Now that you’ve purchased your new wooden fence, it’s time to proudly display it to the surrounding neighborhood. After all, how else are you going to give the hint to local kids that they aren’t allowed to goof off in your backyard? However, wood fences, in particular, are hard to maintain, and you’re going to have a bit of TLC on your hand in the next few years. Cracks and splits are common among this type of fence which can threaten its purpose. However, there are still plenty of ways to help avoid this together.
Keep reading below for some helpful hints on preventing your new wood fence from becoming damaged from daily wear and tear.
WHY DO CRACKS APPEAR IN WOOD FENCES?
Although there are dozens of types of cracks that can naturally appear in wooden structures, they can still be prevented. One of the most common types of these naturally appearing cracks is called checking. This happens when wood dries after it is chopped up. Unfortunately, the interior of wood dries much slower than the exterior, which is why the checks appear.
However, you may also notice cracks on your new fence once it is setup or when summer starts. These cracks are usually small in nature and will not affect the structure of your wooden fence.
CHOOSE WOOD THAT WON’T CRACK
Since cracks start appearing once the wood in your fence seasons, it’s smart to opt in for wood that has been pre-seasoned. This way, you won’t get the impression that your perfect new fence will not change once it’s setup.
Unfortunately, simply replacing the wooden boards in your fence won’t quickly solve the problem, since the new boards can crack once they’re set in. The one effective method to prevent your wood fence from cracking is to use a sealant before, during, and after seasoning, since weather can put more damage on your fence than you’d like.
INSTALL THE FENCE CORRECTLY
Both screws and nails can cause wood to crack and split if not used correctly. However, if given the choice, use screws as they are less likely to cause damage. The point of nails is what causes the most damage. So, if you must use nails, make sure they are blunt.
Before using either nails or screws, consider pre-drilling holes in the wood. Cracks occur when screws and nails are forced into the wood. This is why it is important to drill holes before inserting both nails and screws. They can also both cause cracks when they are inserted too close to the edge of the piece of wood.
REPLACE YOUR OLD FENCE
If your current fence keeps cracking, it might be the time to look for a replacement. Maintaining your fence can go a long way in preventing future issues. However, if you used an improper choice of wood and installation techniques, your fence will only last for so long before cracking. Wood putty and epoxy can be used as temporary solutions, though they will not completely prevent your fence from cracking in the future.
If there is a board that is severely damaged and cracked, it is time to replace it. If you are seeing cracks throughout the whole fence, it might be time to replace the whole thing. This is especially true if your fence is made from low-quality materials.
Your wood fence may look beautiful, but it also requires a lot of maintenance to remain that way. In order to prevent cracks, be careful when choosing your wood and when installing it. If you are unsure of what to do about your fence, contact a professional for guidance.