Gone are the days when garden fences were simply a privacy barrier between your garden and the next ...
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Next in our winter garden maintenance series is how to keep your garden fence panels in tip-top shape to survive Glasgow’s rough winter snap!
Preparing your garden fence panels for the winter is a fairly straightforward task. You’ll thank yourself for being proactive come spring when you are not met with a massive fence replacement bill!
Follow these steps for the best fence treatment for this winter.
Before you jump into applying fence preservative to your garden fence panels, they need some TLC.
If you haven’t tended to your fence for some time, it might look worse for wear. Now is the time to look for loose fixings or broken, wobbly, or rotting wood.
This step is crucial – compare your garden fence panels to a sail. When the strong Glasgow winter gales blow, the panels will catch the wind, putting immense stress on the whole structure, damaging it, particularly if it’s already weak.
Replace or repair rugged looking parts, keeping it nice and strong.
You should also give it a good scrub to remove dirt/debris. Dirt clings on to moisture which ultimately causes wood to degrade. It’s best to do this on the driest, warmest day you can possibly pin down.
Like we advise when preparing your wooden garden furniture for the winter, after cleaning the wood, let it dry completely before applying treatment.
Thinking of skipping the treatment this winter and dealing with it in the spring? Bad idea! When timber is left untreated it’s extremely exposed to the environment and it’s much more likely to rot.
Prepping your garden fence panels for winter involves more than just tending to the fence itself. Don’t let your hard work be undone by tree branches overhead collapsing on your fence under the weight of snow!
Not only will falling tree limbs damage your fence, regular moisture falling from above will make your fence damp and prone to mould.
Prune overhanging plants and branches to remove this risk.
Moisture from above is an issue, but don’t forget that the base of your fence is just as vulnerable. Securing and waterproofing your foundations is essential. Moisture can seep up the fence posts through the ground or from surrounding debris, weakening the whole structure.
Firstly, check the stability of the fence posts. Make sure they’re straight-standing and secured in position so they withstand the near-hurricane winter winds! If you feel they need extra security, you can add extra post mix into the ground. The posts should be around 3 feet into the ground, so ensure they’re firmly in place.
Trimming grass at the base and shovelling away debris and snow will reduce the likelihood of moisture catching on to the fence.
Make sure that when you’re shovelling snow off your garden path that you don’t chuck it up against your fence panels – keep this area clear!
Now the structure is fully prepped, apply your fence preservative. This prolongs the life of your garden fence panels, making it water-resistant, repelling that pesky moisture!
Pressure treated fence panels have already been treated with preservative chemicals to ward off the nasty aftermath of moisture, but applying a top-up coat of fence preservative is still advised.
There are a variety of colours of preservative you can use, from clear coatings to bolder shades that will make your fence pop out amongst the white snow. Whatever you use, make sure you follow the instructions on the tin to a T for optimum effectiveness.
Preservative should be applied yearly but if you’re unsure whether your fence needs it, try a ‘splash test’. Splash water on it – if the droplets bead on the surface, then the preservative is working. If the moisture soaks into the panels, then it needs protecting.
Weather conditions might be worse than anticipated so keep an eye on your fence to make sure it’s holding up.
Keep the surrounding area clear, clean and as dry as possible. You should regularly inspect the fence for frozen precipitation and brush any off with a broom.
Your fence should now be strong and sturdy enough to last the chilly coming months! For more inspiration for winter garden maintenance, check out the rest of our blog, including our tips for insulating your garden shed.
If you’re based in or around Glasgow and have a fencing query, contact Stewart Timber today!