Pre-Winter Wood Fence Maintenance


There are few things that are as damaging as winter to structures around your home. Apart from your pavement, the fence is the most vulnerable structure that needs to withstand the winter onslaught. You can search for a “fencing company near me” and hire professionals to repair or rebuild your fence. However, pre-winter wood fence maintenance can help you avoid expensive repairs. Let’s check out how you can do that.

The Maintenance

1. Trim grass around the fence 

During the winter season, your wooden fence’s quickest path to ruin is to become saturated with water. To extend the life of your fence, you need to keep it away from as much water as possible. When snow falls on your property it melts as the sun rises higher. The water then seeps into the ground and is retained by grass. Think of your lawn as a standing water container.

Standing water is bad for many reasons. It can cause a mold problem and if it’s near the fence, it can damage the foundation of fence posts. That’s why it’s best to trim the grass around your fence and reduce standing water as much as possible. This decreases the amount of water that can saturate the fence and keeps it strong for a few more years.

2. Make sure that the fence is stable

If you thought heavy rainfall was the prime nemesis of your wood fence, think again. Winter brings no positives for the wood fence. Only bad things can happen to your wood fence during winter. One of the consistent problems brought by winter is shifting ground that can destabilize your fence and bring it down.

Since your fence is guaranteed to shift during the winter season, it’s important to strengthen its stability before the winter season hits you. If you find your fence already tilting or shifting, it will definitely come down after the temperature dives down. Check the fence posts and fence rails and make sure that the fence is very stable. That way you can offset the shifting ground and other ill effects of winter.

3. Chop down overhanging limbs

When winter sets in and the cold weather comes rushing with all its fury, trees with weak limbs and branches would get weaker and branches may break off. The cold temperature makes dead, rotten, and hollow tree limbs weaker and brittle and a strong wind can worsen cracks to bring down the limb. If you have such tree limbs hanging over the wood fence, it will do irreparable damage to your fence.

To ensure the protection of your fence, inspect tree limbs hanging over the wood fence. If the limbs are visibly dead or weak, chop them down carefully with the help of a professional so that it doesn’t fall on your fence. The same thing needs to happen even if the limbs are healthy, but heavy and are hanging over your fence. Heavy limbs are more susceptible to damage due to harsh and cold winds.

4. Don’t allow leaves and other organic debris to pile around the fence 

You may have some leftover dead leaves from the fall season. You may be feeling too tired to dispose of or compost them properly and are tempted to simply brush them to the edge of your fence. Even if you dispose of them properly, a lot of dead leaves and other such organic and dry debris may make their way to the edge of the fence due to the wind.

These dry and organic debris and leaves would become a disaster when winter sets in. These leaves and other debris lock in moisture around the fence. They can saturate the fence with more water which could cause the wood to warp or the hardware to rust. Otherwise, they may invite all kinds of critters that could infect the wooden fence. That’s why you need to be vigilant and make sure that there are no leaves around your fence before winter.

5. Complete fence repairs

The winter months can be brutal and can turn minor fence damage into something big and irreparable. Apart from the visible part of the fence, the foundation of fence posts needs even more attention. If they have cracks and are weakened to a great degree, they won’t be able to tolerate the drastic expansion and contraction during the winter season.

That’s why you should start inspecting your fence before the winter sets in. Identify the weak spots and minor damages and repair them. Repairing your fence during the winter is going to be very expensive or impossible.

6. Don’t hang things on your fence

If you have privacy fences or other such tall and strong fences on your property, you may be tempted to hang things on the fence. Your fence isn’t a long wall. Privacy fences and other tall fences may be strong enough to withstand the weight of items like sleds, ladders, toys, and other such tools and accessories, but they become a bane during the winter. Those items would collect snow and ice and even if the fence isn’t weakened by the excess weight, the wood will be damaged due to water saturation.

7. Waterproof your fence

To make your fence stand up to rain, snow, salt, dirt, and everything in between, make sure to waterproof it properly. The best way to do that is with the use of waterproof paint, stain, or sealant. Choose the right stain or paint and waterproof the fence with at least two coats before the frost line hits. After that, make sure to use a good sealant that protects the paint or stain and helps your fence brave through the winter season.


Winter brings cold and dry winds, piles of snow, moisture buildup, and much more. Your fence needs to be strong and prepared for the winter season to last longer and help you avoid costly repairs. You can also search for a “fencing company near me” and hire professional help before the winter sets in.

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