Luckily, fences don’t require a ton of maintenance but that doesn’t mean they are maintenance free. Depending on the type of fence materials you’re working with, you may be dealing with various levels of work to keep your fence standing tall.
Regardless, most fence types and materials don’t require any sort of weekly or monthly upkeep if installed properly. But, if you’re looking to get the most out of your fence’s lifespan and get a bigger bang for your buck — there are some maintenance steps you should take for a longer lasting fence.
For All Fences
There are a few items on the checklist that apply for nearly all fence types, styles, and materials so we’ll cover them first. These are simple steps you can take to prevent further issues down the road and keep your fence looking brand new.
Keep an eye out for wear and tear is just a nice friendly reminder that you’ll have to be a bit diligent in spotting any issues before they become full-blown problems. A simple stroll down your fence line to check for any damage. Be extra mindful of any scratches or scrapes on metal fences because this will allow for oxidation and rust if unchecked. And also look out for chipping or cracking in wooden fences to prevent rotting. But regardless of the fence type, just make a note of any of these types of wear and tear.
Take care of dirt or debris straightaway. Obviously, a dirty fence isn’t a beautiful one, but keeping tree limbs or grass trimmings off of your fence is actually a necessary step on the checklist. Grass trimmings can cause algae stains over time especially on vinyl, so giving your fence a good wash every once in a while is a must. A quick hose down or even just a light scrub with a sponge should do the trick.
Wooden Fence Maintenance
As we mentioned, wooden fences require the most upkeep because they are susceptible to so many problems. While we don’t recommend these, we can help you maintain them some necessary steps.
Staining your fence is always recommended after installation and at least once a year. This will help prevent rotting (both dry and wet) from occurring. Dry rot happens when your fence essential oils that protect itself and becomes dried out and fragile. Wet rot is almost inevitable if your fence is exposed to a lot of moisture. Staining helps trap these oils in and protects from outside exposure.
Keep your fence clean from debris and dirt. We mentioned this in the “all around” category, but it’s even more important with wood because these can lead to rot. A pressure washer with a solution of white vinegar is your best bet.
Look for any rot on wooden fences. Rot and water damage is a huge issue with wooden fences, which are just a few of the many reasons why we don’t recommend this fence material. If you do spot rot you need to get rid of that panel entirely to stop it from spreading. These fences have to deal with pests, warping, and constant paint upkeep to maintain their appeal — but if you’re dead set on wood, you’ll just have a longer checklist.
Painting your fence really only needs to be done every 3-4 years. We’re including it on the annual list as a reminder. This will help protect your fence and keep it looking pristine. You don’t necessarily need to paint the entire fence, but keep an eye out for areas that have chipped away. After you paint it’s always a good idea to reseal.
Check for loose nails throughout your fence. If you want to keep your wooden fence standing strong, you’ll need to look for fasteners or nails that have wiggled loose over time. Drive in any that need it. Also keep an eye out for any panels or sections that may have split, warped, rotted, or taken on pest damage. You’ll need to replace these entirely to maintain the integrity of your fencing.
Take care of pests that may have made a home in or on your fence. You’ll want to clear away any bird nests. If you see any termites or signs that they may be present, use borax to get rid of them immediately. If the issue is terrible, call up a professional. Clearing debris can help prevent termite infestation.
Vinyl Fence Maintenance
Vinyl fences require the least amount of maintenance, but there are some steps you can take to increase the fence life. You won’t have to deal with constant staining or painting which is a major plus, but you will have to keep debris off your fence and be on the lookout for scratches or marks that you should touch up to keep your fence looking new.
Check for minor dirt, pollen, and debris on your vinyl fence. You can also look out for chalky residue that may build up over time. A simple spray down with the garden hose or light scrub with a sponge and warm soapy water will do the trick.
Prevent mildew and heavy stains by cutting away or cleaning off any sort of plant life or trimmings that may be on your fence. This will help prevent algae stains or mildew from building up. If you do end up facing these marks, you’ll have to do a little more to get rid of them than just a traditional wash down. They may go away if you do, but they’ll come right back because they’re still alive and kicking. Chlorine bleach or white vinegar will help kill the algae or mildew and give your fence new life.
Wrought Iron Fence Maintenance
Check for rust on your iron fence. If you find any, use a fine wire brush to remove. You can also rinse the fence with nonionic detergent and some water as well. Also, you can apply phosphoric-acid-based or tannic-acid-based converters to help.
Use primers before doing any touch-up painting on your iron fence. A thin layer is all you should need, be sure that it’s oil-based as well. If you want to get into all of the nooks and crannies, use a spray primer.
Clean your fence at least 2x per year with soap and water. You should then apply a thin layer of metal-grade wax to your fence, especially in areas that may get more water than others (near sprinklers, vegetation, etc.)
Grease your hinges at least once a year to prevent squeaks. Use a generous amount of lubricant to keep your fence from being too noisy.
There You Have It
If you stick to these your fence should last to its full potential. If you’re looking to get the most life out of your fence without a ton of maintenance, we’d recommend vinyl. It looks great and lasts incredibly long.
Looking to install a fence? We’ve been in the industry for years and can create the perfect enclosure for your property to add functionality and curb appeal. Contact us today.