3 Ways to Keep Your Fence Stronger for Longer

wood fence installation

Wood Fence Installation Minneapolis & St. Paul

Wood fences are the default material for most residential fences, and there’s a reason for that. You get sturdy barriers, solid privacy, and a beautiful border to your property. But wood fences can show their age over time. The color will bleach out after years of exposure to strong sunlight and the supports may start to weaken and crack.

Most wooden fences are built to last slightly less than a decade, though cedar fences can last up to three times that long. If you want to make your existing fence last as long as possible, there are a few easy maintenance tasks that can help you out. Here are three that don’t include major renovation projects.

1. Don’t leave the gate open.

It’s easy to overlook the hardware attached to your fence, especially if you’re worried about maintaining the wood. But the hinges supporting the gate to your backyard have to deal with just as much exposure to the elements. These metal parts also face a lot more wear and tear and have to support moving weight.

When your gate is latched properly, the weight is distributed on both sides of the panel. But when it’s left even a small bit ajar, all the weight is on the hinges, and the pins will start to hang crookedly. If the metal doesn’t eventually give way, the wood it’s connected to will. 

So make a habit of checking your gate to ensure it’s fully closed and the latch is engaged instead of resting against the fence. Not only will that make your gate last longer, it’s better for your home’s security.

2. Check for leaf piles and dirt resting against the side of the fence.

Wood is a strong material, but it’s still vulnerable to long-term moisture. If you have a lot of trees in your neighborhood or shifting soil, then some of that organic debris is going to pile up along the sides of your fence. This is even more of a hazard in autumn when the leaves are starting to decompose. The moisture and rot, if it stays pressed up against the wood, can work its way through the sealed finish and rot the wood.

While small piles might not damage the entire panel, weaker wood along the bottom won’t be able to keep large rodents out or the family dog in. Even worse, it can start to weaken the broader support posts that your whole fence is relying on. The next time you go outside to rake up the leaves, make sure the piles stay away from the fence line. If you live in a windy area, you might also want to consider protecting the bottom foot of your wood fence with chicken wire.

3. Check for tilting panels.

Sometimes the best way to maintain long-term fixtures is just to keep an eye out for potential damage. Aside from storms and physical collisions, most fence damage occurs over time.

So set a reminder on your phone to go outside once a month or so to see if you notice any tilting panels or separation between the panels and the main support posts. Tilting can happen too gradually to notice if you’re not looking for it, so add the habit to a routine maintenance checklist.

Staining and sealing your fence isn’t the only way to keep it in good condition. Taking smaller, daily steps and keeping an eye out for damage are also great ways to extend the life of your fence. But once you see signs of tilt or softened wood, it’s time to think about replacements. Contact us at Security Fence & Construction to get started.