6 Smart Tips to Protect Your Wood Backyard Fence & Extend Lifespan

Wooden fences are a common sight in American suburbia and all over the world. The classic backyard wooden fence provides privacy, security, and a nice natural boundary around your yard. However, we’ve all lived somewhere with a wooden fence that looked like it was about to fall down or dry and splintery that we wouldn’t trust our kids near it.

So if you’re about to install a new wooden fence or are thinking about fence maintenance right about now, it’s common to think of ways to make sure your fence lasts. What’s the difference between an older fence that is still tall and pristine and a fence that is falling-down or splinter-ridden? The only difference is smart maintenance.

Today, we’re here to share six smart tips on how to protect and maintain your backyard fence for a safer yard and longer fence lifespan.

1) Protect the ‘Feet’ From Damp Soil

Fence rot and decay usually comes up from the bottom, especially if you have damp soil or piles of leaves that may pile up around the fence base. The ‘feet’ of your fence, or the bottom few inches, need to be protected and kept dry to ensure that your fence does not start seeping moisture and the potential to decay up from the ground.

The best way to do this is to cut your fence slats properly so that they do not have direct contact with the ground. If you’re worried about security or pet containment, line the space below your fence with half-buried bricks that come up to the bottom of your slats. This discourages digging while the bricks are porous and carry water away from the fence instead of up into it.

2) Rake Leaves Away from the Fence Regularly

Leaves that pile up and are rained on start to turn into damp soil pretty quickly. Leaves also tend to blow in the wind and gather in ever-larger piles at the base of your fence, so the same problem is at hand. Make sure to always rake leaves starting at the fence edge, setting your rake tines on the fence and pulling the piled leaves fully away so that they do not become damp and start fence rot.

3) Be Careful Where You Aim That Sprinkler

Soil isn’t the only moisture risk for a wooden fence. Ever wonder why some fences seem to be decaying from the center? Its’s the sprinkler, hammering the middle and bottom of a fence with water every single day.

Be careful where you aim your sprinkler. Place your sprinklers strategically so that the water spray stops a few inches short of the fence base. You can do this with careful placement or adjusting the oscillation range so that sprinklers don’t ‘tip’ to far toward the fence. 

4) Stain Once, Reseal Annually

Sealing your fence keeps it both oiled and water-resistant for a long lifespan, but only if you keep it up. Some fence stains include a sealant quality, some need to be sealed after staining. Either way, you will want to reseal your fence every one to three years to keep it safe. The best way to tell is to splash a little water on the fence. If the water beads, the seal is still active. IF the water absorbs, it’s time to reseal.

Paint seems practical but must be scraped and repainted often. With modern staining options, stain and seal are a better combination for both the look and lifespan of your fence.

5) Wash Occasionally with Hose or Power Washer

If your fence starts to get grimy, give it a good once-over with the sprayer-nozzle on your hose or rent a power washer to blast the grime away. Then re-seal for good measure. This will help keep your fence clean and in good repair over time.

6) Replace Damaged or Rotting Slats

Finally, if a slat is damaged or something happens that does cause rot, remove and replace the damaged slats immediately. Fences are connected pieces of wood and rot can spread. The sooner you replace a rotted slat with a new clean slat, the safer your fence will be.

Contact Security Fence & Construction in Minneapolis, MN

A well-maintained wooden fence can last for decades, but only if you remember to keep it safe from excess moisture and reseal every few years. With the right care, your fence will remain beautiful, safely smooth, and a solid protection against intruders in one handy cedar package. For more insights on fence building and maintenance or a consultation on your next backyard fencing project, contact us today!