Not only do wood fences provide privacy, security, and safety, but they can also enhance the beauty and value of your home, so looking after your fence is very important. Here are some tips and tricks on how to seal your wood fence and keep it looking new and well-maintained.
Why You Should Seal Your Wood Fence
If you want to extend your wood fence’s life, sealing it properly is a worthwhile investment. Wooden fences are continually facing the elements, so if they are not sealed, it doesn’t take long for the fence to deteriorate.
One of the greatest benefits of sealing your fence is that it helps keep moisture out. When water gets into your wood fence, it can cause wood rot, mold, and mildew. It can also lead to fungal growth. All these things over time can weaken and damage your fence.
You can also use a sealant that is also designed to help protect your fence from sun damage. The sun can cause wood slats to dry out and expand, which can cause cracks and warping.
Steps For How To Seal A Wood Fence
If you don’t want to hire a professional, there are many products and tools available to purchase so that you can do it yourself. Here are the steps you will need to take.
Step 1: Clean And Prepare The Fence
The first thing you will need to do is to clean your fence thoroughly to remove any dirt or grime. This is so the sealant can stick properly to the wood. You can give it a good scrub with dish soap and water, ensuring you get into all the corners and between the board. Then hose your fence to make sure you remove any soap residue.
If you notice any mildew on your fence, you can follow up with a bleach mixture that will kill it. You will need to use 1 cup of bleach per 4 gallons of water. If you don’t want to make your own, you can purchase a wood or fence cleaning product from a home improvement store formulated to kill mildew. Don’t use anything too aggressive, though, as you don’t want to erode the wood too much in the process.
If your fence has been waterproofed before, you will also need to make sure you remove the old sealant first. It is worth taking the time to prepare your fence correctly; otherwise, the sealant won’t adhere to your fence.
Step 2: Wait For The Fence To Dry
You should wait between one and three days for your wooden fence to dry, or even longer if you experience bad weather such as rain or humidity. Your fence must be dry before you apply the sealant so that you don’t trap any moisture inside your fence. Don’t forget to check between the slats for any moisture too. If you are not sure if your fence is dry enough, you can use a moisture meter before moving to the next step. The moisture content should be less than 12%. Once you are confident your wood fence is dry, you are ready to start the sealing process.
Step 3: Spray Or Paint Your Fence With Wood Sealer
Fill a garden sprayer with your wood sealer and dilute with water if needed. The ratio of water to the sealer should be in the instructions. Once you have filled the sprayer and closed it securely, shake it well. You can then spray your entire fence to make sure each fence slat is fully covered, and that you include the crevices. Repeat this process on the back of the fence and make sure you include the fence posts and any connecting slats.
Cover the areas around the fence to protect them from splatter. Use safety glasses and a dust mask to stop you from getting the spray in your eyes or breathing any in. It’s best to do it on a day that is not too windy.
Depending on your fence and the type of wood sealer you are using, it may be better to apply it using a roller and then spread it out evenly with a brush.
Step 4: Wait For The Wood Sealer To Dry
It is best to keep your kids and pets away from your fence until it is fully dry to prevent them from getting any sealant on themselves.
What Is The Difference Between A Sealer And A Stainer?
Stainers and sealers can both be good to use for protecting your wooden fence, but they are two different products. Sealers are usually clear and glossy, and their main purpose is to lock out moisture. Stainers darken your wood and change how your fence looks, so it is best to test your stainer on a small area of your fence before doing the whole fence to check you are happy with the color. And make sure you clean your fence thoroughly before applying the fence staining.
Besides water, other things can damage your wood fence. UV rays can cause your wood to look gray and faded and cause your wood to warp and split. By staining the fence, your wood will have better protection from these harmful rays. Some stainers can protect your fence from termites and other pests.
Some people decide to use both a stainer and a sealant to give their wooden fence maximum protection. And if you want to save time and money, there are now two-in-one products available that are both a sealant and a stainer!
How Often Should You Seal a Wood Fence?
Fences typically need to be resealed every two or three years but it will depend on the type of wood your fence is made out of and the climate that your fence is exposed to. The best way to know when it is time to reseal your fence is by splashing some water on it. If the water is no longer beading on the wood surface, but it is quickly absorbed into the wood, making it darker, then it is time to reseal. Remember to clean your fence thoroughly before applying the sealant.
What Are Some Other Ways To Protect Your Wood Fence?
Apart from sealing and staining fences, you can do many other things to ensure your fence lasts for a long time and continues to look new. Firstly, ensure you use high-quality materials that are best suited to your yard and your climate. You may need to ask a professional for advice on the best type of wood to use to suit where you live.
Even though growing plants on your wooden fence may look attractive, it is good to keep plants away from the fence as much as possible. It not only increases moisture, but it can also weigh your fence down, which can do long-term damage. If you put anything decorative on the fence, make sure it is not too heavy.
Don’t grow long grass or other plants too close to your fence, and make sure your sprinkler does not spray any water directly on your fence. Both these things can increase the moisture in your wood fence.
Check your fence regularly for any signs of damage such as cracks, mildew, or wood rot. If you notice gaps that need filling or anything that needs repairing, it is best to get onto it immediately so that the damage doesn’t worsen.
A fence protects your home, and it can also be a beautiful feature of your property. It is impossible to prevent weathering totally, but if you put in some protective measures, you can certainly slow down the process. It is worth putting in the effort to properly maintain your fence so that you and your family can enjoy it for many years.