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.