Whether you’re protecting your property, cordoning off a garden, or preventing your pets from escaping, most homes can benefit from a sturdy wooden fence. The problem is, while your fence works to protect your home, there isn’t much protecting the fence itself. Through moisture, wind, rain, ice, and insects, the environment can do a lot of damage to a wooden fence.

If you want to extend the lifespan of your wooden fence, there are a few steps to take. Some of these should be heeded before the fence is even installed. Still, proper care and attention can help an already established wooden fence last longer than it would otherwise.

Which Type of Wood?

If you plan on building or purchasing a new wooden fence for your yard, the first question to ask is which type of wood to use? The most popular materials for wood fences are cedar wood, cypress, and redwood. All three wood types are durable, beautiful, and naturally resistant to many insects and rot. Of these three choices, any will do. Redwood is the most expensive, with cypress costing a bit less on average and cedar wood coming in at the lowest cost.

Proper Foundation

Like a building, a fence is only as stable as its foundation. Moisture, insects, and bacteria in the soil can eat away at a wooden fence. Additionally, shifts in the earth can bend or break a fence entirely. Therefore, fences shouldn’t be installed directly into soil. Instead, they need to be set in concrete. The concrete can be placed in the hole dry and mixed with water after the post is inside. Some professionals recommend throwing a few inches of gravel in the hole as well to further secure the post and help prevent rot in the future.

Covering the Wood – Stain or Paint?

Once the fence is properly in the ground and sturdy, its main parts remain exposed to the elements. Moisture and sunlight are the greatest nemeses of any wooden fence. The best way to fight against this damage is by covering the fence with stain.

Professional painters will tell you that painting also helps protect a fence’s exterior, but not nearly as well as staining. Wooden fences deeply absorb the stain while paint mostly just covers the wood. As a result, paint will chip and peel over time while stain will remain intact inside the material. Fortunately, stain comes in several colors, like paint, so you can still make your fence look how you’d like. Stain is more transparent than paint, however, so the grain of the wood will show through.

Perform Regular Maintenance

As with anything you care about, you have to check in on your fence and keep it clean on a regular basis. Make sure the fence remains stable. Scrub the fence’s exterior with specially designated fence cleaning solution and water. Use a power washer if the fence hasn’t been cleaned in a long time. If you notice early signs of rot or damage, contact professionals to help repair or replace sections of your wooden fence.

All American Painting Plus, Inc. specializes not only in exterior and interior painting, but also rotted wood repair and replacement and more. Whether a wooden fence, wooden trim, or anything else, we will make it look as good as new. Call us at 703-620-5563, or email us at info@aapplus.com for more information!