The high heat and humidity of the summer months in Texas can definitely take its toll on any hardscape feature. But this is especially true when it comes to your wood fences. By being proactive with fence maintenance before winter arrives, you can preserve your investment. Not only will the results be more aesthetically appealing, but you will drastically extend the life of your fence as well. Here are a few ways you can spruce up your fence this fall so it can stay protected and looking beautiful all winter long.
Give Your Fence a Thorough Cleaning
Mother Nature throws an amazing amount of dirt, grime, and other debris at your fence – most of which will stick to it. Removing this layer of dirt is the first step in sprucing up and maintaining your fence. A professional power washer may not leave it looking like new, but it will definitely improve its overall appearance. In addition, a thorough cleaning gives you a fresh base to work with and is necessary to effectively complete any other fence maintenance.
Tip: Power washing is a relatively inexpensive procedure but should be done by a reputable company for the best results.
Repair Any Damage, No Matter How Minor
When it comes to outdoor features, freezing temperatures and the frost/defrost cycle usually tend to do the most damage. This makes it essential to repair even the smallest damage to your fence before the colder temperatures move in. If your wood fence is not repaired and properly protected, water can infiltrate the damaged areas, freeze when the temperatures drop, and then pry apart even the strongest joints. A little fence maintenance and care now can save a lot of aggravation and money when Spring rolls around next year.
Tip: Always use a licensed and bonded contractor for fence repairs.
Proper fence maintenance includes getting rid of any grass or weeds that are growing around the bottom of your fence. When they’re too close to your fence, grass, weeds, and other plants create a dark, moist environment that can lead to mold growth and wood rot. Remove or cut any loose or low-hanging tree limbs that touch or are close to touching your fence. This ensures they don’t rub up against the fence or cause damage during a severe storm.
Tip: Use a weed-eater to remove weeds and grass around the bottom of the fence that the lawnmower can’t reach.
Learn More: Cut Your Grass Without Damaging Your Fence
Check for Signs of Weathering and Rotting
Once the fence is cleaned thoroughly and the debris is cleared, inspect your fence for any signs of weathering. Look for areas where the sealant has been removed and the paint or finish is peeling from extended UV exposure. Then, check for signs of rotting or damage from termites or other insects. Inspect fence posts and panels to ensure they are stable.
Tip: To check posts for stability, grab each post from the top and apply pressure to all sides. A secure post won’t move under pressure. If it does move, it should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
Re-stain for Added Protection
The final step in the fall fence maintenance process is re-staining your fence. While it may seem that this step performs a purely aesthetic function, nothing could be further from the truth. The staining process not only makes the fence more visually pleasing but also helps to increase its long-term durability. The latest high-tech stains incorporate compounds that not only color the wood but also protect it from UV light, water, and insects as well as fungal growth.
Tip: Re-staining is an arduous task and must be done properly and thoroughly to be most effective. Many homeowners are tempted to do this job on their own but it is far better to pay a professional company to do the job for you.