If you haven’t noticed, it’s hot. I only mention the weather as it contributes mightily to how your cedar fence will fare. This includes heat, sun, rain and even man-made “weather” such as watering your lawn or using pool chemicals. Proper care can keep the wood looking new for many years. And because cedar cannot be treated, it can also save you from having to make costly repairs, as untreated wood suffers more damage from the elements.
To keep you cedar fence looking its best, here are some handy tips:
- Don’t use lawn/pool chemicals or sprinklers near your cedar fence. While cedar is naturally water resistant, it is not waterproof. Constant exposure to chemicals and water can shorten its lifespan.
- You never want to use Clear Water Sealer or anything clear on Cedar. You want to use a high-quality Teak oil. If you are going to oil the wood you should have planed the wood before installing the pickets. (According to Kevin O’Connor from “This Old House”). However, there are many sites explaining how to apply clear sealant. BUT, transparent, non-flexible, film-forming finishes such as lacquer, shellac, urethane, and varnish are not recommended for exterior use on cedar. Ultraviolet radiation will penetrate the transparent film (even with UV inhibitors) and degrade the wood surface. No matter how many coats you apply, the finish will eventually become brittle, then crack and blister – and will ultimately fail. If you do decide to apply a polyurethane, or similar, transparent finish – don’t say we didn’t warn you.
- It is possible to “freshen” the look of cedar that has gone gray. First, spray the fence with a power washer with a pressure of 1,500 to 2,000 pounds per square inch. This level of pressure should not damage the wood. Keep the nozzle 18 inches from the fence surface and move the spray evenly over the fence. Do not linger too long in one area. The outer gray layers will wash off, exposing the redwood underneath. Wear old clothing and eye protection as the spray will bounce off the fence back toward you. Next, Combine 3 quarts of warm water and 1 quart of oxygen bleach in a bucket. Spray the solution on the fence with a garden sprayer, allowing it to sit for 10 minutes. Scrub the fence with a scrub brush to remove mildew and dirt. Rinse the fence with clean water when you are finished. Do the fence in sections to keep the oxygen bleach solution from drying before you scrub. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands. Wash the fence each year in spring or early summer.
- And lastly, don’t forget the structural aspects of your fence. Every 6 months, be sure to inspect the fence for loose sections. Tighten or replace any loose or missing screws or nails.