Looking for a fence maintenance guide? Here you go!
Having a fence around your property provides security, privacy, and curb appeal. However, like any other structure exposed to the elements, your fence will degrade over time if not properly maintained. Implementing a regular fence maintenance routine will extend the life of your fence and save you money in the long run. In this guide, we will discuss some helpful fence maintenance tips for keeping your fence in good shape.
Read our guide, Trending Fene Styles and Materials in 2024
Fence Maintenance and Inspection for Damage
The first step is performing regular inspections of your entire fence, looking for any issues that need to be addressed.
Check for Rotting Wood
If you have a wood fence, check the posts, panels, and rails for rotting or deterioration. Rotting wood will be soft, discoloured and sometimes have mould or fungal growth. Use a screwdriver to poke the wood – if it penetrates deeply into solid wood, it is likely rotting from the inside out. Catching this early allows you to replace only the damaged boards instead of entire sections.
Identify Leaning or Loose Posts
Posts that are leaning indicate the soil around them is eroding or they are not set deep enough. This strain can warp fence panels and allow the fence to fall over. Check for loose posts by pushing or rocking them back and forth – movement indicates they need to be secured.
Look for Rusting Nails or Staples
While metal is durable, corrosion from exposure to water and soil can weaken connections and allow components to detach. Make a note of any rusting hardware.
The buildup of dirt, leaves, pollen, and other debris hides small problems and speeds up decay. Use a hose, power washer, or brush to remove accumulation, being careful not to damage wood or protective coatings. Clean both sides of the fence, as well as gates and posts.
Replace Damaged Parts
It is always best to tackle repairs sooner rather than later to prevent additional issues down the road.
Swap Out Rotting Pickets or Planks
Remove and replace any rotten boards using corrosion-resistant screws or nails. Choose new wood that matches the existing material. Cedar and redwood last the longest. Apply wood sealant to protect the fresh wood.
Secure Loose Posts and Crossbeams
Re-secure loose posts with additional bracing, concrete backfill, or larger diameter posts, depending on the issue. Reset protruding nails or screws sticking out from crossbeams or post caps. Replace severely warped, cracked, or decaying crossbeams.
Use scrap wood pieces and galvanized finish nails or mesh screens to cover gaps in wooden fences. Follow with spackle once dry, then repaint to prevent moisture intrusion. Use concrete patch compound for holes surrounding metal or chain link fence posts. New slats can cover damaged lower panels.
Apply Protective Finish
Sealing or staining your fence every 1-3 years extends its life exponentially. The finish protects the wood from moisture, insects, mold, and sun damage. For already coated fences, thoroughly scrape and sand old paint or stain before applying fresh coats. Use sprayers or rollers and allow proper drying time between layers.
Keep Area Around Fence Clean
It is just as important to maintain the area immediately surrounding your fence line. If you have a pool or often water landscape beds, improper drainage can lead to flooding or runoff issues that erode, warp panels, or rotting wood.
Keep leaves, grass clippings, and overflowing dirt away from the perimeter. These trap moisture and can impede drainage. Establish a gravel, rock, or mulch border to discourage weed growth.
Correct Soil Grading
Ensure the ground slopes away from all sides of the fence. Level or fill in low spots where water can pool. Extend downspouts further away and consider French drains to divert excess water from landscaping or gutters.
Cut Back Vegetation
Tree roots and encroaching plants put pressure on fence posts and restrict airflow, leaving wood susceptible to rotting. Prune back overgrown vegetation, grind down stumps and roots, or use root barrier to reduce damage.
Maintaining your fence is essential to preserving its structural integrity and aesthetic appeal over the long term. By regularly inspecting for damage, cleaning off debris, making minor repairs, applying protective finishes, and keeping the surrounding area properly graded and cleared of vegetation, you can add years of life to your fence. Establish a routine fitting your specific fence material and climate conditions. Be proactive to stay ahead of decay and deterioration issues. With proper care, your fence will continue providing security, privacy and visual enhancement for your property. Investing a little time and effort into regular maintenance pays big dividends by avoiding costly repairs down the road.
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