Wood fence remains one of the most popular fence materials home and business owners use to surround their property; however, they do have a limited life span compared to other materials such as vinyl, aluminum or wrought iron. Chances are if you’ve purchased an older home with a wood fence around it, you may notice more signs of aging on your fence than the indoors as many home sellers tend to concentrate on renovating the indoors for resale. Sometimes you can repair a wood fence when a board or two tends to warp or if a post gets damaged during severe weather conditions such as a wind storm or heavy snow. And then there’s that point at which you just need to recognize that you may need to replace either an entire section or the complete fence.
Common Problems for Wood Fence Owners
Since wood fence comes from nature, it’s subject to nature’s laws and does not last forever, no matter how much care you put into maintaining your fence. Yes, you can seal and stain it (and we recommend you do that to prolong its life), but over time the elements can take their toll on the fence itself. In the Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia area, we’ve seen harsher winters, wetter springs and summers and chillier falls (which makes it seem as if we’ve traded places with the north west pacific areas like Seattle and Portland!) and all that constant moisture lessens the durability of a wood fence over time. Combine that with insects and short but radical shifts in temperature, and your fence is more likely to warp, splinter, bow or become discolored.
Not all wood sources are created equal; some wood fence materials tend to deteriorate more quickly. Frederick Fence customers benefit from wood fences that can last several decades as we use a higher grade of wood such as western red cedar, pressure-treated southern yellow pine, oak and black locust. One of the best things you can do before investing in a wood fence is research the type of wood used to make it. For example, you should refrain from ever building a fence with red oak as it’s considered an inferior wood and is highly unsuitable for fence posts.
Signs It’s Time for a New Wood Fence
When you notice that several sections of fence are leaning, you can often strengthen the fence again with new wood posts. But when the sections are simply falling down, then it might be time to consider a new fence. Once you reach that stage where pickets and boards are falling off or missing, a new fence often outweighs the cost of frequent repairs.
If your fence is more than eighteen years old and begins showing signs of rapid decline, you may also wish to consider replacing the fence. Once a fence approaches its second decade, chances are nature has run its course and it may be time to say goodbye. A good rule of thumb is that if you have to replace more than 20 to 25% of your fence’s panels or pickets, you’re better off having the entire fence removed and either replacing it with a new wood one or a more durable material like vinyl.
Still, some home owners prefer the rustic and natural look that a fence offers. They are indeed gorgeous works of art when carefully constructed and beautifully maintained. If you happen to live in an area where you have a choice of materials, wood can be a great option. Many newer home communities tend to favor a mixture of vinyl or aluminum and both offer major advantages over wood fence. But if your heart is set on that natural look and feel or if your budget is not ready to fence in a large sprawling area with costly materials, wood fences remain a wonderful option!
Ready for a New Wood Fence?
If you’re in the market for a new wood fence or in need of wood fence repair, our Frederick Fence team is here for you! Click on our chat feature, give us a call at 1-800-49-FENCE or stop by our headquarters and lumber yard at Tilco Drive and we’ll be more than happy to give you a free price quote and then take care of the entire installation process from start to finish! If you’re a DIY enthusiast and just need materials, we are always happy to assist you with your home fence project and give you all the details that go into building a wood fence that will last a long time!