Preventive Maintenance for a Wooden Fence

by Dollar Stretcher Contributors

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Preventive Maintenance for a Wooden Fence

We recently installed a wooden privacy fence and I love it. It wasn't cheap, so we obviously want to keep it looking as good as possible for as long as possible. I assume there are some maintenance tasks we can perform routinely to lengthen its life just as you would a wooden deck. How often should we reseal it? And can termites be a problem with a wooden fence? Also, a few of our sprinklers spray directly on the fence. Can that cause rotting? Thanks in advance for any great advice.

Keep Fence Clean

Initially I would spray the fence with Quick n Brite and scrub it. I tried a few different sealers. The worst was Wolman Raincoat and the best I found was an off brand from Big Lots. Then I found a power sprayer, which used a lot of water but eliminated the scrubbing!

I cleaned it about every two years and it still looked new after 20 years. My neighbor put up two fences in that time and each always ended up looking gray and weathered.

I used wolmanized lumber, so I never had a problem with rot or termites. The fence was 25' wide and about 45' long.

Fences and Sprinklers

Regarding your question about sprinklers spraying on it, adjust them so they don't, because spray will cause those areas to get lime, salts, and other problems much sooner than the rest of it. I no longer use a surface sealer for any of my wood fencing or decking. Instead, I use a penetrating sealer called Penofin, which sinks into the wood and allows it to become stronger, as well as having insecticide in it to prevent damage. I do it one year, a repeat coat the next, and then don't have to do anything to it for several years after that. The other advantage of it is when I do need to retreat, I don't have to sand or strip the top coat.

Treat Fence With Deck Sealant

Treat the wood with deck sealant if you can't find anything else. Treat it like a wooden deck. After all, it's basically the same thing. Don't forget to treat the tops and sides of each plank, as well as the back side. (You will have to ask your neighbor if you can enter his yard to treat the wood.)

You should adjust your sprinkler, so it doesn't hit the fence. Let the water fall about six inches before the fence. Your yard won't die, unless you live in the desert. Plenty of water will leach from the soil. Ask your neighbors to do the same, so you don't get rot from the other side.

Termites and carpenter ants can be a problem in any wood, depending on conditions. Calling your local bug guy is the best way to find out details in your particular area.

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