There’s a chill in the air, you can smell a pumpkin spice latte around every corner, and the evenings are finally the perfect temp for family bonfires. The changing seasons are certainly one of the best perks of living in Michigan. As our Fall weather sets in, and we begin to remember that Winter is coming let’s skim through a few refreshers on how to prepare your fencing for the cold.
Step One: Inspection
Wood fencing is undoubtedly gorgeous, but does show damage more quickly than polyvinyl. Take a good look over your fence to check for signs of rotting from a wet summer. Addressing these spots before heavy snowfall will save you time and money. Make sure your fence posts aren’t wobbling in the ground, your gate is latching properly, and that there aren’t any loose, caving, or warped boards. A couple loose boards here and there are no cause for real alarm, they can usually be repaired or replaced rather than having to put in an entirely new fence.
In addition to checking for existing damage, you’ll want to assess whether you feel your fence can hold up to the weight of a heavy snowfall. If your wood fence is already having some issues, a heavy snow can unfortunately take it over the edge. Luckily, if you have a metal or polyvinyl fence they tend to withstand the change of seasons quite well and are sturdy against the weight of snow.
Step Two: Protection
We’re addressing wood fences here. You’ll want to make sure your wood fencing has had a waterproofing treatment. To check for this, splash a bit of water onto the fence and see that it beads up rather than soaks in. If your fence is turning a darker color and absorbing the moisture, you’ll want to apply a sealant to your fence. A waterproof stain is also a good option.
Leaves and Snow:
Keeping debris away from the bottom of your fence will help prolong its life exponentially. When leaves, sticks, and snow pile up at the base of your posts they hold in moisture. As leaves rot, they may take your fence down with them. You’ll notice splitting, swelling, and a general discoloration at the bottom of your fence if it has not been properly cared for through the fall and winter months. For those of you with vinyl fencing you may notice a green discoloration from algae that grows from excessive moisture. A quick power-washing can clean this off, but we recommend saving yourself that extra trouble.
Step Three: Enjoy!
As we’ve all heard before, if you take care of your things they’ll last longer. With a little extra work on the front end of the season you’ll prolong the life of your fencing for years to come. On the flip side, if you don’t think your fence will sustain the winter months Fall is by far the best time of year for a new installation. This tends to be a slower season for fencing companies which gives you an advantage for pricing, service, and attention. Also, the weather is a more consistent temperature which means the ground is at its best for the entire installation process. Not frozen, not too muddy, not too dry. If you act quickly, you may even be able to enjoy a few of those evening bonfires with your new fence as a gorgeous backdrop!