Three Ways To Ensure Your Wooden Fence Lasts As Long As Possible

Posted on: 26 August 2015


Having a wooden fence installed can be a pretty big investment, so it makes sense to ensure your fence lasts for as long as possible. With the proper care, you can extend the lifespan of your fence. Here are three ways to accomplish that goal.

Keep weeds, bushes, and debris away from the fence.

When you allow weeds and bushes to grow up against your fence, you trap moisture against the fence, which promotes rotting. Similarly, piled up, fallen leaves and other debris can trap moisture against your fence. Even if your fence is sealed, long-term exposure to moisture on its surface can cause mold growth.

Always keep the weeds near your fence well trimmed. You may wish to apply a weed killer to the land directly under your fence on a regular basis, as this will decrease the amount of trimming and weeding you need to do. If you plant bushes along your fence line, be sure to plant them a few feet away from the base of the fence, so they don't come into direct contact with it as they grow. Also, rake fallen leaves on a regular basis throughout the autumn, rather than waiting until the end of fall to rake once -- or worse yet -- letting them sit over winter when they can trap liquid from melting snow near your fence.

Apply a water protector or sealant.

Rain and snow can accelerate your fence's aging process. Not only do they promote rotting, but if the wood is allowed to absorb water and then it evaporates, the contraction and relaxation of the wood fibers can lead to splitting. The easiest way to protect your fence from the elements is to apply a sealant that will cause water to bead up on the fence surface rather than being absorbed into it.

You can find a fence sealer at your local home improvement store. Read the manufacturer's instructions and follow them closely. You'll need to sand the fence to remove splinters before sealing it and then apply one to two coats of the product. Many products need to be re-applied every few years.

Keep an eye out for insects.

Wood bees and carpenter ants may seem like they're just a minor annoyance, but they can actually cause substantial damage to your fence. Wood bees, especially, can create elaborate burrows in the wood, weakening your fence beams to the point that they crack and need to be replaced. Thus, if you see signs of these insects, you should take action to get rid of them promptly.

If you spot wood bees near your fence, watch the bees closely to find the hole they have built their nest inside. Then, purchase an insecticide that states it will work on wood bees. Wait until the evening when the bees are less active, put on long sleeves and pants for some protection, and spray the insecticide into the hole. Wait a few days for the bees to die, and then plug up the hole with some wood paste to prevent the bees from returning.

If you see carpenter ants around your fence (these are large, black ants), you can kill them by tracing them back to their nest within the fence, and pouring boiling water into it. This should kill any ants that are in the nest. Repeat this process a few times over the next couple of days so you kill any bees that come back to the nest.

By protecting your fence from moisture, weeds and pests, you can increase its lifespan. If you do notice that portions of your fence are becoming worn, ask your fence repair specialist if he or she can replace just those segments of the fence. Often, this is more economical than replacing the entire fence and will help you squeeze a few more years out of it.

If you need more information, you can check it out on the websites of local fencing companies.