It can be hard to replicate the traditional look of a wood fence, which is why it remains a popular option for residential lawns. It's also important to keep in mind that wood fencing is higher maintenance than the other options, like vinyl, though. You can extend the life of your fence and keep it beautiful by following the maintenance tips below.
Tip #1: Clean Annually
Fences benefit from periodic cleaning. Once annually in the fall is usually sufficient, but you can also do a spring cleaning if mud splatter or debris makes your fence look dingy. A pressure washer set to a low setting is the quickest way to clean your fence. You want just enough pressure to blast off dirt without removing the sealer or splintering the wood. You can also scrub the fence with a stiff brush, if you prefer to skip the pressure washer.
Tip #2: Watch for Mildew
Mildew, mold and algae can also grow on wood. This is a sign of moisture, one of the most damaging things to a wood fence. Although some moisture is normal, mildew and it's comrades can trap moisture and cause rot or ugly discolorations. A dilute bleach solution or a commercial mildew remover and a bit of scrubbing can remove both the mildew and the stains. You may also need to trim back bushes or remove debris that is trapping the moisture on the fence so that the mildew doesn't regrow.
Tip #3: Stain and Seal
Wood boards will naturally age and change color. They may also develop unattractive aging discolorations if they aren't stained. The most common cause is the quicker-aging areas that form because they are hit by sprinkler over-spray. One way to avoid this is to stain your wood the color of choice and then reapply the stain every few years when aging begins to form. A wood sealer is also a good idea whether you stain or leave the wood natural. Reapply the sealer every one to two years, or when water is no longer beading up on the wood surface.
Tip #4: Check the Hardware
The hardware on your wood fence also requires some occasional maintenance. Walk the fence line each spring and check for missing or loose screws and nails. Replace these with outdoor wood screws, which are treated to prevent rusting and corrosion. You will also want to check all hinges and latches to make sure they are working properly. These may need a bit of lubrication to ensure they are moving smoothly.
If you find major damage or decide to replace the fence, contact a local fencing company.