Although traditional post and rail fencing has been a popular choice for many years, to maintain strength and longevity it needs proper maintenance, especially over winter. After several weeks of exposure to the wind, rain, hail, and various other winter elements, the wooden timber in post and rail being can be at risk of rotting, weakening and at risk of breaking, which in turn leaves livestock or horses vulnerable. So how do you prepare and protect your post and rail fencing?
- Post and rail fencing is a popular choice for many fencing applications.
- Wooden fencing can experience a lot of damage over winter leaving both fence and the livestock vulnerable.
- How can you protect and prepare post and rail fencing from damage due to bad weather?
So, before the winter season ends, there are steps you can take to give them the best chance of survival.
Firstly, check that post and rail boundary fences are secure and that the posts are set firmly and solidly in the ground. Remove any large or loose objects near the fence that might hit and damage it when the wind gets up. Try and clear away high grass that’s touching the fence so that it doesn’t stay wet even when it isn’t raining, or if possible, try to ensure that the base of the post has adequate drainage to wick water away.
Preserve and protect the timber by treating it with preservative and wood stain, or paint. Stain will protect by penetrating the wood while painting protects by forming a barrier on the surface. Remember to treat the tops of cut posts and the ends where they join other pieces of timber. Any unprotected wood can lead to water ingress which in turn can lead to rot.
If you notice any damage to the fence and need to repair or replace a rail, consider using screws rather than nails. Although nails are quicker, easier, and cheaper, screws don’t rust, they are more secure, and less likely to be pulled out under pressure from sagging wood.
With traditional, synthetic and split post and rail fencing to choose from, most fencing contractors will also offer 2, 3 and even 4 rail options. Using cheap rails can expose, weaken and even allow animals to easily escape so it is extremely important to choose high quality rails such as fully galvanised 100mm ring shank nails. Whilst this may initally appear to be a more costly option, taken over the whole life costs of the fence, it may well be an investment work making.
Unfortunately, choosing cheaper options when it comes to post and rail may end up being false economy if it just collapses due to high winds and inclement winter weather.
Timely repair and maintenance can lengthen the life of post and rail fencing. If you’re considering involving a professional fencing company, it’s probably worth making sure that they are CPCS, CSCS, & NPTC qualified, and fully insured.