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How to Bring Your Wooden Fence Back From the Dead


Wood, vinyl, and metal are usually considered the available types of fencing. Each one has distinct characteristics and may be chosen for different reasons. We have fences for decorative, protective or privacy reasons. They come in a wide range of styles, from white picket to chain-link to flat panel fencing. Fences can be prime real estate for accumulating dirt, growing bacteria, or even grass clippings. Excess rain in our region is the most significant contributing factor to heavy moss and mildew formation. It is also why fences can collect dirt as the rain hits the ground and mud splashes onto the fence. Not surprisingly, even if new, fencing won’t last many seasons without needing to be cleaned.

Nothing cheers up a neighbourhood more than a run-down property with battered and unkempt fencing. We’ve all seen it. And no one wants to confront a neighbour about their shabby fence. But hey! You can always share this article on social media in hopes they find it! Keep reading if you wish to restore your fence to its former glory or keep it looking good.

Why Are Wood Fences So Popular?

Undoubtedly, wooden fences are the most common kind in BC. With tint or solid-coloured stains, wooden fencing can be customized easily to match your house and landscape. They are undoubtedly the go-to choice for most residential homes because of their beautiful aesthetics. With proper care, they can last an incredible amount of time! Wood is a natural material, so it requires less processing and usage of chemicals to fabricate. It’s also easier to dispose of. Wood is considered simpler to install because it is easier to manipulate than metal and vinyl. Of the lumber types, cedar is utilized most because of its abundance and durability in weather. Cedar is among the most cost-efficient choices.

Why Does Wood Deteriorate?

Without hesitation, the primary cause of premature fence deterioration is rot stemming from moisture. Moisture can accumulate for a large number of reasons. Two primary causes are wood not being treated correctly and bacteria such as mould and mildew growing. Bacteria traps moisture and then begins eating the fibres of the wood, much like a decaying tree in the forest. Organic bacterial growth must be cleaned off regularly to keep a wood fence healthy. An ideal cleaning regime accomplishes the removal of bacteria before damage is done while not being unnecessarily frequent. The sun is another factor that can wear on the life of a fence. If protective coatings are neglected, wood will quickly dry out and become grey.

Where the Problem Begins

Unfortunately, the first mistake is when fences are installed without protective coating. If you want your valuable wooden fence to last more than a few years, you’ll want to ensure it’s stained. Remember that treated lumber won’t prevent rot. It’s meant to protect against insect infestation.

Wood Fence Restoration Process

  1. Regardless of the current stain condition, the material must be cleaned before applying more stain. We recommend having your fence soft-washed. You don’t want damage to be done with too much water pressure. And you want a cleaning mixture that kills and removes any organic growth.
  2. Depending on the circumstances, sanding the surface down may be required. If treating bare wood, sanding helps to open the pores. The idea is that you want paint or stain to seep in and bind. Doing so will help your coating to last the longest time possible.
  3. Many times, stains are oil-based. Ensure your surface is 100% dry before the application of the product. Depending on the wood, you might be advised to seal or condition it before stain. It’s a typical recommendation for soft wood varieties.
  4. Apply stain or paint in good weather. Depending on the product, different tools can be recommended. When dealing with stain products, maintain a wet edge to not “double-coat.” Ensure proper drying times in between coats.

Some Words of Caution

You may have noticed here, and in other places online that cleaning your fence is the first task to take care of. Often, power washers are recommended for this job. We strongly advise against this because of the aggressive tendency of these machines. It is easy to etch wood, doing irreversible damage. Conversely, soft-washing cleans without risk of this damage.

Sometimes, products such as Zinsser or Kilz are marketed as “mould-killing.” At this time, we’re not trying to dispute their accuracy but to advise you better. We recommend completely removing any unwanted build-up on fencing before product application. You won’t achieve lasting results without first removing organic growth. The coating can’t possibly bind to wood if you allow a barrier (the bacteria) to remain.

Wrapping Up

Regularly maintain your fence to avoid extensive restoration processes. Fencing is one thing that can either subtract or add property value. You can keep it beautiful by cleaning and re-staining every 2-3 years. For more information on our soft-washing service, please get in touch with us.