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PVC, Wood & Aluminum Fence Maintenance in Nassau County & Suffolk County
A wood fence can be a great way to give a home a definitive border.
It keeps children in and stray animals out. It also changes the look of the house. But over time, wood fences rot away. Before you know it, you and your neighbor's pit bull will be growling at each other over the Japanese maple at the edge of your property. However, you can make wood fences last longer — and keep your neighbor's dog on his side of the yard — with a little care.
Typically, wood fences, especially those going up around newly constructed homes, are made of cedar or redwood.
"They are more resistant to rot and decay than other species," . "They're not structurally as strong as Douglas fir, which is used in framing a house, but for anything that is exposed to the elements, those are the two species of wood used."
In buying wood for fences, people should get pressure-treated wood for posts. Posts should be pressure-treated because they go into the ground, where they are susceptible to insects and moisture.
"When they go through the mill, they are chemically treated to resist bugs and water damage,". Addressing concerns about the effects of arsenic and other chemicals used to treat the wood leaching into the ground," are not anything to worry about. The chemicals aren't extremely potent, especially lately. The chemicals have been toned down a little."
Pressure-treated posts, which are indicated with a label or stamp.
Pickets don't need to be pressure-treated because they are above ground.
Within the first year of installation, the wood may warp or split as it dries. In five to eight years, the fence may start to lean, but it should last 10 to 15 years overall. To keep the wood from rotting, apply a wood preservative to seal it. It's like wax on a car, it helps protect it from the elements, from water, from sprinklers.
Water-repellent preservatives and sealants are sold at home-improvement and hardware stores. Exterior stains, which usually also are sealants, are another option if homeowners want their fence to coordinate with the exterior of their homes.
If wood has been pressure-treated, a sealant isn't necessary, as the wood already has been injected with preservatives.
Homeowners also should keep sprinklers from wetting the fence, which causes the wood to rot faster. And bushes and vines should be kept off the fence.
The less weight on the fence, the better. The vine will help keep it moist and help it rot faster.
What kind of care and maintenance will my wood fence require?
We recommend applying paint or stain every two years or as needed. Consult our installation instructions for more detailed care and maintenance information.
Should I paint or stain my fence?
We recommend applying a protective finish to the fence once it is installed. This helps to minimize the effects of weathering and to maximize the lifespan of your fence.
Between the rain, wind and cold temperatures, winter can be hard on a Long Island wood fence. Spending time outdoors may be the last thing most homeowners want to do this time of year, but a little extra maintenance now can help increase the life span of your fence and reduce the problems you’ll encounter come spring.
What Winter Weather Does to a Wood Fence
While heat and sunlight are generally the biggest culprits when it comes to wood fence damage, winter’s unrelenting moisture and shifting temperatures can also cause problems. Here’s a look at how winter weather affects your fencing materials:
Rain and snow.
Prolonged exposure to moisture weakens the fibers of a wood fence and opens the door for mold, mildew and rot. A waterproof stain or sealant is your best defense against the rain. It’s also important to keep leaves and other organic matter from becoming wedged between fence boards, as this inhibits air flow and creates a trap for moisture.
Shifts in temperature cause the wood to expand and contract, which can cause knots to fall out and leave knotholes in your fence. If left unaddressed, knotholes can invite rot and pests to infest your fence.
Heavy precipitation can cause water to soak into the soil and form sinkholes, landslides and shifts that could impact your fence’s supporting posts. Keep an eye on your fence posts throughout the winter to ensure they remain straight, strong and rot-free.
Overhanging tree limbs can break under the weight of snow and ice, causing damage to your fence on their way to the ground. Monitor any trees within falling distance of your fence, and trim back any branches that pose a threat.
Winter Maintenance Tips for Wood Fences
Applying a quality fence stain before winter is your first line of defense against seasonal damage. However, there are a few steps you should take throughout the winter months to ensure the ongoing health of your fence:
Inspect your wood fence following significant storms. Check for damage and ensure the posts are still level by running a piece of string along the tops. Look for dips or rises in the string, and examine those posts to see if repairs are needed. Making structural repairs now will prevent the damage from worsening throughout the winter.
Routinely clean your fence of leaves or other organic matter that has settled on the rails or become lodged between boards.
Keep the cement footings clear of dirt, bark dust or other matter. This may seem counter intuitive, but doing so reduces the likelihood that the cement will become cracked by trapped moisture or changes in temperature.
If possible, promptly replace any boards that have been damaged.
Like the rest of the yard, a wood fence can easily become neglected during the winter months. By keeping up on these basic maintenance practices, however, you can minimize winter damage to your fence and prevent further problems in the spring.
Freezing rain, wind, cold temperatures, and snow can all wreak havoc on your wooden fence. Winter’s unrelenting moisture and constant temperature shifts cause numerous problems for your beautiful fence. While you are warm and cozy, tucked away inside your home, your fence is left to endure the harsh winter weather.
Now we know that the last thing you want to do is spend time outdoors, but a little extra maintenance during the winter can save you a lot of work come Spring.
