A Basic Guide to DIY Fence Finishes

The ever-changing British weather plays havoc with our gardens; our poor shrubs take a battering from the wind, beloved flowerbeds can dry out in baking hot sun, while relentless rain can quickly turn a lovely lawn to a muddy mess in no time. Your garden fences are not immune to the weather either, so maintenance of your fencing is important to keep it in tip-top condition for years to come.

So what can the weather do to my fence?

Treating your fence and giving it the right finish can feel like a pain in the neck — but without it, rain and frost can penetrate untreated timber, causing rotting and rapid deterioration. A bit of TLC for your fence every couple of years will extend its life and save you loads of money in the long run! The added bonus of that TLC is that your garden will get a facelift in the process.

Choose your treatment

Most modern fence treatments contain water repellent waxes and resins to protect the timber from the worst our weather can throw at it. Here’s our advice on your main treatment options:

Stains – Watery dyes that soak into the wood, they change the colour but leave the grain visible. They’re less upkeep than paints because they don’t chip, but you’ll need to apply the treatment more often.

Paints — Richer in pigments, paints sit on the surface of the wood and act as a barrier. They’re available in a wide range of colours but can be prone to chipping.

• Consider using a special wood preserver to use as an undercoat for added protection.

• If you have a cedar fence and love its natural faded grey hue, choose a clear wood preservative to offer a layer of protection without covering up that great colour.

Choose the right day

It might seem a bit obvious, but you don’t want to be applying your treatment in the rain! Having said that, if you choose a hot sunny day, the treatment can dry out too quickly and look streaky; our advice is to choose a dry day with plenty of cloud, preferably without much too much wind!

Do your prep

You won’t want to be applying your lovely new treatment onto a manky fence; get your best stiff brush and some warm water to clean away any dirt, cobwebs and debris. If it’s already got paint that’s flaking away, a wire brush will take it right off. The best surface for applying new treatment is freshly sanded, so if you’ve got a sander, get ready to dig it out of the shed! Use a damp cloth to get rid of any last bits of dust left behind from sanding. Now you’re good to go!

Give your fence a treat

You’ve got three main ways to apply your chosen treatment:

Brushes — great for fiddly areas and hard to reach places. The job can take a bit longer though!

Rollers — They’ll save time and elbow grease compared to brushes when covering the face of your fence panels.

Spray system — The spray system is worth investing in if you’ve got loads of fencing to cover, as it’ll speed up the process no end.

Some final tips

• Wedge some spare cardboard at the bottom of the fence — it’ll help catch those pesky drips and stop it hitting the soil.

• Remember to cover the tops of posts and panels — those bits are the most exposed to rainwater.

• Treat your fence one section at a time, applying the treatment, following the grain of the wood and working from top to bottom.

• Even with the spray system, you may need a small brush to get into the corners of your fence.

While we sell brushes, rollers and sprayers to help you maintain your fence, we also offer a wide range of timber garden fences, one of which will be right for you when your current one is beyond maintaining. If you’re considering an upgrade, visit https://www.ruby-group.co.uk/collections/fencing