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With winter in full swing, your fence might need to stand up to ice, snow, howling winds or pelting rain. Mother Nature always wins eventually, but you can slow her triumph by taking steps to weatherproof your fence. Here are some tips for extending the lives of different types of fence materials.

Weatherproof Wood

Wood is one of the most popular fence materials, but weather takes an obvious toll on most types of wood. Rain and wind both lead to cracks, warping and rotting. You can tell how waterproof your fence is (or isn’t!) by spraying a little water on it. If the water absorbs into your fence, darkening the wood, that means it’s not waterproof. If the water forms beads that hang there, it’s adequately protected.
If you need to add waterproofing, first clean the fence thoroughly with a wood cleaning solution. Then decide what type of weatherproofing you’re going to use. Paint, sealant and wax are all effective choices.
Sealants come in colored or clear, depending on whether you want to enhance your wood’s color or go au naturel. Use sealants on unfinished or painted fences.
Want to paint your fence? For the longest-lasting results, prime your fence first. Look for a paint that’s moisture-resistant or waterproof. Buy high-quality paint that covers well in one coat. Though pricier, some paints come with a lifetime warranty.
Wax polish is another way to waterproof your fence, with the added bonus of keeping it clean. It’s also versatile – you can apply it over shellac, varnish or oil-based paint. Choose between clear or colored wax that enhances your wood’s natural color while concealing blemishes.
Even when the weather’s dry, sprinklers can threaten your fence with rot. Avoid placing sprinklers too close to your fence.

Iron

rust iron fence weatherproof
Flickr/Beverly Goodwin

For metal fences, your biggest weather-related enemy is rust. If your iron fence has gotten rusty, first brush off the rust flakes. Then you can choose a product to coat your fence. If you like a painted look, choose a paint with anti-rust properties, as Red Beacon suggests. To preserve your metal’s natural color, try coating with weatherproof wax. Water will run off your fence, rather than sinking into the metal and making it rust.

Vinyl and Chain Link

Vinyl and chain link fences are almost maintenance free. But cleaning them and making sure they’re in good shape will extend their lives. A hose and stiff brush is all you need.
Need more help with weatherproofing? Trying to picture your ideal fence? Call us and we’ll be happy to talk fences with you.