While quality materials and workmanship are both vital to a wood fence’s longevity, an equally important factor is preventative maintenance. By taking proactive measures to protect your fence from the outdoor elements, you can prolong its lifespan and get the most for your investment.
One crucial step is to keep fence posts clear of soil, as prolonged contact can result in premature rot. Properly crowned post concrete should protect against this, but additional measures may be necessary in some cases. One such expedient is to install a pressure-treated retaining board, which provides a barrier between the posts and the soil.
Another important preventative step is to alter the trajectory of irrigation sprinklers. When a fence is continuously subjected to a sprinkler’s water stream, its lifespan can be reduced by as much as half, so be sure to make any necessary adjustments.
A further way to boost fence longevity is to apply a stain or sealer, which will protect the wood from moisture penetration and color fading. While painting is often considered an equivalent measure, paint’s susceptibility to cracking can compromise its ability to seal out moisture, as cracks often serve as water penetration points.
To ensure the longevity of a wood fence, make sure you clearly understand three important factors.
One of the main questions homeowners have when preparing to install a wood fence is how long they can expect it to last. The answer is threefold, as the longevity of a fence depends equally upon the materials used, the quality of workmanship and preventative maintenance.
Any quality wood fence begins with quality materials. Most fence builders prefer construction heart (con heart)-grade redwood—a time-tested material that’s resistant to termites and rot and preserves its color over time. Fence boards should be supported by pressure-treated posts, which also resist the elements and offer long-lasting durability. Hot dip galvanized nails further contribute to a fence’s longevity by maintaining secure adhesion and resisting corrosion.
Quality of Workmanship
Even if a fence is built with the best materials, poor workmanship can compromise everything. One of the most crucial aspects of fence construction is the installation of support posts. When it comes to setting posts, deeper is better. Minimum standards prescribe an 18-inch depth, but you can ensure even greater long-term stability by extending it to three feet. Another essential measure is to pour post concrete slightly above ground level, which will allow water to run off and keep post wood out of contact with the soil.
Here are some proactive measures that will help you maximize your fence’s lifespan:
Keep the Posts Clean.
To prevent rot, keep support posts out of contact with the soil. If this is an ongoing issue, consider installing a pressure-treated retaining board across the front of the posts—it’ll provide a sacrificial surface for the soil to go up against.
Apply a Stain Every Two to Three Years.
Staining your fence will help extend its longevity by sealing out moisture and protecting it from fading. Even though staining is a beneficial measure, keep in mind that painting isn’t considered an equivalent option, since water can get into cracks in the paint and cause rot.