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Fencing Care: How to Maintain Timber Fencing

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Timber fencing also known as paling fences has been in use since the beginning of the colonial era. Even today most homeowners prefer picket/paling fences over concrete, metal or vinyl.

By default, timber fencing is attractive and looks natural. But as with any other home installation, they also need maintenance.

Take a walk around the residential area of Hobart, Australia. You will see fences are the most overlooked component of many properties. Most of them look discolored and unsightly.

Fence installation is not a one-time job. If you want your fence to give its full potential, you will have to give your little time, energy and money once in a while.

How to Take Care of Paling Fence – Step by Step Process

If you want your paling fence to look great for decades and continue to provide both security and privacy, follow the steps given below.

Step 1- Choose Treated Timber

If you have an old paling fence you can skip this step. For those who are planning to install a fence for the first time or those who are planning to replace their existing fence, this step is crucial for you.

When you choose treated timber, you have already won half the battle. I will let you know how to take care of the remaining half battle as we move to the next steps.

Compared to non-treated timber, treated timbers are extremely resistant to termites, fungi, insects, rot and other wood-destroying organisms and natural elements.

If you invest your money in the right type of treated timber, your yearly maintenance cost will drastically go down. You can be confident in your long-term investment!

Step 2 – Regular Inspection

Whether you have a newly installed fence or your fence is 5 years old, they all need regular inspection. Like you will inspect your roof and siding once in a while, you also need to inspect your fences at least once or twice a year. Inspection is the only way to find out if your fencing is in tip-top condition.

Take a pen and a notepad with you and take a walk around your property. Look for mildew, loose nails, chipped wood, splintering, cracks, leaning, decay and peeling paints on your paling fence.

Step 3 – Fix Small Damages

Once you figure out what needs a repair and what needs to be replaced. It’s time for action! Anything that is small and can be repaired with a little DIY, repair it.

Fill small holes with putty fillers, tighten loose screws and joints, replace broken rails and rotted posts, and remove moss, mold and lichen from the fencing. Do whatever you can do to fix small damages. The faster you repair the stronger it will stand

Though paling fences are easy to repair but if you’re not someone who is into DIY, get in touch with your local fence builder or fencing contractor to get the job done.

Step 4 – Clean Regularly

Cleaning your paling fence twice every year is mandatory but if you can pressure wash once a month you are awesome. So, how do you do the cleaning?

After you fix all small damages, use a high-pressure washer to remove dirt or mildew stains. Some areas such as mold can be stubborn and might need more effort to get cleaned. If you come across such areas use wood cleaning chemicals and scrub it off with a brush or scrubber.

Make sure to trim all the vegetation such as grass and weeds located close to the fence. Also trim large and overhanging trees that can fall on the fence.

Step 5 – Stain or Paint

After you clean your paling fence you have two options,

  1. Leave your fence in this clean condition,
  2. Or stain or paint the fence.

If you opt for the first option, the fence will turn grey and go back to the old version in 6-12 months. On the other hand, staining or painting gives the fence a new look and a more protective layer to withstand natural elements.

If you plan to stain your paling fences make sure the surface is clean and completely dry. Once it’s completely dry, you have to sand back the palings and leave them for about a week.

Spoiler alert – The staining and painting process can take time and effort. If you can’t do it yourself consider hiring a professional fencing contractor.

After a week, give your paling fences a new coat of stain, if you want a more creative color go for the painting instead of staining.

Once it’s done, let it dry!

Pro Tip – Stain or paint the fence when the fence is in the shade. Direct sun will dry up the paint or stain faster and it won’t be able to soak into the timber properly.

Repeat as Needed

Paling fences are easy to maintain and cost-effective if you keep an eye on them. But if you leave it as a forgotten area of the property, sooner or later you’ll need a professional to take care of it.

We recommend you to inspect, repair, wash and stain your paling fences at least once a year or if possible at least twice a year. If you can do it monthly that will be excellent!

In fact, you can take care of your fences every week. While not the washing and staining part, surely you do the inspection and repair part.

Take a short evening walk with your dog or kids around the fences while enjoying the beauty of the sunset. While you do so, give a quick glance at the fences. If you see anything that needs to be fixed, note it down and fix it as soon as possible.

For any fencing service in Hobart, Australia, Coast Fencing and Gates is at your service.

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