Wooden fences are a lovely addition to any property, but they do come with plenty of risk. Perhaps the foremost is rot, which can be unsightly as well as structurally dangerous. Preventing fence rot is the best way to extend the lifetime of your structure and ensure it does its job.
The Dangers of Fence Rot
Even though wood rot is a natural phenomenon, it can give property owners a hard time. Rot describes the decay caused by bacteria or fungi. These microbial menaces eat through wood fibers, weakening them and compromising a fence’s structural integrity. Once rot takes hold, it spreads quickly if not taken care of early on.
Rot forms in areas with high moisture content. Homeowners should look for the signs near the damp ground, under foliage, or areas where the topography causes rainwater to pool. Unsightly indications of rot include discolored patches of wood, softening of the fibers, white wispy growth that looks like cotton wool, or even the growth of mushrooms.
Before fences or decks are constructed, the wood used for them is treated to keep rot from forming. Unfortunately, this treatment does not make the development of rot impossible, so preventing fence rot should be a priority for homeowners. When rot does arise, it must be removed quickly and should not be simply painted over.
How to Repair a Rotting Fence
Because rot compromises the physical structure of wood panels, removing it is not simply a matter of washing it away. You cannot regrow the cellulose that bacteria and fungi have eaten up. That being said, if only a small area is affected, reinforcing channels or holes in the wood with epoxy can help.
The first thing to do is to make sure the offending microorganisms are removed. Spraying antifreeze on rotting areas can kill off fungi and bacteria. If, however, the damage is too far gone, the wood will have to be replaced.
Make Preventing Fence Rot a Priority
As a homeowner, you have several strategies at your disposal for keeping wood rot at bay. One very effective method is by keeping the stain of your wooden fence well-maintained. Staining wood creates a barrier between a fence and the elements, preventing fence rot from taking hold. Sealing any gaps or seams with latex caulk produces the same effect.
Because moisture is a key element in fostering rot, keeping it at bay stifles rot growth before it can begin. You can’t keep the rain or snow from falling, but you can keep plants trimmed so they don’t hold moisture in place. You can also prune trees so they don’t drip onto your wooden fence.
If you are making provisions for preventing fence rot before you even install a wooden fence, you have a few options. The first is to install gravel boards or other supports so your planks don’t rest against the damp earth. The other is to build with pressure-treated wood. Treating your planks with a pressure chamber will make it more durable and less susceptible to rot.
Alternatives to a Wood Fence
Wooden fences are a beautiful addition to any property. They add value and curb appeal, but only if they are kept in good repair. Unfortunately, wood fences are the most susceptible to rot and other environmental damage. If you are considering preventing fence rot by simply choosing a different material for your fence, take a look at these options:
In addition to being available in a variety of styles and colors, Trex fences are durable and can withstand inclement weather and blustery winds. While more expensive to install, Trex decks need no ongoing staining which saves homeowners maintenance costs. Trex options are good for the environment as they are made with 95% recycled material.
Vinyl fences provide a generally less expensive fence option than wood and are perfect if you are looking for a material good at preventing fence rot. They are highly popular because they are easy to maintain while still very durable. Unlike wooden fences, vinyl fences do not need to be stained regularly to keep out the ill effects of environmental conditions. If you decide on a vinyl fence, you have your pick of colors and styles.
Concrete or Stone Fences
Fences made from concrete or stone are almost always more expensive than wood, but if you install one you will not have to worry about rot, rust, or fire. Such solid materials are enduring and hold up well against even the worst weather, even with minimal maintenance. Concrete fences help to soundproof a property and offer the greatest amount of security
Fences of ornamental aluminum lend beautiful elegance to any property. They increase a property’s security and value and generally hold up well under the weather, but they can be prone to rust. At Bronco Fence, we provide ornamental fences in a wide variety of design options.