Winter can be brutal on backyards. Tree branches break under the weight of wet snow, unraked leaves create dead spots in the lawn, and flowerbeds can be in various states of disarray. While surveying the damage, don’t forget to look at your fencing, too.
At first look, the fence may seem to be in fine shape. But a closer inspection could reveal some issues that aren’t readily apparent.
“As we thaw out, people are getting out in the yard, mowing the yards,” Joe Perini, a builder/estimator for Rick’s Custom Fencing & Decking, said. “When it comes to fencing, the biggest thing to look for is loose posts. Don’t give it a shove, but if they wiggle at all, they’re probably broken at the base. It might not seem like it is, but it’s being held up by the other posts.”
Depending on the age of the fence, one broken post can lead to entire sections failing. Replacing that post can extend the life of your fence for another year or two, but at some point, homeowners will need to consider replacing several sections at a time.
“As far as fence repairs, is it time for a new fence, or is it okay to repair it,” Perini said. “Depending on how it’s built and maintained, a fence can last 18 to 25 years. But compare it to a car: if I have 18 to 25 years on a car, and things go wrong, is it worth fixing it or buying a new one?”
When that time comes, there are a few things a homeowner can do to extend the life of their new fence, and it all starts with the posts.
“One of the big things when we build a new fence is to make sure the concrete holding the post is above ground level,” Perini said. “So when it rains, the water doesn’t collect at the base of the post. Make sure to keep debris away from the base too because that will keep the moisture trapped.”
Staining the fence adds another layer of protection. Although it sounds labor-intensive, it only needs to be applied every five years, and will make the fence stronger and better looking. Rick’s Custom Fencing & Decking has formulated their own brand of stain that doesn’t just coat the material, but soaks into the wood. If properly applied, each coat will last up to six years.
Rick’s Custom Fencing & Decking has been designing, producing, and building custom fences since 1980. Offering a full-service experience, they work with homeowners through every step of the project.
The look of a wood fence matches the personality of the Pacific Northwest. Outdoorsy, rustic, and a little bit weathered – the occasional knot hole in a fence just adds to the scenery. But if a homeowner wants something more durable, Rick’s Custom Fencing & Decking offers several other materials.
“Vinyl has come a long way over the years,” Perini said. “It looks like cedar, comes in two colors, has steel reinforced bars, and comes in pieces. It’s not a premade panel, so it’s great for hilly terrain. You pay a little more up front, but there is a lifetime warranty on the product and it eliminates the need for stain.”
SimTek Fencing is another long-lasting option that offers a different look for your fencing. More durable than vinyl, this is a low-density plastic material with steel reinforcement available in two visual variants: EcoStone Simulated Rock or Ashland Simulated Cedar. It won’t chip or crack and can easily be cleaned with a pressure washer.
Don’t Forget The Deck
They say fences make good neighbors, but a deck allows those neighbors to come over and enjoy a summer barbecue. During the winter, though, the deck can take a beating. Standing water, algae growth, and rot can lead to some unpleasant discoveries come spring.
“It’s not like a fence,” Perini said. “A deck takes a lot of abuse. Algae buildup on the surface causes it to be slick and the wood expands and contracts during the year which can loosen handrail bolts.”
If your deck maintenance has been inconsistent, there are ways to bring it back to life. Start with pressure washing the decking from a safe distance to remove the surface algae and debris. Then it’s just a matter of light sanding, treating, and staining your deck. Not only will it look brighter, it will also be safer.
More in depth repair work, such as support beam bolts or standards for second story decks, should be dealt with by an experienced professional.
Even with the late snow that hit Clark County last month, winter is coming to a close. Now is a great time to inspect the backyard and make a list of what needs to be done with the grass, landscaping, and garden. Just don’t forget to inspect the fence, too.
“That’s part of homeownership, really,” Perini said. “When shingles blow off the roof, or you see a soft spot in the siding, it’s time to replace it. It’s just part of the maintenance costs.”
Rick’s Custom Fencing & Decking is one of the largest decking and fencing companies in the Pacific Northwest. In addition, They also design and build patio covers, pergolas, gates, and arbors. For more information, call (360) 253-3792 or visit ricksfencing.com