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How to Prevent Rot in Wooden Fences

No one can deny the beauty and appeal that wood fencing has.

They continue to be the classic and timeless choice for setting boundaries and are also best for keeping unwanted visitors from coming into your property.

Many factors can pose a threat to even the most excellent wood fence. These can lead to damages like rotting.

Rotting is one of the most common threats to the health and appearance of your wood fence.

Wood is very susceptible to rotting especially when left without the best wood fence protection.

Knowledge about preventing rot in wood can help you with its preservation.

How Wood Rots

Before we go and look for the best practices in preventing rot in wooden fences, we need to know what causes wood to rot.

Rot is a fungal disease that affects many products made from wood, including fences.

It begins when the wood has been exposed to wet or damp conditions. Important parts of wood break up because of water and this causes greater porosity.

Then, the wood would be more prone to other organisms like termites and other fungi.

Soon, worms, woodlice, and millipedes will also start attacking the wood. The rate of decay of wood would depend on the dampness and warmth of the environment of the wood.

The warmer and damper the wood gets, the faster it would be for the wood to decay.

Wet Rot

Wet rot forms when there is too much moisture. Fences tend to have wet rot on parts that are near the ground but it can also form on any part. The rot starts wet or damp but once it dries out.

The signs that wet rot is forming on your wood fencing are:

  • Fence panels, slats, or posts start to warp
  • Painted fences start to chip or look flaky
  • Parts of the wood becomes soft to the touch or spongy
  • Certain spots or areas become darker than the rest of the wood
  • You can smell a damp or musty smell from your fence
  • Fungus growth is present on the fence
  • Even when the painted fence look intact, the wood inside has become soft and mushy

Dry Rot

This type of rot is not completely dry, as there can be about 20 percent of moisture in the wood. It would be best not to confuse dry rot with termite or carpenter ant damage.

The best way to identify dry rot is by observing any of these signs:

  • There are fungi that look like mushrooms in the wood
  • Deep cracks form in the wood’s grain pattern
  • Wood becomes crumbly upon touch
  • Wood has a brown color, accompanied by a musty smell

Tips For Maintaining and Preserving Wood Fences

What can you do for fence care and maintenance? Unlike other fence types, wood fences would need a lot of work to keep them of high quality.

We have rounded up some recommendations on how to prevent rot in wooden fences.

Know The Types of Wood

Not all woods are the same. Choosing different kinds of wood would mean different ways of fence maintenance.

Investing in high quality wood can also make a difference in preventing rot.

  • Spruce – Affordable and durable. Popular for making stockade or picket fences
  • Pine and fir – Common pressure treated wood. According to SFGATE, these woods would be treated with chromated copper arsenate. This would help it fight against pests like termites.
  • Cedar and Cypress – These wood have a longer lifespan because of being rot-resistant. Treating these can help them stop from turning gray as well.
  • Redwood – High grade redwood is expensive because it is the most durable wood against rot and insects.

other types of wood

Properly Mount Fence Posts

Wet rot starts faster on fence posts when they are placed directly on the soil.

This brings problems with rotting plus movement due to erosion and irrigation. Make sure to place concrete on holes filled with concrete before placing them.

Keep The Plants Away

We know how tempting it is to place plants near the fence. Truth be told, it can actually do more damage.

Plants will transfer more moisture to the wood fence. You can notice panels or pickets where the plants touch them. Those areas would have already built up moisture because of the contact.

Always Examine Your Wood Fence

It is hard to pinpoint exactly when rotting can begin to happen to your wood fence.

Finding any signs of rotting early on can help you repair it just in time to prevent any further damages.

You can also do this to look for any other damages aside from rotting.

Don’t Forget To Stain or Stain Your Wood Fence

Staining or staining your wood fence can protect it from rotting. You can stain or seal your wood fence every two to three years depending on the climate of your location.

Watch The Weight Your Wood Fence Carries

Decorating around, near, or on your wood fence is not a bad idea.

Make sure that anything you put in contact with your fence will not hold water that would run off to the fence. Be mindful of the weight of the things you place on the wood fence as well.

Do Any Kind of Repairs ASAP

Do not put off repairs even with small cracks or dents.

These small spots can give way to bigger problems that you can encounter in the future. Any hole or crack can cause water to get inside the wood.

Peeling of paint would need repainting as soon as possible. These repairs would cost less than removing old fences and replacing them with new ones.

Don’t Let Another Rot Ruin Your Fence!

Investing in good fence materials and proper installation would play a crucial role in preventing fence rot. This can also help you save more money.

Choose high quality wood and have them installed by professional and trustworthy fence contractors. You can contact Big Easy Fences in New Orleans for top rated wooden services.


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