One key feature of your property that everyone will see is your fence.
We’ve all probably driven around a neighborhood and spotted a fence or two that could use a good bit of TLC. But, what many homeowners fail to realize is that your fence is a huge feature, and it ties the property and your home together as one unit.
While fences serve a variety of purposes such as providing privacy and adding a sense of style, once a fence is installed it’s usually left to withstand the elements on its own. Leaving a fence unmaintained is what will cause you to spend much more money to fix it than you did to install it.
Here, we’ll explore a few practices you can implement in order to keep your fence in good shape for years to come.
Check For Problems
It’s a fairly simple process to walk around the perimeter of your property and inspect your fence. But, you’ll need to do more than just look around. This is a hands-on job.
As you survey your fence for possible problem areas, pay attention to the posts and to the ground around them. Look for signs of rotting wood, built-up soil erosion, and saturated wood. Shake the fence in spots to check rigidity. If you have too much play in a section, this is where you’ll want to focus your attention.
Any saturated wood will rot over time, and this is one of the major causes of a wobbling, sagging, or leaning fence. Remove any rotten or saturated posts or boards and replace them first, prior to doing any other exterior work.
While you might use a weed-eater around your fence, keep in mind that this tool will strip away at the wood near the bottom of your fence over time, making it weaker.
Additionally, weeds that grow near your fence base can also cause undue wear over time, and a weed-eater only trims them back, leaving the problem to keep growing.
It’s best to pull all weeds from the roots up. This will ensure that they don’t return and repopulate. You can also use an herbicide, but this should come with a note of caution. Many chemical herbicides such as Roundup contain cancer-causing agents, and this has affected many people, leading them to seek litigation against the manufacturer.
Instead of chemical herbicides, pulling the weeds by hand is your best solution aside from natural herbicidal solutions like vinegar or salt water.
Now comes the fun part. Once you’ve isolated the problem areas and replaced boards and posts, it’s time to protect your fence from the elements.
While many homeowners like to paint their fence to match the color or the trim of the home, simply treating your fence with weather sealant will ensure that it stays strong into the future.
This can be done after staining the fence if you desire. Stains hold a rich finish and allow your fence to stand out from the grey, worn look; a precursor to the overall demise of your fence.
In addition to all of the above, while you’re treating your fence, look for any signs of termite damage and for nearby anthills. Removing these invasive pests will save you money from having to replace boards.
After treating your fence, it’s time to tighten up.
Once you’ve fixed all the loose boards and removed all pests, cut back any nearby limbs that could fall or otherwise damage the fence. This also helps to mitigate the growth of any creeping vines that could work into the cracks of the fence and cause damage over time.
A fence is an investment. Just like the roof of your home, it needs to be maintained annually and most of the time, you’ll need to perform significant repairs a few years after building it. But, this should be treated as a part of the home, because truly it is.
Take care of your fence, as this seemingly plain wooden border has the ability to tie a property together, and to bring out the overall beauty of the landscape when properly cared for and maintained.