Earlier this month, we talked about some spring cleaning tips to bring your dingy old deck back to life. Well, today we’re putting the big league spring cleaning projects to bed with one other addition: your fence! If your house has a wooden fence – whether you installed it yourself or it was there when you bought the place – there are some basic things you can do to keep your fence as a beautiful addition to the exterior of your home for years to come.
Keeping It Together
The first step to revitalizing your fence is to make any necessary repairs. Replacing broken slats with new ones is incredibly important, as each board is integral to the structure of your fence. Broken slats can result in more weight and stress being put on other parts of your fence, which can have a domino effect as more and more wood literally cracks under the pressure. If your wood is warped or splitting, but not yet broken, it’s a good practice to just replace it early.
While you’re going through the repair process, you’ll also want to make sure that any nails and screws are holding properly. Loose wood screws should be replaced, using either a different placement, and the old holes filled with a wood filler to avoid leaving an extra opening for moisture to invade and rot the wood. Nails should be hammered in if they’ve popped out slightly, or replaced if they’ve come out a significant amount or are bent at all.
Get Your Stain On… Again
If your fence is made out of pressure-treated wood, it shouldn’t need to be stained; however, applying a preventive coat of a good quality weatherproofing solution should help maintain the protective seal against the elements.
Untreated wood that was previously stained is a different ball game. Just like with your deck, if the stain or sealing coat is worn down, you may have to refinish the wood to maximize the life expectancy of your fence. Once you’ve cleaned the fence thoroughly, break that handheld orbital sander back out and remove the top layer of stain and wood until you’ve got a nice smooth surface to work with. Then, as before, grab a brush and go to town with your stain of choice to get your fence looking good as new.
The easiest way to handle fence maintenance, as with most things, is to prevent the most common sources of damage. Making sure your fence isn’t in the line of fire of your sprinkler can help avoid an uneven wear on the protective coat of sealant that you just applied. Additionally, keeping your fence free of vines and other creeping plants will help you to avoid vegetation damage.