Fall is the optimum time to make sure your fence is in good condition. Winter weather, including ice, snow, and extreme temperatures, can be hard on a fence. Taking the time to do a little maintenance before the weather turns cold is key to avoiding fence damage during the winter months. Read on to learn five maintenance steps you can take.
1. Lubricate Gates
You don't want your fence gate to stick on cold mornings. Ensure everything continues to operate smoothly by cleaning and lubricating the hinges and latches. Use a wire brush to remove any dirt or debris that has worked itself into the hinges. Then, add a drop or two of a household lubricant to each hinge and to the latching mechanism.
2. Replace Damaged Boards
Any boards showing signs of damage in the fall will end up looking much worse by the time winter ends. If you have boards that are split, cracked, or rotting, then you should switch them out for new boards now. Leaving a damaged board in place could let the rot spread to the fence rails or neighboring boards. Damaged boards could also break during winter, leaving an unsightly and possibly unsafe opening in your fence.
3. Treat for Rust
Damage is a concern for metal fences, particularly wrought iron. Check the fence over for any rust in the fall. You can sand any rust off with steel wool or a wire brush. On wood fences, check the nails and other hardware for rust. Any nails that have rusted through will need to be replaced so that the fence boards don't pop off during winter temperature fluctuations. Further, removing rusty hardware ensures that it won't stain the fence boards.
4. Clean Off the Pickets
Every fence will benefit from a cleaning in the fall, but it's especially important to clean wood and vinyl fencing so stains don't develop. You can use a pressure washer to make short work of it, or you can simply scrub the fence down with water and brush. Use a diluted bleach solution to clean the fence if there are mold or mildew stains.
5. Repaint and Finish
Once the fence is mended and clean, you may need to apply a fresh coat of paint or a clear finish. This needs to be done if there is any bare wood or metal showing. Apply at least two coats to ensure you have a good weather seal, otherwise, wood rot or rust may be an issue after winter.
Contact a fence company like Mills Fence if you need more help with maintenance and repairs.