Tips for Maintaining Your Wood Fence Panels

a stretch of wood fencing
What You'll Need
Wood stain
Wood paint

Wood fence panels need to be maintained, whether they have been damaged, rotted out, or need to be restained or sealed. Semi-regular maintenance is one of the costs associated with wood panel fencing. Vinyl, on the other hand, may not require the same upkeep, but it does not have the same charm as a wooden fence. Assuming that your wooden fence is already up and functioning, you will learn how often you should stain or seal your fence panels as well as how to protect it from termites. Having this information will help you keep your wooden fence in tiptop shape and lasting for a long time.

1. Basic Damage Repair

Part of maintaining a wood fence is repairing any damage that panels may sustain. A wood fence may be damaged in any number of ways: rotting, splitting, or other mishaps. Keep on top of the repair by removing the damaged panel and replacing it. An advantage of wood panel fencing is that you can repair or replace individual pieces rather than the whole fence. Repair may include repainting a worn piece, or it could involve replacing an entire panel. Either way, it is a job that you can get done in a few hours.

2. Stain and Seal

light-colored wood fencing

If you don’t paint your wooden fence panels, they must be sealed from the elements. Staining gives panels a hint of color while maintaining a natural wood look. Because the climate varies from region to region, exactly how often you must reseal and stain will depend upon the weather. In rainy areas you will probably need to do it more often than in if you live in an arid region. Rather than rely on a particular time frame, base your decision on the wood itself. As a rule, when water no longer beads up on the wooden fence but soaks in, it is time to reseal. Again, how long sealant will last will depend upon the weather. In a moist climate, resealing should be done about every two years. Staining will have some of the properties of a sealant, but you should always seal before staining.

3. Termite Prevention

rotting board on white fencing

Termites, also known as white ants, are destructive pests that can literally eat you out of house and home. Softwoods such as redwood, pine, fir, and cedar are all most susceptible to termite infestation. Unfortunately, those are the types of woods most likely to be used for fences. Termites can be exterminated by a professional service, but you can do it yourself by using borax, an effective natural insecticide. Borax is also much less toxic than alternative insecticides.

Consider termite prevention first, and you may not have to exterminate. Termites require moist soil to survive and work to eat through softwoods that are partially buried. If your wood fence has portions that are buried, try digging them out and keeping the fence entirely exposed to the air. If you remove the wood from the termites' habitat, they will not be able to destroy a wood fence.

In summary, preventative measures can help you maintain your wooden fence panels and the timing for restaining and sealing panels will depend upon the climate.