More great top tips on the blog today with these guest article on how to prolong the life of your fence. Enjoy.
One of the least recognised contributions to garden style is fencing. Fences are a bit like eyebrow shapes for a woman, or beard trims for a man – it’s amazing how much difference a little care and attention can deliver! Of course you can’t take your fence to a barber or beautician, it’s down to you to deliver the care your garden fencing needs – so we’ve put together the definitive guide to prolonging the life of your garden fence.
Preparing to maintain garden fencing
Check your fence annually to be sure about its condition. This is particularly important if your planning to repaint a wooden fence as there’s nothing more annoying than painting or spraying an entire fence panel only to find it needs to be replaced because the base is rotten.
Check wrought and cast iron fences annually. First, hold each section of fence with both hands and check if it moves when you give it a strong shake. This will help identify areas of rust which usually occur where the fence joins the supporting wall. Then twist the fence section from side to side to see if it moves laterally – this often reveals weakened ironwork as a result of corrosion. In both cases you’ll need expert repair or maintenance from an ironwork expert.
Garden fence maintenance tips
Strim and/or trim around the base of a wooden fence regularly as plant growth can cause rot at the base of panels by trapping moisture that causes decay. Vegetation close to wood fencing also harbours fungi and bacteria that eat away at wooden surfaces.
Recommended best practice is to paint a wooden fence every five years with a suitable preservative. Trim back or cover nearby vegetation before painting to make the task easier for yourself and paint on a cool, overcast but dry day to prevent paint drying too fast (leading to a patchy finish) or getting rained on before it dries (resulting in a washed out finish).
If any perennial plants are still close to the fence panels and can’t be cut back, try pinning them back temporarily using canes and old sheets or net curtains. At this point you can remove nails or fixings (e.g. for hanging baskets) and then sand down any rough areas that might cause an uneven finish to your paintwork.
Be careful when maintaining wrought iron, as it has a specific feature called mill scale that actually helps protect the fence – overly aggressive cleaning such as jet-washing, can actually weaken the fence by removing the mill scale which then leads to your fence degrading much more quickly. You could try Colourfence, which has a 25 year maintenance free guarantee and unlike wrought iron, Colourfence’s self-healing technology means it actually looks after itself!
Hopefully our guide to fence maintenance has convinced you that prevention is better than cure, so it’s a good idea to undertake an annual assessment of your fencing in autumn – unless you’ve got a Colourfence in which case you can just enjoy your garden.