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Making sure your timber picket fence doesn’t weather over time


A well maintained timber fence adds charm to your property and can help boost re-sale value if you’re looking to put your house on the market. A poorly maintained fence on the other hand, can severely detract from your property’s street-side appearance and send buyers running.

You’ve probably seen a scary fence like this – one where the timber is rotting and sagging, the paint peeling, the palings missing, and shrubs and grasses appear to be attempting a fence takeover. It’s not a pretty sight!

Like all timber which is exposed to the elements, timber fences require a bit of love to prevent premature weathering and decay and to ensure they last for decades. But what’s involved?

We’ve put together our top four tips for getting the most out of your timber fence.

  1. Stain your timber to protect it

Coating your timber fence with a protective stain is our number one tip for protecting it from the elements. Stains actually soak into the wood, filling up the wood’s pores, thus preventing water from getting in and causing rot. Keep in mind there are different types of stains; an opaque stain will provide your fence with more UV protection than a transparent or semi-transparent stain.

Ideally your fence should be stained about once a year. However, depending on the climate you may need to stain sooner or less frequently. A simple way to check if the stain needs replacing is to sprinkle a little water on the fence. If the water beads on the wood your stain is still doing its job!

  1. Paint you timber instead for excellent protection

As with staining, painting is a fantastic way to protect your fence from the elements. Paints actually provide a higher degree of protection from UV rays than stains and they can also last longer in the right conditions. However; paint is obviously prone to peeling and flaking (especially in hot sunny climates) so when you go to re-paint, you could have a big job in front of you scraping off the old paint. Stains on the other hand simply fade, meaning your fence can be re-stained at any time with minimal fuss.

  1. Keep your garden and fence separate

Make sure your garden plants don’t come into direct contact with your fence. That doesn’t mean you can’t grow shrubs near the fence, just trim them back so they aren’t touching the timber. Plants brushing along the fence can contribute to a moisture-filled environment, encouraging mould and algae growth on your timber palings and, potentially rot. If you’ve got vines growing, do keep an eye on them. If they start to cover your fence they could take a toll on the fence structure, (especially when it rains and the vines become water-soaked).

  1. Clean your fence occasionally

Like everything else in the garden your fence can develop a coating of dust, dirt and mud plus algae and mould. A simple clean is all that’s required and many people use a pressure washer to get the job done quickly. If you want to go old-school, simple soap, water, vinegar and baking soda can do wonders.

Our friendly team can advise you how to best care for your fence when installing or repairing your fence.