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Does Rainy Season Impact My Fence?

<img src="fencerepairs.png" alt="storm blew over wood fence in Katy TX">
Last Weeks Storm Blew Over this Katy Fence

If you live in a rainy climate such as the greater Houston area then you know rainy and severe storms can cause a variety of damages to your property such as your fence. While more homeowners may consider how there roof or windows hold up during a storm have you considered your fence? In the Houston area most resident's choose to have a wooden privacy fence, we understand that they are beautiful but in our area how a fence is built is a crucial thing to consider. many times when a homeowner is in the market for a new fence for their property or looking to replace an existing fence they collect three bids and go with the fence company in the middle but more important than price in determining which fence company to build your wooden fence is quality. A high quality fence can take a weather beating instead of leaving your fence investment laying over on the ground. If you are in the market to replace your wooden fence take into consideration our climate and follow these tips so your fence stays safer rather its rainy season or dry.

What Can You Do To Ensure Your Fence Can Withstand A Storm?

The greater Houston area receives more than the national average of rain, in fact 20 more inches, almost two feet more and this leave wooden fences prone to wood rot, decay, mold and mildew and our humidity certainly does not help. When heavy rain puddles around the perimeter of your fence the type of lumber used to build your fence, its proximity to the ground, and staining and sealing a fence all play a crucial role in how your fence deals with rainwater and moisture.

When you are collecting bids for your fence one thing you want to ask the fence company is how far off the ground will they install your fence? The correct answer is two inches.

How Much Are Rot Bard and Are They Worth It?

While a fence may be built properly so that it does not touch the ground if you live in a subtropical climate where rain is inevitable if the water rises and connects with your ground your fence is at risk for wood rot. Water is a wood fence worst enemy as pine and pressure treated lumber have a great chance of decaying when your fence panels are constantly moist. When wood is damp often fungi can move in and together take down your pressure treated wood fence, literally. One way to prevent the bottom of your fence from becoming damp and developing wood rot is to have your fence builder install a kicker board also known as rot boards. This will fill in the bottom gap along your wood fence and protect your boards from absorbing rainwater or moisture from the soil. Rot boards are a great investment for area like Houston that have a rainy and a dry season or homeowners whose yards are prone to flooding. Having a rot board installed will cost you around $3.00 to $5.00 per linear foot this includes the cost of the material and labor. To install rot board along a typical 140 foot fence will cost you $420.00 to $700.00. This is a lot cheaper than having to deal with constant fence repairs due to rotted boards that need to be replaced or worse having to replace a fence section or panels due to wood rot.

Choosing The Right Wood Fence For Rainy Climates

Deciding what materials to have your fence contractor use can make or break your fence in severe weather. Cedar fences are the best wood fences for fence paneling, but what about your post which sits in the ground? Many homeowners do not put as much consideration into their post as they do their wood pickets. While a beautiful fence will increase your property value and your viewing pleasure the cornerstone or foundation of a fence is your post. The post of your fence is what supports the weight of your fence and after severe storms is the most likely fence repair Katy homeowners call us for.

after a severe rain or windstorm has blown through Fort bend County There are two types of fence post your wood fence has :

Corner Post: This is one of the most critical parts to a wooden fence, while a few lines post can fail during a heavy rainstorm without bringing down your fence if your corner post are improperly installing when the wind come the fence will fall and down your investment will go right along with it. The proper way to brace a fence is to install the corner post deeper into the soil and don’t allow your fence company installing your new wooden fence to sink your corner post in gravel or insufficient concrete or you may need to rebuild your fence prematurely. We cannot express enough if you are having a wooden fence installed anywhere in greater Houston NEVER underestimate the overall durability of your wooden fence corner post. During storms, its often why one neighbors fence is standing and the other fence is leaning or knocked over.

Line Post: The purpose of your line or inline fence post is to support the fence from sagging, fences are heavy, in fact one of the reasons cedar wood fence is superior to pine wood fences is they are lighter weight. If you are having a 6-foot fence wooden fence installed your lie post need to be 3” taller than the fence they are supporting as they must be sank 2 ½ feet into concrete to provide superior support. However, your fence builder needs to make sure they are not nailing completely into the post, in fact a great fence builder will not use nails but screws. The reason you don’t want to drive screws completely into the line post is with Houston humidity and constant weather changes the fence will need to expand and contrast if the fence can’t move as the weather changes, you’re going to have to deal with fence repairs to fix cracked and broken boards.

How to Protect A Residential Wood Fence From Rain?

One of the best ways to ensure your fence last as long as possible and can withstand our weather is to build your fence using the right lumber. Most wooden fences are either cedar or pine but not all pine trees are the same. At Emerson Exterior Home Enhancements, Katy TX premier fence builder we only use southern yellow pine wood. This lumber is incredibly solid and affordable. It can also last years when placed in soil which is why we prefer to use this wood for sturdy fence post. While yellow pine is susceptible to bowing and twisting if the fence company you hire properly sets the post this will prevent this from incurring when the wood expands and contrast due to humidity. Any fence builder in Katy who tries to sell you a traditional pine fence you may want to avoid unless you are looking for a quick fix so you can sale your property and leave the headache of having to replace the fence in 5 to 7 years to someone else, and for the little additional price be a friendly neighbor and don’t install a pine fence.

Pressure Treated vs Traditional Pine Fences? Which Is Best For Rainy Climates?

