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Five Maintenance Tasks That Prolong The Life Of A Fence

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1. Seasonal Inspections

Every season comes with its own risk. Winter, for example, may result in loose posts or popped nails due to the freeze-thaw cycles. Spring and fall often bring wind and rain, which can blow down fence panels or lead to rot. Summer heat can cause wood boards to crack. Walk your fence line on both sides at least once per season. Check that the board, posts, and rails are in good condition with no signs of rot or exposed wood. Further, check the hardware and verify that everything is secure.

2. Brush Management

Bushes, grasses, and other garden plants can lead to fence damage. Wood plants like bushes and trees may grow through a fence and then force the pickets apart, resulting in cracks or gaps. Overhanging tree branches can fall and damage fencing. Plants that grow right up against the fence trap moisture, which can lead to a failed seal and rot. Keep brush trimmed away from the fence to avoid these problems. You may need to install trellising or supports for your plants to help with this task.

3. Painting and Sealing

Both wood and metal fences must have a paint or sealer applied to prevent damage. Wood is prone to rot if it is exposed to moisture, while moisture will cause metal fences to rust or corrode. How often sealers or paint need reapplication depends on how much weathering exposure the fence undergoes. Generally, if you can see bare metal or wood, or if moisture soaks into a wood picket, then it is time to reapply the sealer or paint. You will need to remove rust or replace any damaged boards before completing this task.

4. Regular Cleaning

Dirt on a fence isn't just unattractive, it can also be damaging. Both bird droppings and air pollutants contain acids that can eat through paint or even metal, for example. Hose off your fence regularly to remove surface dirt. It's also a good idea to pressure the wash the fence periodically, typically before repainting or resealing the pickets. Pressure washing can remove the remainder of the old sealer while also ensuring you have a perfectly clean surface for the reapplication.

5. Replace Damaged Components

Never put off the replacement or repair of a damaged picket or fence rail. On a wood fence a single rotting board can lead to a completely rotted fence in short order if the problem board isn't replaced. Even metal fence rust can spread beneath the remaining paint if the area isn't cleaned and repainted promptly.

Contact a fencing company like Gatlin Fence Company in your area for more help.