The holiday season is upon us, and calendars are filling up rapidly with parties, events, and time spent with those we love. As the world descends into all its chilly glory, it can be easy to get so wrapped up in the festivities that maintenance takes a backseat. However, some of that maintenance should be taken care of before the snow starts to fall, and preparing your fence for winter is one of them.
Though your fence is sturdy, it is vital to prep it for the winter months if you want to preserve its structural and cosmetic integrity. Because your fence sits outside and takes the brunt of the winter weather, it is best to start preparing that fence for winter before the chill truly sets in. Exactly how you do so is dependent on the kind of fence you have.
Wood and water, when properly prepared, is a winning combination. Think of boats or classic homes. However, if wood is not properly prepared, water is its mortal enemy. Think of long submerged boats or ancient decaying homes. Wood fences require the most wintertime maintenance, but their natural charm is worth it.
While mold, mildew, and other rot (common in the summer) are not typical problems during the cold months, if water penetrates deeply into a wooden fence, they may rise up with a vengeance once the world starts to thaw. However, properly preparing a fence for winter can stop this problem before it starts.
First thing’s first: clean the fence with cleaner and bleach. Doing so will remove any problematic bugs that will hibernate during the cold months. Be especially mindful of existing rot. Look for soft spots as they are usually indicative of biological agents weakening the wood. It is important to repair any broken boards and fill any holes before the winter weather comes in force.
Last but not least, you should seal the wood. This can be done in a number of ways and depends on how you want the final product to look. If you like the way your fence looks, choose a protective clear sealant to coat your fence panels. Waterproof stain is available in a number of hues, so if you want to maintain a natural appearance but want to go a shade or two darker, this is your best bet.
For the truly daring, a colored stain or waterproof paint may be the ticket. Our Bronco Fence representatives are available to answer questions and help you choose the perfect sealant for your fence and to help you determine if resealing is necessary. Your fence should be sealed before the weather makes adequate drying impossible.
Vinyl fences have a lot of appeal because they do not require a lot of maintenance. It is, however, possible for the panels to be warped when the weather is especially cool and damp. Just like wooden fences, it is crucial to repair any broken panels or posts before the snow comes.
Another rule that applies to any kind of fence is to clear around it in preparation for winter. Leaf piles are fun while the autumn is still relatively dry and warm, but they should be removed to ready your fence for winter. Clearing away debris will discourage snow buildup around the fence. Additionally, Christmas trees aren’t the only trees that need to be trimmed. Cut back on overhanging branches and shrubbery to prevent heavy snow from falling on the fence and breaking any panels.
Metal fences are very sturdy against heavy snow or biological threats like mold and mildew, but they are susceptible to rust. Metal will corrode if rust is left unchecked, even in frigid temperatures. Before winter hits in full force, remove any rust that may already be present on your fence, treat damage professionally, and coat your fence in a rust-proof paint.
General Ways to Ready Your Fence for Winter
If your fence sits right on the road, it’s a good idea to put reflectors on the structure. This way it can be distinguished from banks of snow. Even if your fence isn’t white, in the dark, they can be difficult to recognize. That being said, be mindful of where and how you plow as the season progresses.
You’ll give your fence its best chance at success if you clear off the snow as it comes. You don’t need to be out with a brush during a blizzard, but don’t let it accumulate too much. After heavy snowfall, brush or blow the snow off your fence to ease the weight your fence has to bear.
The bookend task is to make sure the ground underneath your fence panels and posts is secure. This should be done to prepare your fence for winter or spring. Sometimes shifting temperatures and varying moisture levels can sometimes cause posts or panels to shift.