Wood fencing comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Whether you have a traditional picket fence, a wall of high slats, or something a little more unusual, though, wood has to be cared for. If left neglected, a wood fence will begin to crumble in the face of constant pressure from the elements. Treated and cared for properly, though, your wood fence could last as long as your home. Possibly even longer, if you are generous with your care.
3 Tips For Keeping Your Wood Fencing Looking Beautiful
Tip #1: Keep it Painted (Or Stained)
Painting the fence is an annual ritual in most homes. Even if a wooden fence is chemically treated to endure the elements (and most wooden fences are), the treatment at the factory will only last so long, and do so much. Which is why if you want to keep your fence looking good, and keep the wood safe from the ravages of time, you need to keep it painted, or stained.
Always check the instructions on your paint, or stain, and pay special attention to both how many coats you should use, and how long the treatment is meant to last. Even an inexpensive treatment will last for a year, but beyond that mileage may vary. Additionally, if you're using stain, make sure you use the same kind when you apply new treatments. Differing stains can interact, giving your fence a strange, patchy look if you're not careful.
Tip #2: Termite and Wood Rot Prevention is Key
Wood, as we all know, is the favored food of termites. And while you can keep most of your fence off the insect buffet just by ensuring the wood isn't sunk into the ground, that isn't an option with your fence posts. If you have moist earth, that is going to take a toll on the wood.
The fence posts, just like the rest of the fence, are treated with pressure and chemicals by the manufacturer to resist rot and the incursions of insects. However, with time and exposure, that layer of defense becomes less and less potent. Which is why it pays to invest in prevention so you don't have to uproot your fence posts every few years to give them a new treatment, or replace them because they've begun to rot away.
One way you can do this is by using metal fence posts, disguised to blend in with your wood fence. If you want to have a more universal look, though, you can use metal caps, or even concrete anchors, to protect the parts of your wood fencing that do have to go underground. Such protective measures can extend the life of your posts significantly, giving your fence a firm foundation for years to come.
Tip #3: Use A Power Washer
When doing maintenance and upkeep on your wood fence, don't just use a hand scraper to remove old paint, dirt, etc. Get a power washer (they're available for rental, if you don't want to buy one for occasional use), and spray the fence clean with it.
A power washer doesn't just clean your fence; it strips off the outer, damaged layer of the wood. If your fence is gray, or faded, this will reveal the bright, vibrant wood beneath the exterior. This is similar to how a knife sharpener will eventually reveal clean steel. Then, once all the build-up has been washed away, you paint or stain the new exterior to protect it. Then, when that layer has withstood all it can, the process starts all over again.[codepeople-post-map]