Tips and Tricks for Long-Lasting Fences
Installing a new fence can be a big investment. Because you want that investment to last, it’s important to keep it in good shape. Regular fence maintenance can preserve your fence’s structural integrity and keep it looking great, maintaining both security and curb appeal for years to come. However, not all fencing materials are made the same. Each requires specific care to get the best results.
One of the most common questions we get from our clients regards proper fence maintenance. In this blog, we’ll take a look at valuable tips and tricks for maintaining different fence types, including wood, composite, aluminum, steel, PVC, and chain link.
Wood Fence Maintenance
One of the most popular fence materials, wood adds charm to any landscape. Its design versatility means you’ll find wood fences in styles ranging from picket to ranch rail to stockade privacy. However, wood requires consistent maintenance to protect it from the elements, especially in our hot and humid southern climate. Follow these tips to keep your wood fence in tip-top condition:
- Regular Cleaning: Clean your wood fence once a year using mild detergent, warm water, and a soft brush or sponge. Although it may be tempting to power wash, avoid doing this as it can damage the wood.
- Protect Against Pests: Insects like carpenter bees and termites can wreak havoc on wood fences. Both pesticide applications and oil-based stains can help prevent infestations. If you do spot an affected area, treat and repair it promptly.
- Sealing, Painting, and Staining: Applying a new coat of paint, stain, or sealant every 2-3 years can protect your wood fence from moisture and UV rays. This will help reduce problems like warping, cracking, and rotting.
- Maintain Vegetation: Shrubs or vines growing near or on your wood fence will trap moisture, leading to rot or other damage. Keep vegetation trimmed away to preserve the integrity of your wood.
Caring for Composite
As an alternative to wood, composite offers the same warmth and charm without all the upkeep. That’s because composite is made from a blend of recycled wood fibers and plastic. Keeping your composite fence looking great is a breeze if you follow these simple steps:
- Annual Cleaning: Like their wood counterparts, composite fences benefit from a yearly wash with mild detergent and warm water to remove dirt and buildup. Use a soft brush or sponge to avoid scratching the surface.
- Remove Mold and Mildew: If your fence is in a shady location, it may be prone to mold and mildew. Remove this with a traditional fence cleaner that contains bleach.
- Avoid Power Washing: Like wood, composite fences can be damaged from power washing. In some cases, it can even void the manufacturer’s warranty.
- Look for Signs of Wear and Tear: Although composite fences are quite durable and can last for up to 30 years, time and exposure can cause deterioration. If you notice any problem areas, be sure to repair them promptly. This will help avoid further damage.
Maintaining Your Aluminum Fence
Increasingly popular with both commercial and residential property owners, aluminum fences are know for durability, elegance, and low maintenance needs. To keep your aluminum fence looking its best, a little effort goes a long way:
- Wash Yearly: Like other fence materials, aluminum fences benefit from regular cleaning with mild detergent and warm water. Use a gentle brush or sponge and rinse clean.
- Prioritize Rust Prevention: The aluminum in fences is powder coated to help resist rust and corrosion. However, that coating can chip. If this happens, use a paint made for aluminum fences to touch up the damaged spots. After it dries, apply a protective coat of wax ( like car wax) and wipe off the excess with a soft cloth.
- Check for Damage: Despite their durability, aluminum fences aren’t immune to damage. Loose screws and bent or broken pickets should be replaced as soon as possible to maintain your fence’s strength. It’s also a good idea to apply silicon lubricant to your gate hinges each spring.
- Trim Nearby Vegetation: Overgrown plants can scratch your aluminum fence’s surface, trap moisture, and prevent proper air circulation. Keep nearby vegetation well-maintained to avoid unnecessary damage.
Steel Fence Maintenance
Steel fences provide superior security thanks to their sturdy construction. To make sure they last as long as possible, follow these easy maintenance tips:
- Annual Cleaning: Remove grime or dirt with a gentle cleanser and warm water, and then rinse clean.
- Don’t Overlook Rust: Because rust is perhaps the biggest threat to a steel fence’s longevity, it’s important to treat it with a rust converter, followed by rust-resistant paint.
- Check for Damage: Loose bolts, bent panels and corrosion can all shorten your fence’s lifespan. Repair or replace any damaged parts promptly to keep your fence in the best possible shape.
- Lubricate Hinges: A silicon-based lubricant applied to hinges and other moving parts will prevent rust and ensure your gates work smoothly.
PVC/Vinyl Fence Maintenance Made Easy
When it comes to low maintenance needs, it’s tough to beat a PVC fence. To keep these long-lasting fences in top condition, these simple maintenance tasks will do the trick:
- Clean Regularly: Once a year, wash your PVC/vinyl fence with soapy water and rinse thoroughly. As with other fence materials, it’s best to avoid abrasive cleaners or brushes to avoid damaging the surface.
- Remove Mildew and Stains: A mixture of vinegar and water will remove mildew or stubborn stains. Apply with a spray bottle and follow with a gentle scrubbing before rinsing.
- Help Prevent Fading: One downside to vinyl is that it can fade in bright sunlight. To help maintain your fence’s color, apply a UV protectant.
- Protect from Damage: While PVC is quite durable, the panels are subject to breakage or cracks if hit by something heavy. Trim nearby trees to avoid damage from falling branches.
Maintaining a Chain Link Fence
Chain link has long been a popular fencing material due to its affordability, longevity, and strength. They require minimal upkeep, but will benefit from the following tips:
- Clean Annually: Cleaning a chain link fence is as simple as hosing it off once a year to remove dirt, dust, and grime.
- Rust Prevention: Because chain link is made from steel, it’s important to treat rust as soon as you see it. Use a rust remover followed by a rust resistant paint or primer.
- Repair Damage: Bent or broken wires or sagging fence sections should be repaired or replaced promptly to keep your chain link fence secure.
- Control Vegetation: Vines or other plants growing on or near your fence can lead to rust or other damage. Keep vegetation cleared away to avoid these problems.
Proper maintenance is essential to keeping your fence looking great and functioning as it should. If you have questions, need fencing materials or fence maintenance services, contact a fencing professional at First Fence of Georgia.