8 Steps to Wood Fence Maintenance

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No matter how good of materials you use or how professional the installation is, all fences will need care to maintain beauty and functionality. We're here with 8 simple steps to ensuring your fence looks great and lasts for years to come.
Damaged wood fence

Nothing finishes off an Upper Midwest house like a picture-perfect wood fence bordering the yard. A newly installed cedar fence is a fast-track ticket to ramping up your home’s curb appeal.

Still, many homeowners hold back from committing to a wood fence, fearing that they’ll be biting off more than can chew when it comes to maintaining it.

True, being composed of organic material, wood fences do require a bit more elbow grease to maintain when compared to PVC fencing or aluminum fencing. However, following a few simple and inexpensive steps will help your wood fencing from becoming a rotten eye soar and eating up more of your savings.

Liberty Fence Co. is here with 8 fool-proof tips to set Fargo-Moorhead homeowners up for wood fence success. Here’s our crash course in wood fence maintenance.

Tips for Maintaining Wood Fencing

Wood Fence Repair

We'll not only install your picture-perfect cedar fence, but also help you maintain it over the years so its beauty lasts for decades.

1. Start with Quality

Of course, even the best wood fence will eventually need attention to maintain its beauty and prevent irreversible damage. Still, you can start off on the right foot by making sure the materials you use and the installation process are top quality.

Cedar is more naturally resistant to decay than many other wood species, and therefore an industry recommended choice for fencing. When you opt for Liberty Fence Co. to build your fence, you can trust that we carefully select only the best materials for our wood fences, ensuring both beauty and longevity.

Fence installation is a hefty project that some homeowners choose to take on themselves. Still, tackling your fence build as a DIY project may not be worth the headache and may not even save you the money you thought it would in the long run.

Hiring a tried and true professional installation team like Liberty Fence will ensure that the job is done right with top quality materials and craftsmanship. You will have a fence that can last decades if properly maintained.

2. Care for the Wood

As an organic material, wood is susceptible to rot and decay. It needs proper care and attention to extend its life as long as possible.

Like wax on a car of shine on shoes, your wood fence pickets need to be sealed with wood sealant. In the case that your fence is not painted, aim for treating your fence with water-repellent sealant annually. Sealing your fence will prevent weathering such as cracking and drying.

Your fence will likely be stained by your fencing contractor upon installation. This, however, is not a one-time process. A wood fence should be re-stained about ever 3-5 years, or even more frequently. Applying periodic staining to your fence will reinforce its strength and keeps it looking ‘like new’.  

A painted wood fence may need to be re-painted every 2-3 years. Check regularly for chipping and cracking in the paint, as indicators that your fence is ready to be re-painted.

The frequency with which your re-paint or re-stain your wood fencing will depend largely on the weather. Here in Minnesota and North Dakota, we experience a great deal of wind in our temperamental climate.

A good rule of thumb is to sprinkle a little bit of water on one of the boards of your fence and check how it reacts to water. If the water beads up and runs off, your fence is doing well! If the water soaks into the fence, it’s probably time to re-stain and seal your fence.

staining wood fencing

3. No Unnecessary Weight on the Wood

Since wood fences are easy to drill into, many homeowners enjoy decorating their fence with planters, metal ornaments, or other decorations. These additions may look nice, but if they are too heavy, they may add unnecessary weight to the fence.

Small decorations are okay, but try to avoid any heavy flower boxes or ornaments that may weigh down the fence and cause it to sag over time. If you still plan to hang something a bit heavier, hang it on the sturdy posts, not the fence boards.

Liberty Fence & Deck Co

Vines and shrubs growing on or into a fence can also affect its structural integrity over time, if not properly trimmed back. Be sure to regularly prune any shrubbery or bushes along your fence line so your fence is not being pushed on as the plants grow.

4. Avoid Moisture Issues

Water is wood’s greatest enemy. Of course, with fences being outdoors, they are bound to get wet, whether from a rainstorm or your kids’ next water balloon fight. Water on your fence is unavoidable!

Still, keeping an eye on your fence to prevent unnecessary or constant contact with water is important.

Allowing plants to grow on your fencing can compromise its integrity, since greenery retains moisture. Keep plants pruned away from the fence.

Additionally, check to make sure the bottom of the pickets on your fence are not coming into contact with the soil. The moisture in the soil can seep into the boards and decay them. Soil shifts over time, so be vigilant about making sure you clear it away from the bottom of your fence.

HGTV advises; “Homeowners also should keep sprinklers from wetting the fence, which causes the wood to rot faster.” 

Yes, using a drip sprinkler system along the fence line is recommended as opposed to other sprinklers meant to cover larger areas.  Avoid spraying a hose on the planks.

5. Quickly Address Wood Fence Problems

Even the best of fences may experience issues, especially in the case of severe weather. Upper Midwest wind storms are famous for damaging fencing.

If you notice any sagging, loose boards, rotting, splitting, or really any signs of damage, don’t waste any time. Act immediately to correct the problem. Damage to your fence, when left unchecked can create a much bigger and more expensive problem down the road, so preventative maintenance is in your best interest.

Call Liberty Fence Co. to come out and repair your fence to mint condition. Our team can perfectly match replacement boards to your existing fence and ensure it is properly anchored for the next big storm. We’ll make certain that everything is reinforced and in tip top shape to prevent future damage.

6. Care for the Hardware

Here at Liberty Fence, we build your original fence with the best weather-proof hardware. Galvanized and stainless steel hardware will not rust or warp, but will last for years.

If your fencing hardware does sustain any damage, be quick to replace it so that the structural integrity of your fence does not become compromised.

To keep locks and hinges on your gate functioning fluidly and rust-free, keep them well-oiled. Lubricated joints will keep your gate easy to open and squeak-free.

7. Keep an Eye on Fence Posts

Wooden fence posts are typically pressure-treated to prevent moisture and insect issues. Our standardized wooden fence posts are 4×4 or 4×6 depending on your preference, and are made to stand up to the weather for years to come.

However, pressure-treated or not, wood is wood and remains susceptible to moisture and rot.

That is why Liberty Fence recommends upgrading to steel posts, since they will never rot. Steel posts provide a sturdy, weather-proof base for your fence.

cedar wood fence

8. Call a Wood Fence Maintenance Pro

The last thing you want to spend your preciously few summer days doing is re-staining or repairing your wood fence. In the big picture, hiring a pro can save you time, stress, and even money spent on fixing bigger future problems, since the job will be done right.

You can count on our A+ Better Business Bureau Rating. With our golden reputation as one of Minnesota and North Dakota’s top fencing contractors, you can be sure that when your wood fence installation and maintenance is left to our team, you will be one happy homeowner.

We will build you a fence that will last, and we’ll also help you take care of the periodic tasks that will keep your cedar fence looking gorgeous for years to come.

Contact us for a no-obligations fencing installation or repair estimate or check out our wood fencing gallery to see what kind of fence you’d like to have bordering your property. We look forward to working with you!

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