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How Long Should A Wooden Fence Last

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  • 15-03-2022
How Long Should A Wooden Fence Last

Are you considering a garden fence installation. One question often asked is: how long should a wooden fence last? We look at the options for fencing materials and methods for maintaining it to last longer.

How Long Do Wood Fences Last?

Fences are predominantly built from wood types, such as Cedar, Pine and Spruce, as these tend to be the most popular timber for various reasons.

Your garden or backyard fences longevity often has a great deal to do with the materials they are built from. Spruce tends to last around 4-7 years, Cedar can last 15-30 years, and Pine can last approximately 5-12 years. 

Treated wood fencing is an entirely different story. It increases longevity; for example, treated spruce could last around 20 years and Cedar for about 40 years. However, the only downfall of such lifespans is that treated wood can be susceptible to too much moisture.

If you find that your pickets or panels touch the ground or your plants, they can be significantly affected by the water in the soil or from excessive watering. It dramatically reduces the lifespan by three years or so. 

How Long Should A Wooden Fence Last?

To avoid such issues, ensure your wooden fencing posts are frequently treated, dried and stained with a product that locks in the necessary moisture.

You want to ensure you place gravel filler or concrete into each of your post holes to ensure they are properly installed to keep moisture out. 

Annual Fencing Maintenance

Approximately once each year, you may need to wander the perimeter of your fence, looking for warping boards, split rails, loose nails, cracking, rotting or any loose nails. Most wooden fences are relatively low maintenance. 

If you begin to spot any issues or trouble areas, you must seek ways of replacing or repairing them as soon as possible. Spotting problems early enables you to effectively prevent ongoing damage from spreading in the future or as the year progresses and cold seasons approach.

It is best to keep shrubbery and vines away from your fences and keep a close eye on tree roots; they may begin to uproot the base of your fence.

Beauty bark is known to trap plenty of moisture in, so strive not to lay it against one side of the bottom; it will rapidly increase the potential of your fence rotting. 

farm-fence - Annual Fencing Maintenance

Annual maintenance means that every few years, alongside inspection, you should thoroughly clean your wooden fences with a pressure washer or jet wash.

Cleaning will allow you to remove any dirt, moss and mud or built-up grime. Once clean, you need to reseal the fence with paint, stain or sealant. The process will add years to your beautiful fence, making it appear brand-new and fresh for the rest of the year. 

Fence Material Quality

Fence Material Quality

Typically, your fence's material and overall quality will affect its lifespan.

Often, you'll find that most new fences on the UK market are built from Redwood, Douglas fir and Cedar; out of the most commonly used types of lumber, these three tend to be more resistant to fungal decay than various others.

Many professionals in the industry prefer to use pressure-treated posts compared to non-pressure treated because the material acts as more of an insect-deterrent, preventing your plants or vegetable garden from being invaded by pests and all manner of insects. Non-pressure treated wood provides a material that extends the lifespan of your fence. 

Modern wood for fences and other outdoor builds has grown massively in popularity, and therefore, a significant pitfall that many customers face is the quality of wood has decreased. It is now a far more mass-produced product, and its value has suffered for the sake of expediency.

Often, you'll discover that boards and panels are cut much thinner, making them more prone to weathering and wear; younger, weaker trees are being harvested so that companies can meet their quota, and grading has severely slacked. Pressure-treated posts can now fail as early as five years. 

Further Fencing Considerations

Inspecting your fence regularly will help you look for any signs of damage or need for immediate repair. Early on, detecting issues with any household boundary, appliance, or everyday objects makes it much easier and cheaper to fix aspects in the long run.

If you wish to ensure or lengthen the overall longevity of your wooden fence, you may want to begin by walking all around the fences of your property; search for rot or damage.

If you have detected significant issues, you'll want to replace any hammer-in nails, broken boards or panels and tighten any screws. These are all aspects that you can DIY if you have the skills to do so; however, you may wish to contact a professional who can assist you if you do not.

Carefully assess each wood section of your fence, ensuring it is adequately and tightly attached to those beside it.

If you discover any part of your wood or vinyl fences are leaning, you'll want to check that each post is planted firmly into the ground.

If you find that your posts are in a relatively poor condition or not as durable as they were previously, you must take action to repair them; you can do so through any means, via a professional or on your own.

You may believe that DIY is the cheapest option if you have the skills to do so; however, when issues are spotted early enough, they are often of a much more reasonable price.

It's a wise idea to look at your gates locks and hinges; they must be correctly lined up and completely secure to ensure your security and privacy. If they are stiff to move, you can utilise automotive grease to lubricate the necessary areas, encouraging them to move more freely.

You may be aware that pressure-treated wood isn't the most waterproof fence material out there for customers. Such knowledge, however, can affect how you go about maintaining your fences. We highly encourage that you avoid adding further moisture to your wood when going about fence or gardening tasks.

Try to adjust the settings on any jets or sprinklers in your garden or backyard; ensure they are not set at a force that could get your fence wet, causing moss to grow or your wood rots over time. Be sure to trim back any vines or bushes, so they don't linger or hang over your fence; when they are watered, shrubs can provide additional weight as they hold onto water for long periods. 

Every 2-3 years, ensure you clean all wooden fences, as this will help you avoid mildew, dirt and moss, alongside removing any greying that has occurred from sun damage. It's best to use a water-repellent, UV inhibiting coating to seal any cleaning you've completed.

After you or your professional contractor has finished up any essential repairs, you need to scrape off any peeling paint or moss that you may discover; ensure you do so until you see the wood properly again. 

For those that notice significant amounts of mould across your fences, you may want to try mixing 80% of a mild detergent and 20% of bleach; use that by spraying it along the structure of the fence, preferably an hour before you begin washing it. Such methods help kill your apparent mould spores and prevent them from regrowing. 

Ensure you reapply any stains or new layers of paint approximately every 3-5 years. It would be best to utilise either exterior latex paint or a more oil-based stain; these products will allow you to prevent your wood rotting and rusting. It also helps limit the amount of wood weathering and help seal the moisture without it being too abrasive.

It is paramount to decide on an appropriate sealant or stain with an efficient UV inhibitor; this hinders your wood from progressively turning grey due to damage from UV rays. You must ensure your wood dries for at least a week before you begin applying any sealant or stain; if your painted fence is too tacky, the colour could affect your chosen colour.

For those that require a fence replacement or repairs, you must call your local professionals and contractors. They can offer you a free quote estimate and then proceed with any tasks that need completing. 

Suppose you are desperately searching for a fencing material that will last with as little maintenance as possible, perhaps because you don't have the time or aren't physically capable of keeping up care. In that case, you may wish to consider options, such as vinyl fencing. 

Are you looking for garden fencing near you? If you require garden fencing in Milton Keynes, or the surrounding areas of Buckinghamshire contact us today. 

Our garden design experts can supply and install a beautiful garden fence for you and your family to enjoy for years to come.