It’s that time of year again! Winter in the Mid-Atlantic always brings a few surprises, but you can stay one step ahead. At least when it comes to protecting your fence. We utilize a lot of low maintenance options for fencing, but that doesn’t mean we recommend setting them up and then forgetting them. Prepare for whatever the weather will bring in the coming months with these simple steps:
- Take a Look Around.
The easiest way to determine what protection your fence needs is by simply looking at it. Take a walk around the perimeter, searching for any loose posts or small signs of damage along the way. Too often, what starts out small has a way of growing much bigger over the course of a bad winter. So, it’s best to address any potential chips, scratches, dents, etc. now. Wood fences require a little extra attention during this season, since this material is more vulnerable to moisture than a vinyl or aluminum fence would be. Be sure to check for soft spots, which could indicate the presence of rot, or tiny holes left by wood-eating insects. Although you probably don’t have to worry about the insects when it’s this cold, those holes can fill with snow, ice, and other moisture if you let them.
- Address Repairs ASAP.
If you uncover anything during your inspection, make sure you address it right away. Whether you feel comfortable breaking out the putty or you’d prefer to call us, it’s all about staying ahead of winter weather. Especially if you notice any underlying problems with stability, go ahead and consult with the experts. This could indicate an issue with the footers, which we’d need to fix before the ground freezes too much. If we’re recently installed your fence, you shouldn’t have to worry about any of these matters yet. But with each year, try to be a little more diligent.
- Keep it Clear.
Now, this is an important step in protecting your fence, no matter what kind you have. Fencing isn’t really designed to hold a lot of weight. But natural elements are heavier than you might expect. When you allow leaves and branches or other lawn clippings to pile up around your posts—and then you get snow and/or ice on top of that, it’s a recipe for disaster. It can add a lot of wear and tear, even to new fencing. Therefore, you’ll want to trim back shrubs and trees close to the fence to minimize damage from falling limbs. Hopefully, you’ve cleared away most of the fallen leaves by now, but it’s never too late! When (or if) it snows, be sure to add “fence posts” to your snow removal checklist. You don’t have to go crazy with a snow blower. Simply using a broom to sweep off sections and prevent it from piling up should be enough. What really ages a fence is ice. In particular, ice dams created from run-off freezing and then re-freezing should be a priority for removal.
While we don’t really know what this winter will bring yet, it never hurts to be prepared! You can protect your fence all season long by following these tips and keeping the professionals on standby. No matter what kind of fence you have—wood, vinyl, aluminum, etc.—try to stay ahead of the weather and keep it looking great for many seasons ahead.