Fence maintenance is essential, and some fences require more upkeep than others. However, if you’re considering wood, vinyl, wood-plastic composite, chain link, metal, or picket fences, wood is among the easiest ones to maintain. Plus, wood fences have great curb appeal and come in a variety of styles. It is important to note that fences require regular maintenance to retain their color, utility, and structural integrity.
There are things to consider when fixing, repairing, and maintaining fences: the rails, the pickets, and the posts. All of these elements contribute to fence structure. You should also pay attention to your fence posts as they may make or breaks the fence. The posts should be set securely in the ground so they don’t move and a sturdy fence with solid pickets is essential for a safe, secure, and attractive fence.
This post will put together a list of the basic fence maintenance tips on how to take care of your fence regardless of the fence type you have and the materials it is made of.
Fence Types: What Type of Fence Do You Need?
There are many types of fences available to choose from, but the type of fence you need largely depends on your budget and property. The most popular types of fences are:
Wood fence is the most traditional fencing material and is usually made of cedar, redwood, or pine. It can be treated to withstand weather damage or allowed to gray naturally over time. It is recommended that you treat the wood fence with a sealer to protect it from the elements. It is particularly used in places that have a moist or humid environment. A wood fencing company can help you with the maintenance they will regularly replace rotten or damaged pieces of wood.
Wood-Plastic Composite Fence
Also known as a WPC fence, such fencing is made from recycled plastics and natural fibers. It has a real wood appearance but is considerably lightweight and requires less upkeep than traditional wooden fences. WPC fences resist warping, rotting, and damage from pests and harsh weather.
This fence type can be installed over existing wood or chain link fences to help save you money on installation costs. The fence structure is quite strong and does not require much maintenance other than washing it with soap and water occasionally, along with a sealant once or twice a year.
Vinyl fencing is the most durable type of fence. Vinyl fences offer excellent security and privacy, are easy to clean, and come in various colors. This is one of the most affordable fence types available. Vinyl fences are durable and require little upkeep, with the occasional cleaning and washing to remove dirt or debris. However, this type of fence should be installed by a professional and requires strict maintenance and care.
A picket fence is an iconic, classic style that is quite popular in suburban areas. Picket fences are usually made of pine or redwood. It consists of vertical boards with slats placed between each board. This fence type is easy to maintain and install at a low cost. However, you should replace pickets with rot or damage regularly if you want your picket fence to look good for a longer period.
Chaining link fences are great for putting up temporary barriers and are durable enough to withstand extreme weather. Although not particularly attractive, these fences are ideal for keeping pets and children inside your property.
Also referred to as a razor-wire fence, they are considered an effective deterrent for trespassing and other unwelcome activities. They should only be used by professionals in case of unwanted accidents or injuries (just like the real thing).
Although aluminum can be difficult to work with, an aluminum fence is very sturdy and lightweight, making it a great option for fencing in large areas. Aluminum fences do not need painting but should be cleaned regularly with a light detergent and water.
Bamboo is a great fence for those who want to add a natural touch to their fences. Bamboo is lightweight, grows quickly, and requires no maintenance or painting. It is a sustainable option that works well in areas with high winds.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is an economical, durable fence, has a contemporary design, and can be painted to any color. While it does not require much upkeep, you should keep in mind that this type of fence cannot handle extreme weather conditions. If the temperature becomes too low, there could be problems with the adhesives used to put it up, or even in case of heavy rains – the gate could shift and not line up properly with the fence.
Eco-stone is a stone composite made from recycled glass. This type of fencing is hard, durable, and requires very little maintenance, especially real stone. It can withstand extreme weather conditions and natural elements.
Such fences offer great privacy and security but require regular cleaning to remove dirt or debris, along with a sealant once or twice a year.
Fiberglass is also referred to as Glass Reinforced Plastic (or GRC) and is a popular option for fencing in large areas. This type of fence lasts longer than vinyl and wood, with little upkeep required. However, it requires professional installation and should not be exposed to extreme temperatures or natural elements.
A steel fence is extremely durable, offers excellent security and privacy, and comes in various colors and textures. This is one of the most expensive fencing options available but requires little maintenance, with the occasional cleaning and washing to remove dirt or debris.
Farm fencing is designed to keep farm animals inside designated areas. They are inexpensive and functional but should only be installed by a professional who knows proper tending to the fence.
Carbon fiber fences are great for keeping pets and children inside your property, along with being an excellent security option. However, they should only be installed by a professional, as the installation process is complex.
Wrought Iron Fence
Wrought iron fences have timeless appeal and are extremely durable. They require little upkeep but must be repainted every few years to maintain good looks and protect against rusting.
How To Properly Maintain These Types of Fences
Although modern and ornamental fences come in a variety of materials, most have few maintenance requirements. Although certain fences can withstand extreme weather conditions and natural elements, they should still be washed or rinsed to avoid dirt, debris, and grime build-up.
- To properly clean these fences, use a light detergent mixed with water (a garden hose and spray nozzle work best). Be sure to rinse all cleaning solutions off the fence.
- Brush or sweep away any dirt or debris from between the slats of wood or vinyl fences. Cleaning these types of fences is very similar to washing your car, so be sure to use a soft-bristle brush, a sponge, soft cloths, or a special-purpose cleaning solution.
- Keep in mind that some PVC fencing comes with an additional protective coating, and you should avoid abrasive chemicals and cleaners when cleaning it.
- If your wrought iron fence needs to be cleaned, use a mild soap mixed with water; NEVER EVER use abrasive metal pads, which will damage the finish.
- Eco-stone is generally maintenance-free with occasional professional care or cleanings to remove dirt or debris and to stain to protect against rusting.
- Wood fences require regular cleaning with soap and water to remove dirt, debris, or grime. These types of fences should be repainted once every two years to prevent wood rot, and the best wood for fencing can be installed efficiently by a professional installer.
- Fiberglass fencing also requires a little upkeep – they need to be occasionally washed or rinsed. If you utilize this type of fence for privacy purposes, it may be worth the investment to purchase and install solar-reflective glass that will keep your fence cool during the summer months.
- Steel fences should be washed at least twice a year. Taller, ornate, or decorative steel fences may need to be cleaned up more often as dirt is harder to clean from between the bars.
- When it comes to farm fencing, wood or wire fences are recommended. Farm fencing can be expensive to maintain, especially if dealing with constant repairs due to animal damage. It is best not to install any fence that cannot withstand the natural elements of your area and protect against extreme temperatures.
- Carbon-fiber pets need a little more maintenance than other fence styles as they can experience quicker degradation. These fences should be washed or cleaned every two months to prevent fuzz build-up and fiber loss.
As previously mentioned, wrought iron fences do not need much maintenance – just a good washing with soap and water to remove dirt or debris and to stain protection for rusting. Maintaining your fences is important to keep your home safe and secure. If you have problems with animals or the weather, speak with a professional about the upkeep procedures for your type of fence.
If you plan on installing a fence for your property, it is best to hire an expert with the experience and tools necessary to do the job correctly. Hiring a qualified professional will help ensure the fence is properly maintained so that you can enjoy your fence for many years.