A wooden fence is a big investment in both time and money. It’s for this very reason that you’ll want to make sure your big investment stands the test of time. If you properly care for your new wooden fence, it can last for decades. Let’s face it— nothing is quite as beautiful, natural and warm as a real wooden fence. However, due to its natural properties, it’s not the strongest product on the market, especially when constantly exposed to natural elements.
The weather, in particular, is a true enemy of natural wood, and you have to make sure it’s protected. Understanding the potential problems that lurk outside your home can greatly improve your ability to take care of your fence. Let’s cover the main threats with which your wooden fence will have to contend.
Wet and Dry Rot
Both wet and dry rot are absolute killers, capable of destroying your fence completely in no time. They are both a type of fungus that eats away at wood, compromising its overall structural integrity. Lucky for you, it’s fairly easy to ensure your fence is fully protected against both issues.
Dry rot is the more common of the two. Contrary to what you might think, however, dry rot doesn’t happen in really dry wood—the wood has to be moist. It occurs when the oils inside the wood are loosened due to water intrusion. Dry rot fungal issues are serious business! As a result of the oils being removed from the wood, the wood dries out and becomes extremely brittle; you can imagine how this can compromise your fence’s structural integrity.
When water meets wood, things get bad quickly. Wet rot, as the name suggests, occurs to wood in damp conditions. Basically, it’s wood that’s decaying naturally in the presence of high moisture levels (most likely because the wood is in constant contact with water); the wood loses more and more of its strength as the fungal spores germinate and spread. It’s more commonly found where your fence posts are put into the ground.
Put a Stop to the Rot
The first step to stop your fence from being susceptible to wet and dry rot is rather simple (and straightforward): stain it. The sooner the better! If possible, stain your fence as soon as you put it up. The best stains to use are either solid or semi-transparent. Why are stains so important? That’s easy: it essentially replicates the bark of the tree, which is removed during the lumbering process. The soft natural fibers that comprise the wood have to be protected from the elements to prevent them from being damaged.
Another important step you can take to prolong your fence’s life is to make sure it’s always clear of debris. Leaves and other debris trap moisture, which means your fence could be affected by wet or dry rot much quicker.
Exposure to nature’s elements can turn your beautiful new wooden fence gray and dull in no time. If left untreated, the damage will take even less time. With a little hard work, it’s possible to restore a now-dingy fence’s appearance while protecting it from future damage at the same time; however, if your fence is new (and you want to keep it looking that way), taking the proper steps to keep it looking new will save you a lot of extra work down the road.
Wooden fences offer some of the most popular and beautiful materials available today. Our Northeastern Fences team would love to discuss your fencing needs to help you make the best choice for you as well as to help you keep it in pristine condition longer. Give us a call today to see how we can help!