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At Buzz Custom Fence, we understand the frustration of fence post-splitting, a common issue many homeowners face. We’ve heard this heartbreaking story too many times: Homeowners decide to build a fence themselves, or, worse, they hire a disreputable fence company. The fence is finished, it looks gorgeous, until one day, often in summer, you think you must be hallucinating. No, that can’t be a crack in your beautiful new wood fence!
If you’re just starting your fence-building process, then you still have time for prevention. Otherwise, you’ll want to skip ahead to the section below on damage control and repair.

Understanding Fence Post Splitting: Causes and Prevention?

Pressure and moisture are the big crack culprits. New wood is wetter inside than many homeowners realize. Not only is there natural moisture, but lumber is often treated with chemicals to prevent rot. As the sun dries your new wood fence, it sucks out moisture, putting pressure on wood fibers. Little cracks start to appear where the moisture used to be. Poorly installed fence hardware also creates tension. The thinner your wood, the more severe the cracks will be. It usually pays off to invest in higher-grade wood.

it’s important to understand that different types of wood respond differently to environmental factors. For instance, woods like cedar and redwood are naturally more resistant to moisture and decay, but even these sturdier varieties can succumb to cracking under extreme conditions. Variations in temperature also play a crucial role. As wood expands and contracts with temperature changes, the stress on the material can lead to cracking, especially if the installation does not allow for this natural movement.

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Strategies to Cover Gaps in Wood Fences

Gaps in wood fences can compromise privacy and aesthetic appeal. To cover gaps, consider using wood strips cut to the size of the gap and attach them with weather-resistant screws. For a decorative touch, lattice panels or bamboo screens can be added, offering both coverage and an aesthetic upgrade. Ensure that any added materials are treated or sealed to withstand outdoor conditions.

Preventing cracks

Let’s say you’re in the enviable position of reading this post before you’ve installed a new fence. The best thing you can do is buy high quality wood and seal the wood before cracks appear. If you’re really devoted to your future fence, and ready for intense labor, seal and stain all sides of the fence boards before building it.  Dry them on a rack inside your garage or other shaded area.
Your best bet for hardware is to pre-drill holes, then insert screws or, if you must, nails. If you do use nails, they should be blunted, not sharp. Don’t place nails or screws too close to the edges of boards, as this can cause splitting.

Filling Large Cracks in Wood Posts

But what if little cracks have already appeared in your beloved new fence? If the cracks are small, you can fill them with epoxy or another wood filler. For larger cracks, coat the sides of the crack with waterproof glue, then wedge in wood scraps to fill the cracks. This is a temporary fix, but will help until you replace individual boards or the whole fence. Sanding cracked boards may also help. Once it looks as good as it’s going to get, slather sealer or stain on all exposed surfaces.
Avoid power washing a wood fence, as it shoots more water into the cracks, which will continue to expand.

Best Practices for Wood Fence Repair

Ensuring the longevity and stability of your wood fence, particularly against fence post splitting, requires regular and thorough maintenance. Regularly inspect your fence for signs of wear such as loose boards, rot, or insect damage. Addressing these issues promptly can prevent the progression of damage, especially critical in preventing fence post splitting. Tighten or replace any hardware that appears loose and consider reinforcing any posts that show signs of leaning or instability.

In cases of rot or severe damage, take immediate action to remove the compromised section and treat the surrounding area with a quality fungicide, preventing further decay. This not only helps in maintaining the structural integrity of your fence but also ensures that fence post splitting is kept at bay. Remember, proactive care and timely repairs are your best defense against the common challenges faced by wood fences, embodying the commitment to quality and durability that Buzz Custom Fence stands for.

Questions about installing or repairing your wood fence? Or not sure whether your old fence is worth saving? Contact Us today or get your free estimate!