Rot is a destructive condition that affects wood fences, sometimes completely destroying them. To save a fence suffering from rot, you must first determine what is happening and why, then arrange for necessary fence repair. Fortunately, once the problem is under control and fence services have made their repairs, future rot can be prevented.
Two Kinds of Rot That Affect Wood Fences
There are two kinds of rot that affect wood structures: wet rot and dry rot. Each type has different causes and presents in a different way. Before you call fence services to arrange for a fence repair, it is important to understand why and what is going on with your installation:
- Wet Rot - Wet rot is caused when wood absorbs moisture and remains damp for long periods of time, making a perfect home for fungus. It is the type of rot that most commonly affects wood fences. Wet rot usually occurs at the bottom of a fence, close to the ground or anywhere else where wood does not dry out well. Over time, this type of rot can lead to cracks, splits, and a general weakening of the wood as the fibers soften while being consumed by the fungus.
- Dry Rot - Dry rot is caused by continuous exposure to hot and dry conditions until all the natural oils in the wood are depleted. This drier and softer wood becomes host to a different type of fungus that eats away at the fibers, weakening the wood. Structures that suffer from dry rot become brittle, break easily, and may even crumble when touched.
What Should You Do If Your Structure is Rotting?
In order to make appropriate repairs, the fence services company you hire will inspect the entire fencing to determine how widespread the rot problem is. Smaller sections of affected fencing can be easily replaced; however, if much of your structure is decomposing due to wet or dry rot, the best option may be to tear it down and replace it. Fences that are rotting are quite weak and may no longer fill their intended purpose.
How Can You Prevent Rot in the Future?
To prevent rot and the need for expensive fence repair, all you must do is remove the conditions that cause it. Wet rot can be prevented by keeping all foliage away from the wood, the edges off the ground, and by allowing the wood to dry out after it becomes wet.
Prevention of both wet and dry rot requires good fence maintenance. This means periodically washing the fence with a mild detergent and allowing it to dry completely. You must then apply some sort of protective coating. A periodic coat of wood water sealant will help keep moisture out while sealing in natural oils.
In addition, routine painting with an oil-based stain or paint will help waterproof a wood structure without allowing the natural oils to dry up. Fungus is much less likely to attack coated wood that is in good condition.
If your fence is suffering from rot, you need fence repair done by qualified fence services as soon as possible to prevent the problem from worsening. Determine what type of rot is affecting your structure and take steps to prevent it. Well-maintained fences that are kept clean and dry and have the appropriate paint or sealant applied will retain their beauty and last longer!