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Keep Your Fences Strong with Proper Care

All types of fences need periodic maintenance. Wood fences need more maintenance than other types, though all fences benefit from a twice-yearly checkup. Avoid dry rot, prevent boards from warping, tighten high-tensile and woven-wire fences, and catch potential electrical problems before they happen with these fence care tips.


Wood Fence Care


The first step to properly caring for a wood fence is to apply a protective coating immediately after installing the fence. This will slow down the natural process of decay, prevent the fence from drying out and cracking (getting dry rot), and prevent insects from chewing on and destroying the fence. Staining, sealing or painting with outdoor paint will take care of this. You do not need to stain or paint pressure-treated wood for protection, but you can seal it to prolong its life.

Once you've made the initial stain or paint application, you've done most of the work needed to keep a fence in good shape. Once a year, walk the fence line to check that there aren't any broken boards, that there's no insect damage, and that no nails or screws need to be replaced. If you find anything that needs to be repaired, fix it to prevent further damage. Every two to three years, you can pressure wash, scrape and repaint a painted wood fence. Pressure wash and re-stain a stained fence every five years.


Electric Fence Care


The biggest consideration in electric fence care is to ensure that the fence remains grounded at all times—otherwise it won't work. The fence must be grounded for electricity to flow through the wires. When building an electric fence, you should install grounding rods 10 ft. apart, all the way around. Periodically check to make sure that all grounding rods are still in place and that none are broken.

While checking grounding rods, look at the joints and clamps, ensure that everything is fitting properly, confirm that no insulators are broken, and make sure no wires are broken or sagging. Keep the area under the fence wires clear of debris and tall grass by mowing or spraying periodically with weedkiller. Every component of an electric fence plays an important role in keeping it working effectively and safely. It's worth your time to make sure everything is in working order.


High-Tensile and Woven Wire Fence Care


High-tensile wire fencing is sometimes electrified, so all of the maintenance tips regarding electric fencing apply. The other major maintenance task is to make sure that the tension is adequate, but not overly tight. Temperature fluctuations and use can cause the tension to change. Periodically check the tension to make sure that it is 150 to 200 lbs. You can allow up to 1 in. of sag every 40 ft.

Woven wire fencing needs to be inspected every six months to ensure that posts are still sturdily anchored, the fence sections are not sagging, and that there are no holes around the fence line from burrowing animals. Depending on the fence materials, rust or breakage could be a problem, so check for these weaknesses as well.

Give your fencing the proper care to keep you and your livestock safe. Take time each year for maintenance checks.

See our online Fencing Products or consult a team member at your local TSC store for help.