This winter has been a particular mild one, with Wales falling victim to flooding and high winds. These conditions have inflicted considerable damage to property.
A wooden fence is a particularly vulnerable structure. Not only are its panels lightweight and flat, and thereby highly movable by high winds, but the structures which hold the panels into place must be placed underground, where rot can easily take hold. Wood is also at risk from more chronic factors – if neglected over a period of many years, it can deteriorate.
Wood is known, principally, for its aesthetic appeal. And it’s true that a quality wooden fence can help turn a good-looking garden into a great one. But if properly looked after, wood can be a practical material, too. All that’s required is a little maintenance.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the ways in which one might look after one’s wooden fence, and thereby keep it structurally-sound and beautiful for many years to come.
As is so often the case, the simple and obvious solution is also a hugely effective one. By simply removing visible grime from your fence, you can not only improve its look – you can extend its lifespan, too. Wood cleaning solutions are available from reputable vendor of builder’s supplies in North Wales. You might achieve similar results by mixing bleach with water – but if you’re in the slightest doubt, the ready-mixed stuff makes for a safer bet.
One great way of improving the water-resistance of your fence is to treat it with sealant. This will form a barrier that will prevent rainwater from being so readily absorbed into the wood. Sealant comes in many different forms – there are those which provide a subtle staining effect, and there are those that don’t. Sometimes, the staining effect is not so subtle – and so you’ll want to choose a stain that you’re happy with aesthetically. All of these are available from any reputable North Wales timber supplier.
If you’re going to be applying sealant to your fence, then it’s essential that you first clean it and allow it to dry. For this reason, the job is best done in the hot, dry climate of midsummer – as winters, as we’ve seen, can be rather wet in this part of the world.
Watch for plants
A garden won’t be up to much visually if it doesn’t have any plants in it. Many plants, like ivy, will use a handy vertical surface like a fence to climb toward the sun. While a little bit of this sort of thing can have its own visual charm, it can have a deleterious effect on the health of your fence. As they climb, they can put more weight on the fence; they also expose the fence to higher levels of moisture, and thereby shorten its lifespan dramatically. They also make it impossible to apply sealant and properly clean the fence.
If you’re looking to extend the lifespan of your fence, then you should remove these plants before they have a chance to grow out of control.
Be judicious with hoses and sprinklers
As we’ve touched upon, moisture is a problem for any wooden structure. It can lead to rot, which in turn will lead to the fence becoming ugly and weak, and eventually breaking. One must therefore limit the amount of moisture the fence is exposed to.
Of course, this presents a problem, as most flowerbeds are placed immediately beside a fence. This means that excessive watering can lead to the fence becoming damaged. During summer, this isn’t so much of a problem – but as the year wears on, rot becomes a problem.
Ensure adequate drainage
The problem of excess moisture is at its most severe where fences are placed within a slight depression. This will lead to the water pooling around the structure rather than flowing away from it. This in turn will lead to the premature death of the fence.
If you’re looking to limit this problem, then you might consider piling soil around the bottom of a fence – or better yet, a non-absorbent substitute like gravel or sand. This will protect your fence against excess rainfall and overly-enthusiastic sprinklers.
Fences are held together by nails. If these nails should become damaged or fail, then the fence will likely fail, too. For this reason it’s important to periodically inspect the nails in one’s fence. If any have come loose, then take corrective action: either replace them, or hammer them into place. This will help to prevent the wood from warping as time goes on and thereby extend the lifespan of the fence.