Winter can feel pretty magical in the lead up to Christmas, but it’s not so magical for outdoor fixtures that bear the brunt of the extreme temperatures and precipitation. To reduce the toll that winter takes on your fence, follow these crowdsourced tips from industry experts.
Give your full attention
There are so many things we need to do to prepare for winter. One that might not come to our minds right away is our fence. The harsh winter weather can be the reason that your fence gets destroyed, which is why it’s so important to winterize your fence. Lucky for you, it’s really not that hard.
Here are three ways to prepare your fence for the winter:
1. Clean. You may not be able to clean your fence regularly, but if you want it to last longer, give it a good cleaning before winter arrives. This way, you’ll be able to remove any buildup that could destroy your fence. When cleaning your fence, remember that you should remove all debris that may have gotten in the spaces as they can lead to wood rot.
2. Repair. While cleaning your fence, take note of any damage. If you find some damage, make sure to take care of it. Repair it as soon as possible. If your fence is damaged, it will be unstable for when winter comes, because of all the moisture and snow it has to hold [up under].
3. Clear a Path. If you’re expecting snow, clear a path around your fence. This will help you use your shovel or any snow removal device of your choice to clear the snow away from your fence.
Getting your fence ready for the winter can be done in a day or two. You just have to give it your full attention, and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to winterize your fence.
Applying wood preservative
One of the best ways to extend the life of your fence is to clean it by using a combination of water and bleach solution. This will help you scrub off the dirt and debris that has accumulated all these years. After drying, apply petroleum stain to the wood and then follow it up with a wood preservative. This will prevent the wood from breaking during the harsh winter months.
Watch for falling debris
Winter can devastate fences, especially wooden fences. Debris can fall on and break fences. Snow and water can rot or otherwise destroy fences.
Before winter, you should cut all tree limbs above the fence to prevent falling debris. Make sure your fence is waterproof. You can paint or otherwise treat your fence to prevent water damage.
Doing this can prevent repairs that will cost hundreds or even well over a thousand dollars.
Trim back any plants
Trim back any plants that are touching the fence. When trees, plants, or flowers, and especially climbing vines are in continual contact with a wood fence, they keep moisture near and on the fence. That moisture can lead to rotting or mildew. If you live where your winters are full of snow, this issue is exacerbated by the freezing and thawing of the precipitation. The moisture from the plants can be absorbed by the fence and then the freezing and thawing of that moisture will weaken the fence.
Staining with an exterior oil-based stain
Every three to five years, wooden fences are meant to be completely stripped and cleaned, then re-stained to help extend their life span. Staining the fence with an exterior oil-based stain helps protect the wood underneath from any damages caused by the harsh winter weather. This can be easily applied onto the fence with a brush or spray.
Not all fences are made the same way. PVC naturally becomes less flexible in cold weather conditions. PVC expands and contracts during temperature changes. PVC fencing made with recycled materials becomes brittle, and frigid temperatures can cause it to crack or break very easily with little impact. I recommend waterproofing wood fences; making sure pickets, posts, panels are secure; and removing low-hanging limbs that may snap off and fall.
This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors are not necessarily affiliated with this website and their statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.