Fence rot is a real danger to your fence. It can start slowly, often below the ground, but it may do lasting damage before you even realize it.
As with a lot of external dangers, prevention is better than the cure, but if it takes hold do not despair.
We get a lot of inquiries from clients looking to tackle fence rot.
The simple truth is that it is better to avoid fence rot than to try and eliminate it.
If you are looking to avoid fence rot you should:
- Always use pressure-treated wood
- Use Fence Armor
- Use suitable fence posts
- Treat the wood regularly
- Keep plants away from the fence
- Consider using a different material
- Be vigilant
Let’s take a closer look at each point
Always use pressure-treated wood
Pressure-treated wood has all the necessary chemicals ‘injected’ into the rails and posts during factory production.
The wood comes ready to keep rot, and other causes of decay, away from the fence.
You will not need to treat or stain the wood, though you can, and we recommend you get in the good habit of looking after the fence at an early stage.
Pressure-treated wood may be a bit more expensive, though not by much, and the long-term benefits outweigh the costs.
Use Fence Armor
A lot of damage happens at the base of posts and pickets
The garden strimmer can chip away at the surface, or even the family pet can scrape away the protective layers.
Our Fence Armor offers an instant, easy to apply solution.
Fence Armor just slips around the base of the post or picket, like a protective sleeve.
Self-tapping screws attach it to the fence, and Fence Armor comes in a variety of sizes.
Constructed from American galvanized steel, it offers the best protection possible.
The product is easy to remove when painting or treating the wood.
You can even take it with you when you move home.
Use suitable fence posts
The fence posts are going into the ground; they will be at the coalface in the fight against rot.
Rot in the posts may spread to other parts of the fence, and undermine the structure.
You should always use posts treated for going in the ground and dipping them in a solution containing copper naphthenate adds further protection.
Pre-treated cedar is the preferred option for fence posts.
Place in well-drained soil, with a layer of gravel beneath, and if using concrete, slope the surface to take rainwater away.
Treat the wood regularly
Even if you are using pressure-treated wood you should also have a regular treating regime.
In the first few years it is a good idea to apply a coat of stain annually, to build up a layer of protection.
Always use a good brand name and follow the instructions on the tin; do not skimp.
If painting then use a quality outdoor one and not a paint which will peel in the summer or flake off in the winter cold.
Keep plants and trees away from the fence
Fence rot often happens due to lack of sunlight or a good flow of fresh air.
Keep shrubs, plants, trees and undergrowth away from the fence.
This is especially relevant in areas of high rain and moisture.
Allow the sun and the wind to get at the fence to dry it and keep those damp, rot-inducing conditions at bay.
Consider using a different material
If fence rot is proving difficult to avoid or control maybe you should look at using a different material.
Often the local climate encourages fence rot, and it spreads across the fence, despite your best efforts.
This often happens with older fences.
Consider using vinyl as a fencing alternative.
Modern vinyl fencing is very durable and it cannot rot, nor can it fall to termite infestation.
It will look as good as wood and withstand the toughest of weather conditions.
Keep on top of the fence maintenance.
This starts from day one, when you make sure you are only buying pressure-treated rails and posts.
Treat the wood regularly and have an eye out for the early signs of rot, such as staining and a softness to the touch.
Be very vigilant around joins in the fence and the base of the fence posts.
By staying vigilant you will help to avoid fence rot.