someone using a brush to apply paint or stain to a fence

Garden fencing is a big investment and one that should last you for years. However, this isn’t something that will happen by itself. To enjoy an effective and attractive fence run over the long-term, you’ll need to invest a little bit of extra thought, time and money into keeping it that way.

Here, we explain how to care for different types of fence panel, why certain fencing accessories can prolong a fence’s lifespan, and what simple decisions you can make to prevent your new garden boundary being damaged by the weather.

How to Maintain Different Types of Fence Panel

an infographic showing the dip treatment and pressure treatment processesAll good-quality fencing should have been protected against rot and fungal decay before you buy it. This will have involved either a dip-treatment or pressure-treatment process.

As the name suggests, dip treatment involves dipping the fence panels and posts into a wood preservative, removing them, and then allowing time for the liquid to absorb into the wood.

Pressure-treated fence panels and posts are placed inside a chamber and have wood preservative forced deep inside them under hydraulic pressure. This provides them with even better protection.

As dip-treated fencing requires greater maintenance, let’s examine it first.

Maintaining Dip-Treated Fencing

Fence & Shed Treatment 5ltr Harvest GoldDip-treated panels and fence posts require retreating on an annual basis. This means you’ll need to coat them in a high-quality wood preservative.

Follow these 6 simple steps:

1. Clear away any debris, such as cobwebs, algae and moss with a stiff, dry brush.

2. Calculate the area to be treated by multiplying the size of the panel by the number of them in your fence run. Repeat this process for the posts. Add the two figures together.

3. On the tub or tin of preservative, the manufacturer shows the coverage area. Divide the total area to be treated (panels + posts) by this figure to see how many tubs or tins of preservative you require.

Buy an extra one, just in case.

4. Always purchase a high-quality, brand-name wood preservative.

Do not deviate from the application instructions on the tub or tin.

5. Use a variety of brush sizes: larger ones for the main body of the wood, smaller ones to get in between the gaps.

6. Pick a dry day to carry out the work.

The overwhelming majority of our dip-treated fence panels and posts are guaranteed against rot and fungal decay for 10 years, as long as you follow this advice.

Maintaining Pressure-Treated Fencing

Forest 6' x 6' Pressure Treated Vertical Tongue and Groove Fence PanelThis is not a sales pitch; it’s a simple fact: if you purchase pressure-treated panels and posts from most fencing suppliers, you will have to retreat them as you would dip-treated panels and posts.

Buy Sheds Direct’s fencing is different.

Almost all of our pressure-treated fence panels and posts come with a 15-year anti-rot guarantee, with no retreatment required, saving you time and money by prolonging the life of your fence run.

What About Paint?

a brightly-painted fencePaint protects wood against rot and fungal decay too, so offers you an alternative solution to preservative.

It is easy to apply with a brush or roller and will sit on the wood to provide extremely effective protection against whatever nature throws at it. What’s more, litre for litre, paint covers a greater surface area than stain. However, the downside is that it can sometimes crack.

As there are so many colours available, using paint also allows you to create a unique style of garden boundary.

One important thing to remember, though: if you decide to paint new pressure-treated fencing (which, of course, would only be done for aesthetic purposes if you buy from us), allow six months for the excess treatment to disappear before starting the job.

Spraying Fence Treatment and Paint

Some people favour spraying the treatment or paint onto the panels and posts, rather than applying it with a brush. If using this method, only use a sprayer designed for the job, as wood preservative and paint can clog up ordinary garden sprayers. Also, have plenty of cardboard handy to protect the surrounding area.

Why Fence Accessories Protect Fencing

Some fence accessories can protect your fence run. Here’s how:

Gravel Boards

Forest 6' x 6" Lightweight Concrete Gravel BoardGravel boards raise the height of the fence panels, protecting them from ground moisture. This prevents rot and fungal decay attacking the bottom of the panels and prolongs the life of your fencing.

Gravel boards should always be made of concrete or pressure-treated wood, otherwise they will be vulnerable to rot, themselves, and completely ineffective over the long run.

Fence Post Caps and Finials

Forest Fence Post Cap 10 x 10cmPost caps protect the tops of wooden fence posts from the weather, along with other factors that cause rot and fungal decay. This means you should always choose ones made from pressure-treated wood.

As healthy fence posts are essential to any fence run, buying post caps is a great way to extend the life of your fencing.

Finials perform the same function but come with more decorative designs.

Learn more about the benefits of buying fence accessories here.

Annual Fence MOTs

a screw being drilled into a fence panelDon’t laugh, if it’s good enough for your car then it’s good enough for your garden fence too.

It’s best to do this job during the autumn to make sure your fence is in tip-top condition before the harsher winter weather sets in. To carry out your fence’s MOT, do the following:

a man assembling a garden fence1. Clear the surrounding area so that you have unimpeded access to the fence. This includes removing and cutting back plants, trees and vegetation that come into contact with the wood.

2. Healthy fence posts are essential to a garden fence. Pay particular attention to the bottoms of them, as this is the area threatened by ground moisture, making it particularly susceptible to rot.

Minor damage to the bottom of a fence post can often be rectified by adding a post spike, but with serious cases of rot or fungal decay, you should buy a new post. 

someone applying stain to a fence with a brush3. As your fence run will be tested over the winter months, make sure the fixings are free from rust and properly attached. If any are damaged or missing, replace them immediately.

4. Naturally, this is also a good time for dip-treated fence panels’ annual retreatment.

Choosing Longer-Lasting Styles of Fencing

If longevity is your main requirement of a fence run, you should narrow down your choice of panels and posts before buying.

Fence Panels

The style of your fencing can have a big impact on its lifespan.

Particularly Robust Fence Panels

Forest 6' x 6' Featheredge Fence PanelCloseboard and feather edge fencing are both excellent choices. The former is constructed from sturdy vertical boards within a heavy-duty framework, while the latter is built from tightly-overlapping vertical boards supported by horizontal battens to the rear of the panel.

Each of these styles of fence panel ooze solidity and should last for years.

Fence Panels for Windy Areas

Forest 5'11 x 5'11 Pressure Treated Contemporary Slatted Fence PanelIn areas prone to strong winds, slatted fence panels, trellis and picket fences are particularly smart selections. As they are all considered decorative, this might surprise you, but the gaps featured in their designs allow the wind to pass through the panels, rather than constantly pressing against them.

Discover more reasons to choose these decorative fence panels here.

Also, the taller the fence panel, the greater the potential for wind damage. Shorter fence panels make sound investments if you live in a particularly windy area.

Find out more about the importance of choosing the right size of fence panel here.

Fence Posts

8' x 4" x 3" Forest Lightweight Concrete Fence PostConcrete fence posts are heavier and more robust than wooden ones. Use Postcrete to set them in position and they’ll last a lifetime.

When using wooden fence posts in windy areas, always insert the posts a little deeper into the ground than the standard two feet. Also, use screws rather than nails, as they are easier to tighten if they ever come loose.

Care for Your Fence with Buy Sheds Direct

a spirit level on top of a garden fenceRemember, prevention is always better than the cure. If you want a longer-lasting fence run then shop with Buy Sheds Direct for all things fencing. We only stock the highest-quality fence panels, posts, gravel boards and fence accessories amongst our superb range of garden fencing.

What’s more, our UK-based fence experts are always on hand to advise you on fencing-related matters.