How do you maintain a wooden fence?

wood fence

Do I need to seal my wood fence?

There are some neighborhoods where a chain link fence is the norm, and some neighborhoods, that aren’t really a neighborhood, no fencing is the norm. Then there are those areas, where wood fencing is the standard, and with that comes wood fence maintenance. Right away, you can see that chain link, or no fencing are more carefree, but there is something to be said about wood fence options, starting with privacy. 

Typically, in most installations, fence wood is pressure treated, meaning the wood was treated with a chemical-based solution being infused deep into the wood inside a large chamber, and then pressurizing it. The purpose of this process is to extend the lifespan of the wood once it is installed as a fence and minimize the need for wood fence maintenance. 

The weather during Texas summers can be full of sunshine, aka, blistering hot UV rays, and moisture, aka, hail, and rainstorms. Humans are advised to cautious and take preventive measures to avoid sunburns, keeping your skin healthy. This theory applies to many other things, like wood fence boards, and if they need to be protected by sealing and staining them. 

If and when to seal or stain a wood fence will depend on the type of wood. A pine wood fence is usually pressure-treated, and this provides infestation protection and makes it rot-resistant. However, if it gets very wet, and it will here in Texas storms, it will warp after it dries in the Texas sun. So, yes, pine wood fence will require some wood fence maintenance. 

So, do you seal and stain it the day it is installed? Absolutely not!  A pressure treated fence is moist from all the chemicals used to make it pressure treated. This will prevent sealant and stain from being penetrated. 

The rule of thumb for sealing and staining a wood fence is to wait at least four weeks before doing the sealing and staining.  This allows time for the chemicals to dry  and the moisture will decrease in that timeframe. It doesn’t hurt to wait as long as six weeks, but you don’t want to wait much longer, or the fence could start looking weathered, making wood fence maintenance more work. 

Should a wooden fence touch the ground?

When installing a wood fence without concrete, it should be two inches from the ground minimum. The wood post and if you’re installing rot boards, are the only parts of a wood fence that should touch the ground. With a two inch minimum, wood fence maintenance will be minimized. 

How do I keep my wooden fence from rotting on the bottom?

When it comes a wood fence, the worst enemy it can have is rot, affecting the aesthetics and compromising the rigidity and strength.  However, the following are ways that rot can be prevented with your wooden fence: 

  1. Dry Rot, Wet Rot: To combat rot, you have to understand the types of rot: dry rot and wet rot. Wet rot is caused by regular moisture contacting the wood, usually along the bottom where it may be touching the ground. You can easily identify wet rot by the cracking and softening of the wood along with a musty odor and fungus growing. Dry rot happens from continuous exposure to dry, harsh environments. This is typically caused by the sun UV rays and hot winds that will literally dry the wood out and remove the protective oils in the wood.  When wood is brittle and dry, it breaks and crumbles easily and will have a musty odor from the decaying process. 
  2. Consider the Fencing Materials: When choosing what wood to use for your fence, choose one that is rot-resistant and hardy like cedar, cypress, juniper, or redwood.  Choose the treated option and you’ll minimize the need for a lot of wood fence maintenance tasks. 
  3. Stain as Necessary: After the initial four to six-week waiting period to seal and stain your new wood fence, you need to make a routine of regularly staining it if you want to keep possible rot away, this is essential wood fence maintenance if you want a long lifespan for your fence.  The standard recommendation for staining a wooden fence is once every twelve months, but depending on environmental factors like the rainfall, soil conditions, and temperature averages, you may need to stain your fence twice a year. 
  4.  Keep Debris Clear: When debris like wet grass and leaves are allowed to build-up along the fence line, it will speed up rotting. Positioning a garden up against the fence can cause a wood fence to rot faster. Keep all foliage and grime away from your fence line as a part of your regular wood fence maintenance. 
  5. Replace Rot Promptly: As soon as you see any rot appear in your wood fence, replace the section immediately. Rot will spread and if you leave that one rot-affected board, it will spread to the rest of the fence faster than you may think. 

How many years does a wood fence last?

On the average, you can expect your wood fence to give you 15 years of beauty, privacy, and protection.  With a high level of wood fence maintenance, you can expect up to 20 years. 

stained fence

Can I stain my side of the fence?

This is a common question and has probably caused several neighborhood battles. If possible, for the sake of the wood fence lifespan, both sides of the fence should agree on sealing and staining the fence at the same time. Unfortunately, if one side doesn’t want to, there isn’t much you can do about it except keep your wood fence maintenance up to speed. 

A wood fence can give you plenty of privacy, and with proper wood fence maintenance, it can give you that privacy for many years. If you’re going to the expense of having a wood fence installed, taking the time for maintenance is an investment to protecting that fence. Call 817-948-4503 today for your wood fence needs in Crowley and Fort Worth, TX.