rotting wooden fence
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Protect Your Wooden Fence: Easy Tips Against Rotting

Adding fences to your home is a valuable investment for any homeowner. It sets a clear boundary for your property and serves as security and protection. The design and finish increase the aesthetic of your house and property value as well.

The most popular kind installed in homes is wooden fences. Wooden fences are affordable and are easy to customize to fit your budget. The material’s natural finish makes it easy to stain or paint in any color you like so it complements your house. Wood is a resource that is suitable for any time of the year and with proper care can withstand any weather.

Even with its advantages and appeal, wooden fences are prone to deteriorate over time. They are vulnerable to damages, whether they be natural or other forms of damage.

What Causes Wood To Rot?

One common threat to wooden fence panels or pickets is rotting. Rotting starts because of wood’s exposure to excessive moisture. Moisture often comes through its contact with soil, weather, or even debris. The most affected part of fences is the bottom since they are in-ground. Wood is also vulnerable to insect or pest infestation.

It is also important to know that there are two types of rot: dry rot and wet rot. Some parts of your wooden fence panels like the bottom are more prone to wet rot. The top parts can suffer more from dry rot caused by high and harsh weather. 

Wet rot causes the wood to soften and crack. It is also easy to identify by smell as it often smells like musty or fungal. For dry rot, brittleness and dryness are evident in the wood. 

Proper Care and Measures For Wooden Fences

wooden fence rotting

It is important to note that the longevity of wooden fences depends on maintenance. If provided with proper attention and care, most wooden fences can last for decades.

The type of wood of your fence also dictates the maintenance needed to keep it in good condition. If you choose hardy or rot-resistant wood, you are sure that it will last for years. Some popular wood choices are cedar, spruce, redwood/teakwood, and juniper. Pre-treated wood works best for avoiding excessive moisture, rotting, and bugs.

Proper Installation

First up, make sure that the fence you are installing passes local ordinances. The New Orleans Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance requires that “a fence or wall… may not exceed eight (8) feet in height… Fences in front yards will be open fences.” For properties within national historic districts, fences or walls cannot exceed seven feet.

In the event of rotting, that leads to damage, replacing your wooden fences will not avoid it in the future. The contact between the bottom part of the fence and soil is the main cause of wood decay. This is especially true for unprotected or undertreated wood. Other natural factors like erosion or irrigation can also cause excessive moisture. 

A sure way to protect the bottom of your wooden fence is to pour gravel and concrete to the holes before mounting. Some wood fence panels for sale are not yet treated so you can coat your fences with wood preservative. For parts of the wooden fence that will be in-ground, it is best to use copper naphthenate.

Outer Protection: Staining, Painting, Sealing

old wooden fence rotting

Experts also suggest adding several layers of exterior protection. This can also maintain wood fence designs. Doing reapplication depends on environmental factors like soil quality, temperature, moisture, and rainfall. Applying water-repellent sealants or oil stains can protect from moisture like rain.

One way to test if your wooden fence already requires restaining is by doing a spray test. If after spraying water and the wood absorbs the water, it would be time to consider reapplying. If water remains on the outside and beads on the wood, your coating is still intact.

Best Practices For Wooden Fences Maintenance

Aside from soil, moisture can still come in contact with your wooden posts. Here are general guidelines to take note of:

  1. If you choose to upgrade your wooden fences by planting plants or flowers near it, expect rotting. Whether you have horizontal or vertical wood fences, moisture can come in contact. Damp or decaying leaves can also deposit undetected in cracks or holes. There can also be organisms like bugs or pests in plants that can cause decay or damage. Regular trimming of the plants can avoid it to overcome the fences.
  2. It can also be tempting to add decorations to your wooden fences during holidays. Make sure that you use decor that would not weigh down the wooden fences. Keep an eye out for excess moisture from the decorations too.
  3. Cleaning your fences is important to keep it vibrant and in fit condition. Keep in mind that not all cleaning agents can benefit your wooden fence. Harsh and toxic ingredients will only harm not only your fence but also your health. Using pressure washers is an effective way to clean and remove unhealthy spots. Using baking soda is also a natural way to remove discolorations and stubborn stains.
  4. Some wooden fences can accumulate algae or molds. These need extra precaution for removal as it is toxic to health. Wearing proper protective gear is best while removing them like gloves and masks. Instead of using bleach and other chemicals, opt to use vinegar.
  5. Regular examination and inspection can help to detect early signs of rotting. Check for irregular spots and damages on the wooden panels. For wood and wire fences, see if rusting is evident and if it can affect your wood. Pay close attention to the bottom part, edges, and even the nails.

Remember high-quality wood fences can decay faster without proper care. Making small, necessary repairs can save you from needing to replace your whole fence. This will be a huge waste of money and effort. Weak spots or panels can also lead to a compromise in your safety and security.

For installation or maintenance for your wooden fences, look for experts like Big Easy Fence. They know what’s best for New Orleans wooden fences and what can help them last longer. You can trust them to take care of you and your fences.