Saturday, May 19, 2012

Time for Spring Maintenance

With spring approaching, it is a good time to start thinking about home maintenance and repair. While there are many things on the to do list, one item that is often neglected is your wood fence which should have a yearly maintenance schedule. This maintenance is very important to prolonging the life and beauty of your wood fence. Ignore it and your fence will crack, peel and twist to the point where replacement of some if not all of it’s components becomes necessary. A few replacement boards may not be a huge expense, but when it becomes necessary to replace boards, rails and posts, this can become quite costly. In some cases, the entire fence may have to be torn down and re-built. But with proper care, these expenses can be avoided. The following is a quick yearly checklist that will help your fence last for many years:

  1. Moisture is your fence’s biggest enemy.
      A. Redirect any water from your sprinkler system away from your fence, even if it            
           means relocation of your sprinkler heads. Sprinklers should be directed away
           from your fence in the same way that they should be directed away from your
           house. This initial cost will save you a bundle by avoiding future costs.
      B. Remove all grass and weeds that come in contact with any part of your fence.
          These can hold moisture against your fence causing mold and mildew and
          eventually the wood will begin to deteriorate.
          A good weed-eater can be your best friend.
  1. Inspect for loose boards. Replace and re-nail as needed.
  2. Tighten all loose bolts and screws. Pay special attention to gate hardware. It gets the most use.
  3. Finally, clean all surfaces. Remove loose paint with a wire brush or pressure washer. Make sure all surfaces have dried and re-seal, re-stain, or re-paint. There are many good products available. Check with your local hardware store.

If you do find it necessary to replace portions of your wood fence, consider first replacing the posts with galvanized metal. There are many types of post brackets available that make it easy to attach the wood fence and you won’t ever have to worry again about wood fence posts rotting and eventually breaking off. Another advantage of metal fence posts is not having to worry about damage caused by a weed eater. Of course you can always build a new fence using vinyl products. Vinyl fences come in various designs, textures and colors and are virtually maintenance free. Just wash them off once in a while and they will look new for a long time. 

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