There are plenty of reasons to choose a wood fence — it’s durable, attractive, and can complement a variety of home exteriors. But while it’s a long-lasting option to enclose your yard, you can extend its life by caring for it in the right way. If you want to make sure that your fencing sees plenty of good days, these three tips can help you keep it looking like new no matter how old it is.
Keep Repairs Small
While a wood fence is durable, it can suffer wear and tear out in the elements. The key to making it last, though, is taking care of damage as soon as it happens so that you don’t wind up with a bigger problem. Check your fencing regularly for any signs of damage and make repairs. Use waterproof glue to mend broken or split sections, or replace the boards entirely if necessary. Tighten loose sections and use a hammer to reset any protruding nails. If there’s any damage that you don’t know how to fix yourself, contact the installation company for assistance.
Keep It Clean
If you’re primarily concerned with your wood fence’s appearance, regular cleaning is a must. Over time, the sun and weather can cause a gray film to develop as old wood cells accumulate on the surface. To rediscover the warm, attractive color, use a cleaning product designed specifically for wood fencing or decking to thoroughly clean the entire surface. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, but you usually have to leave the product on for at least 20 minutes so that it fully penetrates. Then scrub it with a brush and rinse thoroughly.
You can also use a power washer to clean your fencing. However, if you use the washer incorrectly, you can do serious damage. Choose one that is rated between 1500 and 2000 PSI and features a wide-angle tip. Don’t hold the tip any closer than 12 inches away, and keep the wand in constant motion as you move it across the surface. Clean your fencing approximately every three years to keep it in good shape.
Stain and Seal
Once your wood fence is completely clean and dry, you need to stain and seal to protect the surface. Use a semitransparent oil stain designed for exterior applications, and look for a formula with UV-inhibitors to help prevent the sun from fading it and a mildewcide to help fight off fungus growth. Apply a soaking layer to the surface, and let the surface absorb as much of the stain as possible. If it still appears dry, apply an additional coat. While the seal should last approximately three years, you may want to reapply once a season to keep the fencing looking fresh.