Here are a few tips to help your fence survive the winter months:
Apply Stain: Applying a fence stain before winter is crucial. Stain is your first line of defense against moisture and seasonal damage.
Inspect: Thoroughly inspect your fence after and storm. If you find any structural damage, repair it immediately. Making structural repairs now will prevent the damage from worsening throughout the winter.
Clean: Clean your fence of leaves and other debris that has settled on the rails or has become lodged between boards.
Keep Footers Clear: Keep the cement footings clear of dirt, bark dust or other matter. This may seem counter intuitive, but doing so reduces the likelihood that the cement will become cracked by trapped moisture or changes in temperature.
Replacement: If possible, replace broken or damaged boards as soon as possible. Keep horizontal fence rails clear of leaves, acorns, shells or twigs, and clean out any material wedged between the rails and the fence boards. Wet organic matter such as leaves can accelerate rot in your fence, and objects squeezed between the rails and boards can reduce your fence's stability over time.
These simple tips will help keep your fence looking great all the way til the Spring.
Caring For Your Fence Before Spring Arrives
Winter lingers on. Seems like it is here to stay. Actually, it will be gone faster than you can flip through the pages of your appointment book, or click through your icalendar. And, as you flip or click through the months, micro images play through your mind of positive, pleasant, sunny, warm, outdoor experiences. Blissful spring memories, most in your backyard. But, it’s winter now and spending time outdoors may be the last thing you want to do. Hence, like the rest of your outdoor living space, your wood fence can easily become neglected during the winter months.
So how early in the year should you schedule routine maintenance for your fence? As soon as your appointment book allows. At the beginning of the year is perfect. Most plants/shrubs are dormant this time of year, this makes it easier to get to your fence and does not impose on the plants or shrubs. Routine maintenance can help increase the life span of your fence. If you don’t already have one in place, you should consider implementing one.
On the first warm sunny day you step into your backyard. You look at your wood fence for the first time since your last outdoor event, sometime last fall. Where do you begin? Visually it may seem overwhelming and you may think you don’t know what to look for, but it is simple.Your initial visit should be to evaluate and take inventory of what it will take to bring your fence back to it’s original condition. Begin by making a list that will assist you in creating a game plan that will enlighten you on time it will take to complete the project. Once you know how long it will take you may decide your time is too valuable and go with hiring a fence company to do the work.
Your initial list should have structure, be based on beginning work at above fence level, and conclude where the fence meets the ground. If you share a fence with your neighbor, you may want to get him/her involved.
Your list should look something like this:
Maintenance Schedule For Your Wood Fence
- Remove overhanging tree limbs that may have broken under the weight of snow and ice before they fall and cause damage to the fence.
- Monitor any trees within falling distance of the fence and trim back any branches that may pose a threat.
- Groom and trim shrubs or plants next to the fence. Allow space between the fence and shrubs/plants to avoid the increased possibility of damage to the fence.
- Keep the rails free of debris including leaves, acorns, shells, twigs, and remove any foreign matter particles that may be wedged between pickets. Wet organic matter remaining long term wedged between rails and pickets can accelerate rot to the fence and compromise stability.
- Physically inspect each post by using your weight to apply pressure to determine signs of weakness. The post should not move. Movement implies rot or break at ground or below ground level. Allowing post weakness to continue for extended time will add stress to the fence and will lead to additional damage. Therefore, your repair cost will increase.
- Check for knotholes. Shift in temperature cause the wood to expand and contract, this shift can cause knots in wood to fall out leaving knot holes in your fence. Knot holes are the perfect homes for insects and particles that may become lodged permanently increasing the possibility of rot to your fence.
There are several components that make your outdoor living space a whole. A basic list may include plants, lawn, deck, arbor, pergola, outdoor furniture, outdoor accessories and your fence. Your fence is the component that keeps your outdoor living space private for your enjoyment. The fence may be the single structure in your back yard which you made the biggest monetary investment. Improve it’s lifespan.
It is probably the toughest material for maintenance, mainly because it is affected by every weather condition out there Mold would be wood’s main enemy. For proper protection, first of all, leave some space between the wood and the ground. Keep it away from sources of water, like sprinklers. Stain your wooden fence every once in a while (every 3+ years). If you see a part that needs repairing, do it asap.
The main enemy of metal fences is rust. The main point is to prevent the rust from appearing, and you do that by applying a special type of coating on the metal. If, however, rust appears, first you need to remove it with some steel wool, and apply some sealant afterwards.
The only problem you might occur with synthetic fences are stains. You can use all sorts of detergents for that purpose.
Fence maintenance can be frustrating if you are not sure how to clean a fence. Regardless if you're looking for tips on how to clean a vinyl fence, wood fence, chain link fence or steel & aluminum fences, this article should teach you everything you need to know for proper maintenance for all fence types.
Each section will explain the materials needed for cleaning your fence, how to clean your fence, level of difficulty (based on a 1-5 scale with 1 being easy and 5 being hard) and the recommended time frames for cleaning... Let's get started.
