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How to Protect a Fence From Soil Damage

25 September 2016

Damaged fence in garden

A timber fence can add multiple benefits to your property, from creating an effective barrier and boundary line to boosting the aesthetic appeal of your property’s exterior for years at a time. However, your wooden fence could end up suffering prematurely from rot if you don’t take the proper steps to keep it maintained and protected before and after installation. This month, we’re looking at the best ways to protect your fence from soil damage, to help keep rot at bay for as long as possible so your fence can stay standing without needing constant repair or replacement.

Fence Rot Threat

Rot is an ever present threat to the health of your fence, and is caused by the wood’s prolonged exposure to moisture, mainly via contact with the soil. Rot will weaken the fence’s structural integrity and dramatically reduce its lifespan.

You might think that replacing a rotten fence panel or post will solve the problem, but if you don’t deal with the source of the rot the replacement panel will only suffer the same fate. Direct contact between the bottom of the fence and damp soil will allow moisture to infiltrate and soak into the fence easily from the earth. Rainfall, too, can be a factor, especially in unprotected wood; the rain will absorb directly into the fence, or will collect at the bottom in the soil.


Clear separation between the fence wood and the soil itself is the only way to prevent soil damage; it will be a persistent and immovable threat until this is achieved. If your fence has already been protected from the soil, by some of the measures we will talk about shortly, there are still ways that soil damage can harm your fence. Raising the soil level for instance, so it forgoes any implemented protection, will lead to rot further up the fence, so if you are creating raised beds or a compost area in your garden you will need to plan ahead so it doesn’t accelerate the presence of rot.

Effective Barriers With Gravel Boards

There are options when it comes to sheltering your wooden fence from the soil: you can install gravel boards along the bottom, set your wooden posts in concrete, or use concrete posts from the outset. These methods will effectively isolate the soil from your fence posts and panels, as well as strengthening your fence in general.

Gravel boards can be timber or concrete, and will raise your fence panels off the ground and away from any damp soil. Timber gravel boards should be treated to fight against moisture and rot, and will need to be maintained over their lifetime so they remain strong throughout, however they are easily replaced if required.

Concrete gravel boards and concrete posts are maintenance free, offering comprehensive protection from soil damage for the entirety of their lifespan. Timber posts should be set in concrete, or else moisture will be easily absorbed in large quantities in the bottom portion of your posts, severely weakening them. This will eventually lead to the collapse of your fence.

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Wood Pressure Treatment

One of the most effective methods of rot prevention is pressure treatment of the timber. The preservative is able to penetrate deeply into the wood with this treatment method, offering comprehensive protection from rot, as well as decay caused by insects. Pressure-treated timber posts will stay healthy for much longer; rot caused by soil damage, insects, or anything else will be kept at bay, and combining these with gravel boards and concrete foundations will create an incredibly hard-wearing and attractive fence that will truly last.

All the timber fence posts available at Harrow Fencing are expertly pressure treated, making them an ideal choice for any fencing project. To find out more, feel free to give us a call!

Professional Installation

Protecting your fence from the soil might sound simple, but getting it right so your fence is able to properly stand the test of time is always best left to the professionals. It’s a heavy-duty job, and requires an expert eye to prevent any mistakes. Some people look for other means to try to protect their fence, sometimes resorting to plastic or rubber membranes under the soil and against the wood, but this is a less durable and less reliable method of protection.

High-quality fencing materials installed by experienced professionals is by far the best way to achieve long-lasting protection against soil damage. Concrete gravel boards, posts and panels will be installed with complete accuracy to ensure that your fence is rigid from the start, leaving no space for soil to infiltrate into the wood itself. A professionally installed fence, designed to fight against soil damage and rot, will enjoy a long lifespan, and you won’t have to worry about any defects cropping up in the future from inconsistent or inaccurate workmanship.

The expert team at Harrow Fencing know how to ensure a long-lasting, and attractive timber fence. We supply a range of high-quality components, from timber and concrete posts and gravel boards to a range of fence panels. Our comprehensive installation service caters to your specific requirements, so rot and soil damage will be a thing of the past when you choose Harrow Fencing. For more information on all of our products and services, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today – we are always happy to help.

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