 1500 to 2000 and use a 25 degree spray tip. You should be able to clean both sides of the fence with relative ease, but make sure to hold the spray nozzle at least 18in away from the wood to avoid damaging it.
After the fence has been cleaned and allowed to dry, the next step is to apply your sealant, paint or stain, which we’ll talk about in a bit.
How Do I Protect My Wooden Fence?
One of the most aggravating challenges to deal with is an invasive tree. Not only do their branches place a heavier weight on the top of your fence line, a tree’s roots can also push against supporting posts and cause an unsightly fence lean. If you’re worried about a nearby tree damaging your beautiful fencing, consider getting a professional tree assessment.
There’s also the matter of extreme wind to contend with. The best way to protect your fence against this threat to ensure your fence line has sufficient supports. That includes the cement blocks you have surrounding the posts, and the any secondary reinforcing beams. The blocks effectively anchor your entire fence, while the beams provide additional sectional stability. Another great way to support your fence is to install bracers beneath the cross rails.
How Many Years Does a Wood Fence Last?
That depends on the material used for the fence and maintenance routine. As we mentioned earlier, pressure treated wood lasts considerably longer than natural alternatives. It’s more expensive obviously, but pressure treated cedar can last as long as 40 years. On the other hand, pine and spruce wood have far shorter life cycle. Even with proper fence care, untreated spruce’s lifespan could be as short as 6 years.
Paint vs Staining
Untreated wood is vulnerable to insect damage and natural wood rot. Ultraviolet light from the sun is just as harsh on the wood. The most common solution is to either paint or stain the wood. Both options provide a measure of protection for your wooden fence. Paint allows you to add vibrant colors to your fencing, but it also tends to show it’s wear faster. On the other hand, stains (especially clear and semitransparent products) utilize woods natural texture to create a more rustic appearance.
Paint products tend to be less expensive for fencing, but they also require more work to apply. Cracking and color fading are common issues to contend with. As for stains, they sink deeper into the wood, instead of sitting on the surface. Very little preparation is needed before staining.
Common Staining Care Questions
- Which types of staining last the longest?
- How much stain do I need for my fence?
- How long should a fence dry before staining?
Solid color stains are the longest lasting, enduring for around 3 years on average. Each can of staining typically lists the coverage area in square feet, which you’ll need to compare against the total area of fencing to be treated. After power washing the fence, let it dry for 24 hours before applying your stain. If the weather makes things too humid to start, let the fence dry another day.
Schedule Your Residential Fence Care!
For additional fence maintenance tips, talk with our professionals at Ware Fencing! If you’d like professional help installing or repairing a residential fence in Crowley and Fort Worth, TX, give our team a call at 817-948-4503. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.