Updated on September 27, 2023
Fencing Maintenance Tips
With proper maintenance, a fence can last for decades. Inspecting it on a regular basis is essential to identify issues and prevent them from escalating into larger problems.
Start by walking along the entire fence line, checking for loose boards or rusting metal components. Also look for leaning sections of the fence and sagging posts. For professional help, contact Pro Angle Fencing Summerville now!
Wood fences are subject to a range of environmental factors that can impact their appearance and durability. A few of these include rot, mold growth, and infestations from wood-destroying pests. These problems can be addressed with repair or replacements.
Depending on the type of wood, repairs to a wood fence can be fairly simple or very expensive. For example, pine fences are cheaper to repair than oak fences, although both are susceptible to fungal damage and moisture issues. Choosing wood that is pressure-treated helps mitigate these concerns since the treatment helps it resist moisture and fungal growth better than untreated wood.
The wood in a picket fence needs to be properly protected with a sealant, paint or stain. A sealant that includes mildewcide, water repellent and UV protection will help prevent rot, mold and other environmental problems. Staining is preferred over paint because it absorbs into the wood grain, providing more protective coverage than just a surface coating.
All types of wooden fences can be affected by rot. If left unattended, rot can cause the entire structure to weaken or fall over. If this happens, a professional can replace the damaged boards for about $280.
A wood fence can also be destroyed by insects such as termites, carpenter ants or beetles. These pests can eat or burrow into the wood, causing irreversible damage that impacts the structural integrity of the fence. A fencing pro can handle these repairs and extermination for an average of $340.
Other problems that require a fence contractor to fix include accidents, ground erosion and vehicle damage. A fencing pro can fix these problems and make sure the fence is secure and safe for children and pets. They can also check the fence for any signs of rust on metal components such as screws and latches.
Clean the Fence
Wood fences are prone to getting dirty and stained, especially if they’re exposed to the elements. They’re susceptible to simple dirt and debris as well as more stubborn stains from mildew, mold and green algae. Cleaning the fence regularly will help prevent this damage and keep it looking nice. If your fence is heavily stained, it may require more intense cleans like scrubbing or even sanding to get the best results. The fencing company that installed your fence can recommend the right method for your specific situation.
One of the most effective methods for cleaning a wooden fence is to use a pressure washer with a low psi setting. However, this is a powerful tool that can cause damage to your fence and surrounding plants if used incorrectly. Before using this, it’s important to do a thorough inspection of your fence for any loose boards or rusty nails or screws that need tightening.
Another option for cleaning a wood fence is to use vinegar and baking soda. Vinegar is a natural solution for removing mildew and mold, while baking soda is an abrasive agent that can scrub away dirt. To use this method, soak a sponge in the cleaner and then begin wiping down the fence panel by panel. Work slowly and thoroughly to ensure you’re getting all the buildup off.
For more stubborn stains, you can use chlorine bleach. This is a great solution for removing mold and mildew, as well as the green residue caused by algae. Make sure to wear a mask when using this solution and to rinse the fence off thoroughly once you’re finished.
Inspect the Posts
Regular inspections help you keep up with issues before they cause significant damage. This includes identifying the condition of your fence posts.
Look for any signs of rot or decay, especially where the fence post emerges from the ground. Wood rot is one of the most common problems that affects fencing, and it can cause your fence to collapse or weaken. Identifying this early on through routine inspections can save you money and stress, as well as prevent further problems down the road.
Check for sagging sections, loose boards and any other signs of wear and tear. If you find any problems, try to repair them as soon as possible to prevent the problem from getting worse.
If your fence is made from wood, consider painting or staining it to protect the wood from weather damage. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for staining or painting intervals.
Even if your fence is made from metal, it can still get damaged by weathering and rusting. Inspect the surface of your fence to see if any rust has appeared, and re-stain or paint it with a corrosion-inhibiting primer to prevent further rusting.
Ensure that the base of each fence post is firmly packed and free of rocks, dirt or other debris. This will help prevent water from pooling around the post, which can lead to rot or shifting soil.
If you have a chain link fence, be sure to inspect the tension of the wires regularly. This helps to prevent the wires from losing their tension, which makes the fence less effective against determined intruders. This is easy to do with a simple wires tester, and you can purchase one online or through your local hardware store.
Inspect the Hardware
Whether you have a small paddock, corral or extensive pastures that are fenced off for different herds, it is important to scout the entire length of your fence on a regular basis. This will help you manage any issues that are occurring in a timely manner, such as damaged or rotting boards or loose screws and nails. It will also allow you to identify any sections that are sagging or leaning.
During the inspection, make note of any signs of damage or rot, especially at the base of the posts. This is where a lot of damage occurs due to improper soil compaction around the fence post. If the posts are rotting, they will need to be replaced.
If you have a metal fence, examine it for signs of rust. Using a rust remover or sandpaper can eliminate any rusting that is occurring and stop it from spreading. It is also a good idea to inspect the gates on your fence regularly and to have the latch, hinges and handles repaired or replaced as needed.
Look for any signs of a bowed top rail, which is often caused by the weight of snow pushing down on the chain link fabric. If you find a problem, it can easily be corrected by rolling the top rail and retying. Also, look for any rusty or broken poles that may need to be replaced as soon as possible. This is because these poles are the ones that carry the electric fence wires and a corroded pole could break, creating a safety hazard. Also, check for any connecting cables (called HT Cables) that are on the fence and make sure they are not cracked or worn because these cables carry thousands of volts of electricity from the energizer to the perimeter wire.
Inspect the Gates
Many fence owners overlook their gates, but they can be an important part of your fencing system. Not only do they keep unauthorized people out of your yard, but they can also protect your garden from critters and your livestock from predators. Regular inspections can help ensure that your gate is functioning properly and that it’s able to stand up to the elements.
During a routine inspection, you should look for signs of wear and tear on the gate hardware and latches. Rusty hinges and latches can weaken the gates and make them less effective. Additionally, misalignment of the gate can cause it to malfunction. A quick adjustment to the screws inside of the latch and hinge can help to fix this problem.
Another common problem with gates is that they can get stuck or even broken, especially in windy weather. This is a good reason to conduct frequent inspections of the gate and to take steps to fix it as soon as you notice that it’s not working correctly.
The benefits of conducting regular fence inspections are numerous. In addition to identifying areas that need repairs and upgrades, inspections can also reveal whether your fencing is in compliance with local ordinances and codes. This can be particularly helpful if you’re thinking of selling your home in the future as it will give potential buyers an idea of the condition of the property.