So. . . you have a natural wood fence that has done so well for you over the years. You’ve kept up with treatments and maintenance as much as possible, and now you are wondering if just one more coat can make it hold out a bit longer for you, until you can afford to replace it. Sadly, there comes a time when all wood fencing reaches the end of its life. Wood is a natural, slowly decaying product and there is only so much we can do to make it last. At first glance, it can be difficult to tell whether the fence is still in a decent enough shape and can/should be stained. Here are some signs that your fence might be beyond help with the use of treatments, and it just needs to be fully replaced.
ROT- Do you notice any wood that is deteriorating on your fence? Look past any green moss or mildew (which can be washed away) and get down the true wood. Is it still intact, or is it coming apart and squishing beneath your fingers? Rotted wood cannot be stained or painted.
HOLDING EXCESS MOISTURE- If the wood on your fence is in a generally damp condition most of the time, this could be a sign that the wood is in a poor state and even rotting away. Look for signs of fungus as well. All point to a fence that is too old for any treatment on the market to make a difference.
FALLING/LEANING SECTIONS- If your fence is beginning to lean in places, it is a sign that the posts no longer have good integrity. Your entire fence is now at risk in a variety of ways and should be replaced. Some companies might install new posts and piece the sections back together. But if the posts are going, it is only a matter of time before the slats and boards that make up the sections go too. It might be time for a replacement.
EXCESSIVE WARPING, SPLITTING, OR TWISTING IN BOARDS AND GATES- All are signs that the fence has lost its overall integrity. You can stress test boards and posts by giving them a good shake. Do they stand firm? Or do they wobble, shake, or break under your weight?
MISSING HARDWARE AND NAILS- This is a good sign that your fence is at least in need of some repairs before another coat of stain can be applied. If nails begin to simply fall out of the holes, you should consider that the wood may be rotting from the inside.
Additional thoughts on staining/painting
Even if your fence has passed the test of time, consider washing it or making repairs before staining to get the most out of each treatment. Use a power washer with just water or with the addition of some mild soap to give it a good cleaning. It is also very important that you allow the fence to properly dry out before applying any treatment.
You can find more tips on this topic by visiting our other blogs. . .
If you read through this and are thinking “my fence is in trouble.” Give us a call! We would love to give you a free estimate to replace it. 301-663-4000