While we often try to limit our time spent outside during the harsh UK winter, it’s still important to make sure that we don’t leave the outdoors neglected, unless you’d prefer to deal with all of the aftermath in the spring.
Wooden fences can take a substantial battering from the cold winter weather, but there are some things we can do to help alleviate the damage, so in this article we’re looking at six ways to help protect your wooden fence over the winter.
Know the dangers
Knowledge is key when it comes to keeping your fence strong and robust, so you should make yourself aware of the dangers of winter and how an unprotected fence can suffer.
Moisture is a huge problem in the winter. Extended periods of heavy rainfall pose a major risk to fences, with larger deposits of groundwater threatening to infiltrate posts from the bottom – which can easily lead to widespread rot. This is before you take into account the extra water from snow and ice. This can hang around for days at a time, exposing your fence to a constant flow of moisture.
You’ll also be facing trouble from strong gusts, as well as drastic temperature changes expanding and contracting the timber, leading to splits, knots and cracks which can be exploited by rainfall or standing moisture.
Create proper drainage
With water being an ever present threat throughout the winter, you should definitely think about how to create clear, effective drainage channels away from the base of your fence.
One of the most damaging factors related to winter is pooled water at the base of fence posts. Not preparing for that is an easy way to encourage rot. Making sure that the water has a place to go can be the decisive factor that saves you from having to replace large portions of your fence once the winter siege is over.
Preserve the wood
This is even more important if your fence is a few years old. Timber fences will need some kind of regular maintenance throughout its lifespan, and this mainly involves ensuing that it is properly stained and preserved. Coating your fence with preservative and waterproof sealant will go a long way towards keeping the winter rains at bay, and this should be done annually – or every six months if you like.
If you’re looking for a new fence, ask your supplier if they provide pressure treated timber. These fences are equipped with effective rot resistance from the beginning. When it comes to treating this timber a year on, make sure to use preservative specific to wood that has been pressure treated.
Check structural integrity
Winter storms can be brutal, with wind speeds dramatically higher than you find in the summer. While wooden posts are flexible in storms and can withstand strong gusts, it’s still possible that they can be shifted loose by the wind.
Before the winter winds blow through, inspect the structural integrity of the fence, making sure the posts are firmly planted, and are not leaning or showing any signs of looseness. After a storm has hit, do the same thing. Check the level and angle of the posts and think about re-setting them if you’re worried. Also perform regular inspections of the panels, and act to fix any damage to planks or boards at the first sign of trouble, instead of leaving them to face the rest of the winter in the same, vulnerable condition.
Deal with overhanging plants or branches
With strong winter storms comes the potential for loose-blowing debris, and if you have any overhanging branches or heavy plants near your fence, these can spell trouble for your timber.
Think about pruning and cutting back these hazards as necessary. Though a timber fence is strong, it doesn’t need the extra burden of falling branches or debris in the winter. It would be a shame for the fence to deflect the threats of the cold, wet weather only to suffer nasty damage from an unruly tree branch, so give your fence some breathing room before things get out of hand.
Ask the professionals for help
This is a worthy tip throughout the year, but is definitely worth considering around winter time. Arrange a consultation before winter to repair any existing damage, so it doesn’t get worse later on, and ask for advice on how to protect your specific fence for the season.
Experienced suppliers and installers of timber fencing can help rectify any damage after the winter, too. So if your fence has taken too much punishment in the cold, call in a trustworthy team to help bring it back up to scratch and find out how to prevent this from happening in the future.
Harrow Fencing are proud to be one of the leading fencing suppliers in the Harrow and Hillingdon areas. With over 50 years of experience, we use our extensive knowledge and expertise to make sure you find the perfect fence for your home. In addition, our talented team are on hand to offer extensive repair and maintenance services to help your fence last for years to come. To find out more about all of our products and services, contact the friendly team at Harrow Fencing today.