Prolonged exposure to the weather elements in Texas is one of the biggest threats to a wood fence, and in North Texas it’s unavoidable. For North Texas homeowners, it pays to be extra-vigilant in the care and maintenance of your pine or cedar fence.

To ensure maximum protection from the elements, follow these five steps:

  1. Start Before You Build.
    • You can begin protecting your pine/cedar fence before it’s even installed by taking a few preventive measures.
    • Survey the building site and notice any concrete, rocks, tree roots, or other obstructions that get in the way of your fence’s planned path.
    • The support posts for most wood fences need to be placed eight feet apart. Make sure you can dig a two-foot-deep hole for each post without hitting anything harder than soil.
    • When pouring concrete for the posts, use only enough to fill the hole. Excess concrete can be forced upward in freezing temperatures, compromising your fence’s stability.
  2. Look Out for Problems From Above.
    • Tree branches, leaves, and other debris from above can damage wood fencing, so make sure you’re proactive about addressing these issues.
    • Before winter, cut or trim any branches hanging over your fence line. Frozen branches can break off and scrape the wood boards, and some have the potential to cause significant damage.
    • 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.
  3. Inspect Your Wood Fence Regularly.
    • Get in the habit of checking on your fence whenever the seasons change to nip any problems in the bud.
    • Address broken or cracking boards, boards that have warped, leaning posts, or splinters as soon as possible.
    • Examine the grass that immediately borders your fence and trim any overgrowth to keep it from spreading rot to your fence.
    • Water daily around the post to prevent cracks on the ground next to the post.  Extreme heat will cause the ground to dry and crack creating space between the ground and the cement around the post. This space allows the post to lean due to the gravitational pull and wind forces.
    • Set your sprinkler system so that water does not reach your fence. Continuous water drops on your wood fence will produce water stains. Water stains act like a scar on the wood and is close to impossible to remove them
    • Check your fence at the end of winter for any knotholes. Wood knots have the potential to contract in warmer weather and fall out. Use a wood filler to fill up any knotholes as soon as possible to prevent insects, birds, or even termites from moving in.
  4. Use a Protective Fence Stain.
    • Consider using a stain that’s specially formulated for North Texas fencing materials. If you notice the color of your wood fence is beginning to fade, it’s time to apply a new coat of stain. Otherwise, plan to restain your fence every two to three years.
  5. Follow Up After Storms.
    • Check your wood fence after any significant storms or weather events to make sure it’s stable and level. An easy way to do this is to run a piece of string along the tops of the fence posts. If the string appears level, your posts are secure. If you begin to notice any dips or rises along the string, check the posts for damage and make necessary repairs before the problem worsens.
    • By carefully monitoring your fence’s condition, you can prevent the weather from doing its worst, avoiding costly repairs in the future.