When a fence post or board has been pressure treated this means the pine wood has gone through a chemically treated process. A machine will take the pine wood and pierce the wood with hundreds of tiny little incisions so the chemicals can seep into the wood, then the pine wood is sealed up into a chamber to remove air from the wood and the pressure drives the chemicals deeper inside the wood to prevent mold, mildew, and insects from attacking your fence. Another step wood can take is during the drying of the chemicals the wood can be Kline dried, while it’s a little more costly than pressure treated wood that is dried naturally Kline dried pressure treated wood makes it even more compatible to cedar wood but for only a fraction of the price. Kline dried after treatment for pressure treated wood will drastically reduce decay, shrinking and warping making this wood able to endure a weather beating. In addition, while pressure treated wood does not take wood sealing or painting and it doesn’t look very pretty either our fence company in Katy TX only installs Kline dried after treated wood because these fences are more aesthetically appealing and able to absorb wood staining and sealing better so that when it rains you don’t have to worry about your fence getting soaked. There are two types of sealers, one goes on clean and the other has a stain added to it which can make your fence look like the dark rich look of a cedar fence without the expense. We recommend staining and sealing any newly installed pressure treated wooden fence within 4 to 6 weeks after installation so that the wood has sufficient time to weather and cure, every fence needs to have a moisture level of below 12% for the wood sealer to properly soak into the wood keeping your fence safe from rain.

<img src="woodseal.png" alt="before and after stain and seal to wood fence">
Before & After Staining & Sealing Wood Fence

Tips For Protecting Wood Fences from Wood Rot

Many feces are susceptible to wood rot thanks to our famous humid and Wood rot is extremely common thanks to our famous wet and humid climate, which means homeowners in the greater Houston area must be wise when choosing a fence company t install your wooden fence or you are going to have to work harder at maintaining it if you want to get a good return on your fence investment. While we covered pressure treated fences the best wood to prevent moisture absorption and eliminate wood rot is western red cedar. While cedar comes at a higher price tag if you want the best long term value cedar is worth the price. The cost for cedar in 2021 is $17.00 to $20.00 a linear foot before the cost of installation as opposed to $13.00 50 $16.00 a linear foot for pressure treated Kline dried lumber. The cost in 20201 is more due to the lumber shortage for COVID but those prices are like a moving target and are decreasing on a monthly basis as the lumber mills return to “normal”

In addition to choosing pine for our rainy climate here are a few more things you can do for wooden fences in rainy climates

1. Clean Your Fence: Keep the bottom of your fence clean of debris, if you notice leaves, weeds and grass along the bottom are entering the tiny punctures in your fence then spray some round up along the bottom and keep your fence pressure washed to remove any sign of mold spores on the wood.

2. Proper Sloping: Slope footing away from your fence so the top of the concrete doesn’t connect to the wood where it can be soaked up. This will prevent rainwater from pooling near the bottom of your fence.

3. Don’t Prolong Fence Repairs: If fence repairs are needed don’t delay them, what can be as simply as replacing a bard with wood rot can escalate into a larger problem. Mold spreads quickly and must be killed at its root.

4. Inspect your fence: On a quarterly basis, take a walk around the fence to inspect your fence sections taking an extra close look at your post. Corner and line post make direct contact to the soil and are more vulnerable to wood rot when it rains. Again, we can’t express enough how important your corner post is to the entire fence so if you suspect wood rot either replace the post of call a fence repair company. Another thing many Houstonians should elect to do is to install post caps. Due to constant raining the top of the wood post soak up more rainwater than the whole post, it doesn’t matter where the wood rot occurs in the post the mold and mildew will spread leading to fence repairs. Installing post caps on your fence can add years onto the life of your fence and will enhance the overall look of your privacy fence.

5. Kicker Boards: Kicker boards also commonly referred to as rot boards are added 2x 6 or a 2x12 (depending upon your preference) to protect your wood fence panels. After a rain storm in Houston flooding can occur that makes your soil remain damp throughout most of our rainy season. Since the flood waters or wet soil may connect to the bottom of your fence it will aid in your fence becoming damaged from moisture. Another great option especially for commercial wooden fences is to have your fence company construct a concrete gravel board that is durable and rot resistant.

6. Fence Post Location: If you are a novice who is building your own residential fence you want to make sure wherever you dig your post holes are in an area that is less prone to flooding. It only takes 2 to 3 inches of rain per hour to flood a yard and with our poor drainage it can really wreak havoc on your wooden fence. If the area where you are building your fence has a lot of puddles or is muddy after a rain shower then place your fence post 22 ½ inches into the ground and make sure they are stabilized with a full bag of concrete, while some fence companies use sand it will not get as hard as concrete making the post looser over the years. At the customer’s request if you struggle with drainage issues as most do in our area, we can also add gravel at the bottom of the post but this is not necessary, our fence company uses 50 pounds of concrete per fence post so your post are steady and secure to withstand muddier ground conditions when it rains. If you want to learn more visit Lawsons blog

Looking For a Fence Company in Katy?

If you are looking for a fence company who understand how to properly construct a fence for our climate look no further than Emerson Exterior Home Enhancements. Our fence builders have over 20 years of experience building wooden fence and preforming fence repairs due to rain and stormy weather. Emerson Exterior Home Enhancement also offer the longest fence warranties in the greater Houston area ensuring your fence can withstand any weather Mother nature throws our way.

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