Considering that the National Weather Service has predicted another wet, cold La Nina weather pattern for the next six months, it’s especially important right now to examine and maintain your wood deck and fence materials. Portland always sees drizzly winter weather, but the La Nina cycle means we’ll be seeing even more precipitation than we’re used to here in the Pacific Northwest. Even in years with typical moisture levels, property owners should check their fences to make sure they’re protected for winter.
What makes wood-based Portland fencing materials vulnerable to winter rain and snow? Well, when moisture seeps into wood fiber, it naturally expands and contracts with the external temperature. This is a vital characteristic for standing trees – after all, living things need to be able to adapt to surrounding weather conditions. However, when waterlogged cedar fence materials expand and contract, warping, splintering and cracking can occur.
Staining regularly will help protect your fence materials. Portland residents can appreciate anything that keeps out the damp, and this is just what staining your fence will do: It creates a seal against moisture. Of course, fence stain must be applied consistently in order to keep out water for the long-term.
You’ll know it’s time to clean your cedar fence materials and reapply stain if the following warning signs are in place:
1. Cracked, warped boards and raised nail heads.
If the boards of your cedar fence are warped or cracked, water has already penetrated them. Depending on the extent of damage, you may need to replace some fence materials. Portland being located in the wooded Pacific Northwest wonderland, it’s fairly easy to source replacement cedar fence materials.
2. Graying and fading.
Oxidization causes lumber to turn gray, and UV rays can cause Portland fencing materials to fade. Faded, graying cedar fence materials should be cleaned and stained before wet weather arrives.
3. Mold, mildew and algae.
The presence of minute plant life is a sure sign your fence needs to be re-stained. Algae, mildew and mold require water to thrive, so if they are growing on your fence materials, Portland residents, it is definitely time to perform some maintenance. You will need to apply a specially made wood cleaner and let all cedar fence materials dry completely before applying a stain.
Ultimately, Portland fencing materials that are left to warp, crack and grow mold or mildew will be weakened. If you never re-stain your fence, it will eventually fall down. So, if you’re hoping that your cedar fence materials will last for another decade or two, you will definitely need to reapply stain consistently.