Winter Fence and Gate Maintenance
You can keep your wood or metal fencing in top shape through winter with some simple maintenance. While some of this list is easier to do in fall before the cold winter starts, you can still protect your fencing installation as long as it is completed before severe snow or icing occurs.
1. Trim and Clear
Before the onset of winter weather, clear the fence line of any plant debris. Remove leaf piles, trim large bushes, and cut back tree limbs that might hang down or snap under the weight of snow or ice. Falling branches can come down with a lot of weight, causing significant damage to a fence.
Along with trimming and removing plants from along the fence, pack up any yard tools or other oversized items that might be attached or leaned up against the fence. These objects create snow and ice buildup opportunities and might be hard enough to damage a fence in the wind.
Any damage to a fence’s exterior can quickly escalate as the cold air prevents quick drying in winter. And where moisture lingers, rust and mildew can set in.
Making sure to clear out large bushes and objects means you will be able to access the fence throughout winter to clear snow and ice buildup or do any needed repairs. Proper fence maintenance is simply mitigating rot and rust.
2. Manage Snow
For the same reason you want to get the fence clear of plants and other objects, you will want to make sure to shovel any large snow drifts that do form away from any fence line. Snow doesn’t need to be removed entirely, but large deposits left against a fence can promote warping or mildew formation.
Clear pathways around gates as clear of snow and ice as you can so that movement isn’t restricted.
3. Repair Damage Quickly
If you notice damage to your fence, it is best to address it quickly. For wooden fencing, this could be mildew or warping. In either case, check the area surrounding the problem boards and make sure any of the culprits discussed above are removed to keep the damage from spreading.
A severely warped board will likely need replacement. But most mildewing can be wiped off of a wooden fence with soapy water if caught early enough. If the wood topcoat or stain has failed and weather permits, consider applying a new coat at least to the affected area.
Metal fences hold up better to moisture than their wooden counterparts, but you should still check for wear and tear. If you notice light rust spots on a metal fence, take the time to do an easy spot repair before more significant damage occurs. Scrub the area free of rust with a small wire brush and then apply a new topcoat to the spot to prevent future issues.
While moisture is the most prevalent type of damage, the constant shift of freezing temperatures can cause warping, especially for wooden fence constructions. Keep an eye out for warped boards that are pulling on the fence around them, and look to get them swapped out promptly.
If you notice connectors loosening, retighten them. And watch for fence posts that might become unstable. A loose fence post plus heavy ice or snow might mean the entire section of the fence comes down. So make certain to shore up any issues you notice quickly.
4. Check Gate Mechanisms
Keep any gate hinges properly greased throughout winter for manual or automatic gates to prevent the hinge from freezing. Ensuring the area is clear of snow and debris just like any other part of your fence will prevent damage and keep the gate functioning securely throughout winter.
If you have an electronic gate, make sure to run it after a snow or ice event to ensure the water has not entered the assembly and caused freeze damage to any components. Heaters are also an option for gate operators to prevent seizing if the temperature regularly goes below freezing.
Asheville Fence Repair
If you notice damage to your fence or gate this winter and aren’t sure if it needs repair or replacement, and you live in the area of western North Carolina, contact Asheville Fence to receive a free estimate.
No matter how big or small, our experts can help determine the best course of action across any fence or gate installation type. We will help figure out the best course of action for your particular situation.