How To Maintain A Wood Fence

Now that you have installed wood fence, you need protect and maintain your investment to keep the fence looking great and functioning well. Because the fence posts are placed in the ground and are exposed to insects and moisture, wood fence posts should be constructed with pressure-treated lumber, which means that the wood is pre-treated to resist rot and insect damage. The pickets or boards may not be pressure-treated, so you must apply some type of treatment to make the wood more durable and resistant to the elements.

5 steps to inspect a wood fence

  1. Before doing any cleaning, inspect your fence from top to bottom, end to end.
  2. Walk along the entire fence, looking for cracked or warped boards.
  3. By hand, gently check for stability along the fence. If you discover any loose bolts, brackets, or screws, go ahead and tighten those areas so that they do not loosen further during the cleaning process.
  4. Look for any pest or water damage, such as holes, soft wood, or little piles of sawdust or sand-like material at the bottom of posts, pickets, or boards.
  5. Look for insect or wasp nests every few months.

Cleaning a wood fence

  1. Remove any vines, limbs, or other plant growth from the fence.
  2. Brush the fence to remove any loose dirt.
  3. Apply a cleaner made for cleaning wood decks and fences on all surfaces of the wood fence.
  4. Allow the cleaner to remain on the wood for the recommended amount of time (check the cleaning solution label).
  5. Consider applying a mildewcide if the cleaner does not include a mildew killer in the formulation.
  6. Scrub the fence with a brush or wash with a pressure washer.
  7. Allow to dry for one to two days before applying sealant, paint or UV stabilizer.

Pressure washing a wood fence

  1. Using a pressure washer will actually increase the fence’s absorption of any sealant/protectants that you will apply to the surface of the wood.
  2. Use a pressure washer with a rating of 1,000 to 2,000 PSI.
  3. If you are new to pressure washers, practice using the pressure washer before washing the wood fence.
  4. Use a wide angle tip – greater than 40 degrees.
  5. Keep the washer nozzle 12 to 18 inches away from the wood.
  6. Keep the washer nozzle in constant motion while washing the wood. Word of caution: Pressure washers are quite forceful. Keeping the nozzle in one place can and will damage the wood. It will also create an inconsistent finish on the wood, making it appear uneven.

Finishing up

  1. After cleaning your wood fence, wait one to two days, then make any necessary repairs to the fence posts, brackets, boards, etc.
  2. Once all repairs are complete, you must apply a stain, paint or stabilizer to protect the wood fence.
  3. Check the fence posts, pickets, and panels once more for stability in case power washing created any loose brackets or bolts.

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