The Official Blog of The Fence Authority

Summer’s Over: Prepping Your Fence for Fall and Winter

fall winter prepWe’ve officially reached the end of summer and begun fall, and that means it’s time for pumpkin spice lattes, cozy sweaters, and spooky decorations. It’s also time to begin preparing your yard for fall and winter weather. If you have a fence, it’s necessary to ensure that it will continue to survive throughout the changing seasons. Your fence made it through the heat and sunlight, but can it handle the colder temperatures and snow? Here are some tips for inspecting your fence before fall and winter and making sure it remains standing even after the heaviest snowfall.

Inspecting Your Fence for Signs of Damage

There’s a lot more risk of trouble with a wood fence than with a vinyl fence. If your wooden fence is showing signs of rot due to summer rainfall, this is something to address before the weather turns cold and dark. After all, winter is coming. Check that your fence posts are structurally sound and that none of your boards are loose or damaged. If your only problem is one missing or damaged board, you may be able to repair the fence. A rusty latch on your gate may also need replacement, which is a problem you might encounter with either wood or vinyl. However, if you see any signs of rot, this is a good reason to tear down that old fence and put up a new one.

Signs of rot include:Inspect your fence for signs of damage before the weather changes.

  • Boards are caving in
  • Posts are loose and wobbly
  • Gate sags and won’t close properly

You need to check for existing damage, and you also need to be sure that your fence is ready to handle the threat of snow. In addition to the moisture of snow, which can cause damage to wooden fences especially, you need to consider whether your fence can take the weight of snow. In a heavy snowfall, vinyl fences are usually sturdy because they do not rot in the first place and are less likely to warp. Aluminum fences also withstand snow well.

Protecting Your Fence from Moisture

Waterproofing a wood fence

When you rake leaves, don't make piles of leaves against your fence.

If your wood fence isn’t showing signs of rot, then it’s likely to last another season. However, you should make sure that it has been waterproofed and will not be at risk for rot in the future. Vinyl fences are already waterproof. To check that your wood fence has been properly waterproofed, you can perform a “splash test” by splashing water onto the fence. If it beads up, you’re good to go. However, if the water gets absorbed and darkens the wood, you will need to apply a layer of sealant or waterproof stain. Make sure you’re using a high-quality brand; if you skimp on the coating, you may end up having to repair or repaint your fence, and the cost will be much greater in the long term.

Keeping leaves and snow away from your fence

Raking leaves is one of the first chores that comes to mind when thinking of fall yardwork. Make sure you have a place to rake leaves that is not against your fence. When it rains, leaves collect moisture, which can mean trouble for your fence, especially if it’s made of wood. Vinyl fences will not rot from water damage the way wood fences may. However, algae is still more likely to grow on a vinyl fence that gets wet, which is particularly noticeable if your fence is white or light-colored. Therefore, you don’t want to create piles of leaves right next to your fence, where over time they may also get wedged between fence boards.

Make sure your fence can withstand weight and moisture from snow.As you know, if you don’t take care of your leaves now while the October weather is still mild, you’re regret it later. Snow piling up on your leaves will only make the moisture problem worse and put you at further risk for mold, mildew, and rot. The weight of snow can also cause the collapse of your fence over time. Therefore, it’s a good idea to shovel as much snow off your fence as you can.

Now, it’s time to enjoy your yard in the crisp fall weather!

Taking these measures for preparation and maintenance will ensure that your fence will last for seasons and years to come and that you’ll get lots of enjoyment out of it. If you find yourself in need of a new fence, you’ll want to get this project out of the way before the weather turns. If you had a wood fence that you were unable to properly maintain, you may want to consider vinyl or aluminum next time, which requires less upkeep and may fit into your busy life better. Like it or not, we are in store for colder weather, but if your fence is in pristine condition, it will make a beautiful backdrop for snow and fallen leaves!

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