Winters can be gruesome, not just for your health, but also for your property. If you have a wooden fence, a lot of precautions are required around this time of the year to keep it in top condition. Winter is a harsh time for wood fences. If you don’t address the potential threats early enough, you might find yourself needing to repair or replace your fence come spring. The average temperature in southern Louisiana ranges from the 30’s and 40’s at night to 60’s and 70’s during the day in the winter months. This put a big strain on a wooden fence. Without proper maintenance, the average wood fence can be in danger of succumbing to drastic changes in temperature and weather long before the sunny months come around.
Luckily, a few routine practices can help protect your fence during winter. Wood fences face four primary threats during this time of the year: moisture, shifting soil, breaking tree limbs, and fluctuating temperatures. If you can do something about these early on, then it’s possible to keep your fence safe all through winter.
During winter, wood fences are subjected to excessively moist conditions due to heavy snowing. The moisture buildup that occurs here is incomparable to the moist conditions brought on by rainstorms during warmer seasons. This is because there are hardly enough warm days in winter for your fence to dry out, so the snow keeps piling on, and the moisture keeps building up.
If you take the time to properly stain your wood fence before winter, you might be able to stop rot, mold, and mildew from bringing it down. Using any oil-based stain on your wood fences will do the trick. Remember, fallen leaves and debris can trap additional moisture, so make sure your clear them out from the spaces between your fence.
Despite what you might believe, temperatures are just as volatile in winter as they are in any season. They rise and they fall without warning. The sudden rising and falling of temperatures causes wood to expand and contract too quickly, causing warping and knotholes in your fence.
Apart from being unsightly, knotholes also provide places for pests to hide in, and it doesn’t take long for them to become a real problem. Fortunately, you can avoid this by using good quality wood in the construction of your fence. This is the only way to prevent wood fences from warping in winter.
Moisture damage and fluctuating temperatures are certainly significant threats to your wood fence, but you should also worry about structural damage if your fence runs under a tree with long limbs. The snow can pile onto these limbs and break them, and if your fence just happens to be in their path, rest assured that it will sustain structural damage.
It is hard to protect your fence from such a threat, and despite your best efforts it might still happen. However, trimming back long tree branches goes a long way to ensure that they don’t fall off under the weight of snow; if they do break off, smaller limbs cause less damage. Always be prepared to repair damaged posts and boards promptly before they compromise the structural integrity of your entire fence.
Not many of us think about shifting soil when installing a wood fence. That usually turns out to be a mistake. The soil shifts when the frost starts to thaw, and with it goes the posts in your wood fence. Shifting soils can cause your fence posts to loosen as well, and if left unchecked, a complete rebuilding of the whole fence might be necessary.
Luckily, this is a problem that can be addressed during fence installation. Putting your posts at least 3 feet deep allows them to get past the frost line and into firm, unmoving soil. Therefore, no amount of shifting can loosen them even as the spring heat thaws off the frost.
During winter, it is advisable to keep checking whether your fence has remained straight by running a string along the top of your wood posts. Remember, fence repairs can only be done when the temperatures are above 25 degrees because cement cannot be used in freezing temperatures.
It is easy to neglect your yard during winter with the excuse that it’s too cold to do anything to it. However, this leaves your fence open to damage on all fronts, and you might find yourself doing quite a bit of repair work come spring. Be on the safe side by undertaking these routine maintenance practices for the sake of your fence’s safety.
The above tips will help you keep your wood fence in tip top shape but if your fence is already in need of repair we here at, American Fence Company are here to help. Aamerican Fence Company has been providing wood fence solutions to the greater Baton Rouge area since 2007. Call us today for a free quote.