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How Can You Tell If Your Stained Wooden Fence Is Ready For Winter?

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Winter is coming fast! Now is the time to assess the state of your outdoor wooden fence, before snow, wind and rain have a chance to run its course. As you inspect your wooden fence this winter, the answers to these questions will help you determine whether or not your wooden fence is ready for winter, or if it needs repair.

What Color is the Wood?

Your stained wooden fence should still look stained. For example, if you stained it a dark brownish-red a year or two ago, it should still be pretty much brownish-red now. If it's recently taken on a gray tone, this is an indication that the stain and sealer is no longer effective, and it needs to be re-stained. Failing to re-stain your fence could allow precipitation to soak into the wood over the winter, resulting in rot.

To restain your fence efficiently, use a strong jet of water from a power washer to scrub away the top layer of wood from your fence and reveal the brighter, fresher wood underneath. Then, allow the fence to dry and apply two new coats of stain and sealer. Do this before the temperatures drop outside, because many stain and seal products have a minimum temperature below which stain should not be applied.

Are There Holes from Pests?

Look for holes from wood-damaging pests. Jagged holes in the wood could be a sign of termites, while smooth passageways and small, window-like openings into your fence could be a sign of carpenter ants. If you've had either pests in your home recently, very likely this is a related infestation. Have your fence pest-treated. When the pests have been eliminated, have a fencing company assess the fence for damage and make repairs as necessary.

Does the Fence Feel Stable?

Put your hand on the wooden posts of your fence and try to wiggle the posts back and forth. Wiggling posts are a sign that the wood underneath the ground has started to rot. Destabilized fences can be a danger when heavy snow falls and when ice storms occur. If your fence is wiggling or seems unstable, have it looked at by your fencing contractor.

Is the Wood Soft and Splintering Near the Ground?

The wood near the ground is the first to start to rot, because it's constantly exposed to moisture from the ground. Upon inspecting the wood near the soil, you may notice it's been splintering, swelling or cracking. If this is the case, some boards of your fence may need to be replaced. If the damage is bad enough, you may even need a new fence.

Knowing when to contact fencing companies can help you get your fence ready for winter. Once all repairs have been made, your fence should be able to resist the moisture and wind in the long months of winter.