How To Clean A Vinyl Fence
- Water hose
- Bucket of soapy water or spray bottle of vinyl cleaning solution.
- Soft cloth rags
- Soft scrub brush (for tougher stains or dirt)
Level of Difficulty:
- 2 - Vinyl fence is relatively easy to clean but can require a little "elbow grease" or extra scrub for some tougher stains and dirty spots.
Recommended Time Frame for Cleaning a Vinyl Fence:
- For maximum results; you should clean your vinyl fence at least once every 3 - 6 months.
A few reasons why you would need to clean your vinyl fence would be: dirt and/or grass from the ground accumulating on the fence due to cutting the grass, leaves, debris after a storm, and more rarely, a type of chalk build up can develop on parts of the vinyl fence. These reasons are not major and are easily cleaned as explained below.
The majority of vinyl fences can be cleaned very easily by just spraying the fence down with a water hose. However, if there are some tough stains that a water hose does not take care of just follow the method below and your fence will look brand new every time you clean it!
To prepare for cleaning a vinyl fence, you will want to decide if you are going to use a bucket of soapy water, a vinyl cleaning solution (can be purchased at your local hardware store), or a combination of both. If you are using a bucket of soapy water you will want to fill the bucket with water to your desired amount and mix an environmentally safe cleaning solution in the bucket. (TIP: If it is environmentally safe, it is vinyl fence safe)
After you have your bucket of soapy water, all you must do now is get your soft cloth rag wet via the water in the bucket and wipe down the areas of the fence that need to be wiped down. If you are using a spray bottle of vinyl cleaning solution, just spray the areas of the fence that need cleaned and wipe with a dry soft cloth rag. When you are finished cleaning an area of the fence, rinse it off with a water hose and allow it to air dry.
Things to Avoid:
NEVER paint a vinyl fence
NEVER place a barbeque next to your vinyl fence
NEVER screw attachments to your vinyl fence this could void your warranty.
AVOID hanging heavy items on your vinyl fence (i.e. potted plants, heavy ornaments.)
How To Clean and Stain A Wood Fence
Water Hose or Power Washer (for deep cleaning and removing old paint)
Wood Stain (desired color), NOT PAINT
Bleach or wood cleaning solution
Plastic Sheets (to protect grass under fence) OPTIONAL
Level of Difficulty:
- 4 or 5 - Cleaning a wood fence can be a little easier than our mentioned level of difficulty depending on the type and amount of cleaning that will be taking place.
- Recommended Time Frame for Cleaning a Wood Fence:
- For maximum results we recommend that you clean/re-stain your wood fence once every 3-5 years.
If you have a cedar fence, you may notice that it will begin to turn a grayish color or the paint/stain will begin to lose its brightness, regardless of what kind of wood fence you have. You may notice a mold begin to develop on the fence. This section of the article will explain how to take care of these problems and get your wood fence looking new again!
If you decided to use plastic sheeting to protect your grass, you will want to lay that on the ground underneath the fence prior to starting any cleaning. (Using plastic sheeting will protect your grass from any harmful chemicals that may be in the cleaning solutions).
A mixture of "1 part bleach and 2 parts water" is very common when cleaning wood fences. However, you may also purchase wood cleaning solution from your local hardware store. What you will want to do first is to apply the cleaning solution to the fence and allow it to soak in until you notice that the fence is becoming brighter and/or clean. You will then want to spray the fence off with a water hose (use a power washer for removing old paint or tough stains - make sure power washer is on the widest spray setting and held about 12 inches away from fence).
After the fence has been cleaned and sprayed off you will want to allow it to air dry. If it still needs cleaning in certain spots after it dries, repeat the above mentioned process. Once the fence is clean and dry you are ready to apply a stain. (If you do not wish to stain a certain color, you can use a wood sealant to ensure that the fence will look new for a long time).
Properly apply the strain and allow the stain to dry. Your wood fence should now look beautiful and brand new. If you apply this process at least every 3 - 5 years, your wood fence will look beautiful and brand new for a long time!
How To Clean Chain Link, Steel, and Aluminum Fence
- Water hose
- Soft scrub brush
- Bucket of soapy water OPTIONAL
Level of Difficulty:
1 - Cleaning metal fences such as chain link, steel and aluminum is very easy and does not require much time/effort to complete.
Recommended Time Frame for Cleaning a Metal Fences:
For maximum results, we recommend that you clean your metal fences once a year or as needed.
If you want to give your children a chore to do around the house, now is the time. Cleaning a chain link, steel or aluminum fence is very easy and can be performed by almost anyone. Most of the time you can clean your metal fence by simply spraying it off with a water hose. However, if you come across some tough stains or areas that need a little scrubbing, the following advice should do the trick.
First, you will want to prepare a bucket of soapy water. To do this, simply fill a bucket with warm water and mix with any cleaning solution that will not increase chances of rust development. You will then want to take your soft bristle scrub brush and dip it in the soapy water. After the brush is wet, simply scrub the areas of the fence that need cleaning and rinse by spraying off with a water hose... It's that easy.
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