With the heat of the summer in full swing, this is the perfect time to start preparing for what the upcoming winter season can do to your wooden fences. Winter weather can be destructive to wooden fences, leaving them battered, cracked and worn. A little bit of advanced preparation and understanding can help you combat some of the most common problems. The steps you take now can make all the difference in how your fence comes through the winter. Here are some of the things that you should remember to protect your fence this year.
What Winter Weather Does To Wooden Fences
There are many different elements to the winter season that can be hazardous to the integrity of the wood.
Temperature fluctuations can cause expansion and contraction. This repeated movement and freezing in the wood can cause structural damages. In fact, any knots in the wood can actually separate and fall out of the posts, leaving holes in their place. The holes make the posts vulnerable to rotting and potential insect infestation.
Moisture from the snow and rain can seep into wood fibers and weaken them. The moisture can seep into the wood, leaving it vulnerable to mildew, rot and mold. With snow being a consistent presence through the winter season, water from snow melt seeping into the lower portion of the posts and melting ice on the surface of the posts, there are many different areas of vulnerability.
Soil erosion can happen as a result of heavy rains and snow melt. The pressure of the water from late season rain storms paired with the excess water from the snow melt can force the soil around the fence posts to wash away. Without the support around the post, you may find that your wooden fence posts weaken and shift.
What You Can Do To Protect Your Fence
When the fall weather starts to come in, it's the perfect time to start preparing your wood fences for the weather. Start by applying a fresh coat of stain to the wood. The stain seals the wood, helping to protect it against moisture absorption and the hazards that come from freezing temperatures.
You can apply a clear stain if you want to preserve the existing color of the wood, or a tinted stain if you're looking to enhance its color. Before you apply the stain, you need to clear away any leaves or other debris that might be on or along the fence. That kind of material can hold moisture against the wood, which encourages decay.
As the winter weather sets in, monitor the condition of the fence regularly. That way, you can identify any damage early. This is particularly important after heavy rains and severe storms or stretches of warm, sunny days. Look for any indications that the posts are weakened, leaning or otherwise damaged.
Grab the top of each fence post and try to wiggle it from side to side. That way, you can tell if the post is loose at all, which can happen due to soil erosion. You can add bracing if necessary, but it's often best done by a fence installation contractor to ensure sufficient support. When the weather thaws out in the spring, you can reinforce things with more concrete or dig a new post hole. Replace any damaged boards immediately, because leaving loose or damaged boards on the fence could lead to more severe damage during the next storm.
The more attentive you can be about taking care of your wooden fence, the better chance you'll have of getting through the winter without severe damage. Work with a local fence contractor to take care of any repairs that your fence might need now, and then use these tips to get the fence ready for the upcoming winter. Click here for more info about maintaining and repairing your fence.
Does your heating bill send you into a state of shock? If so, now is the time for you to begin making changes to your home to bring the cost of heating your home down. In years past, my heating bill was actually more than my mortgage was. It really made getting through the winter difficult for my family. I decided to do something about the high bills. I started with insulation, then invested in some new windows, and I also changed the way that we used our utilities. You can learn everything that I did to reduce my heating bill so that you can cut your heating bill as well.