A wooden fence is an investment, and it is one that can last for many years if you provide the fence with the proper maintenance. Failure to maintain a wood fence can lead to weak, rotten boards that will require premature replacement. If ignored long enough, you may have to replace the entire fence. Fortunately, the following three maintenance tips can help you keep the fence in good condition as long as you follow them.
1. Monthly Inspections
Small damages can lead to big problems if they aren't addressed quickly. The best way to ensure that any issues are repaired promptly is to take the time to walk your fence line about once a month. Look for obvious damages on both sides of the fence, such as cracked boards or worn paint and stain. Any exposed bare wood needs to be repaired promptly so moisture doesn't soak into the boards and lead to rot. Also, check for popped nails and screws. Replacing missing or popped nails can prevent loose fence boards that could become damaged during a wind storm.
2. Prompt Repairs
Don't ignore damage, no matter how small since failure to repair promptly can lead to further damages on the fence. For example, a small area of a board where the stain has worn away may not seem like a big deal, but moisture can access the wood through this spot and cause the entire board to rot out. A cracked board may seem like a small problem until moisture or insects get into the crack and destroy the board from the inside out. Loose posts and railings are another issue that needs to be repaired promptly, or the entire fence panel could come down during windy weather or from the ground shifting.
3. Weatherproofing and Staining
Wood can survive for decades if it isn't exposed to moisture. The best way to ensure this never happens is to keep your fence boards waterproofed. You can use paint, if you prefer a brightly colored fence, or you can use a waterproofing stain. Keep in mind with paint that age will show more readily, so you will need to reapply it more often to keep up the fence's appearance. Stain has a more natural look, which tends to wear better on the fence. You can tell if your fence needs new stain if water droplets on a fence board are absorbed instead of beading up.
Contact a fence staining contractor like one at Rainier Fencing & Decking for more help.