Spend a Little Time Maintaining Your Fence
There are several ways to keep your existing wood fence in good condition and here are a few tips for you. After all, the wood fence around your home is often the second biggest investment you have in your house. Since new fence construction can run anywhere from $17 – $20 a linear foot, it’s a good idea to spend a little time maintaining your fence.
Take an afternoon and do an inspection of your wood fence. How about your fence posts? Are the 4X4 fence posts in good shape or are some leaning or somewhat out of the ground. Making sure your fence is level is always a good place to start. In warmer climates, some of your fence posts may have rotted a bit and not have the strength they once had. In colder climates, sometimes extreme freezes actually heave the post out of the ground after a few freezing cycles.
If you do have to replace a post, it is not always necessary to concrete in a fence post. Some fence builders use concrete every time and some never use it. Also, sometimes crushed rock will do the job of securing a fence post. By the way, most fence posts are buried two feet into the ground and most fence posts are treated lumber. Treated lumber will last longer than untreated.
A tip on keeping your post in the ground is to make the bottom of the hole bigger than the top. If your fence holes look like an ice cream cone, a freeze will push the post right out of the ground. On the other hand, keeping the hole larger at the bottom will prevent that from happening. Just keep that if you have to set a new fence post.
Next in your inspection, move on to making sure the fence boards are all nailed in. I sometimes use screws to repair a fence board just because the board needs to fit extra tight. You can use 3″ drywall screws or some type of decking screw that will not rust. Some of your boards will need to be replaced. Get the folks at the hardware store or fence supply company to recommend the type of wood to go back with as far as a fence board is concerned. Cedar is usually a good choice in all climates. Pine is usually less expensive.
Your fence will begin to lose it’s natural wood appearance after a year out in the weather. To restore a fence is much easier than rebuilding, but applying stain can be a messy job if not done properly. Also, using a pump up garden sprayer can lead to the stain having runs down the boards just like in painting. It can be done over a period of time for a do-it-yourself job, but sometimes it’s better to call a professional fence stainer for that job.
One more important point is to make sure you are building your fence on your property. Don’t encroach on your neighbor. They might appreciate you building them a fence for free and you may end up building another fence right next to it.