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Residential & Commercial

Fence Maintenance in the Chicago Area Ensuring Longevity and Aesthetic Appeal

Published on November 9th, 2023

Chicago’s unique climate, characterized by its windy conditions, snowy winters, and humid summers, demands diligent care for outdoor structures, particularly fences. Proper fence maintenance is crucial to withstand the extreme weather and keep your property looking its best. In this article, we’ll guide you through the necessary steps to maintain your fence, thereby ensuring its longevity and aesthetic appeal.

Understanding Your Fence Material

First, it’s important to identify the material of your fence since each requires specific care:

  • Wooden Fences: Common in the Chicago area for their natural look and privacy, but susceptible to rot, insects, and weather damage.

  • Vinyl Fences: Known for their durability and ease of maintenance but can become brittle in cold weather.

  • Metal Fences: Including aluminum and wrought iron, they are durable and provide a classic appearance but can be prone to rust.

  • Composite Fences: Made from a blend of wood and plastic, this type of fence offers the appearance of wood with less maintenance but can be susceptible to molding and staining.

Routine Inspection and Cleaning

No matter the material, start with a routine inspection at least twice a year. Check for signs of damage such as cracks, loose fence posts, and signs of rust or rot. Addressing these issues early can prevent more significant problems down the line.

For cleaning, most fences will benefit from a gentle wash with a garden hose to remove dirt and debris. For stubborn stains, a mild detergent and a soft brush can be used. Wood fences might require pressure washing every few years, but this should be done with caution to avoid damaging the wood.

Wood Fence Care

For wood fences, even those that are pressure treated, staining or sealing is a must to protect against moisture and UV rays. This should be done every 2-3 years. Choose a high-quality product designed for exterior use and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

Vinyl and Composite Fence Care

Vinyl and composite fences usually only need routine cleaning. However, be vigilant about mold and mildew, especially in shaded areas. These can be cleaned with specialized cleaners that won’t damage the material’s surface.

Metal Fence Maintenance

Metal fences, including aluminum fencing, should be inspected for rust. Treat any spots with a rust-inhibiting primer and touch-up paint. If you have an iron fence, consider applying a protective wax coating once a year to fend off rust.

Addressing the Harsh Chicago Weather

Chicago’s weather can be tough on fences. To prepare for winter, ensure that your fence is clean and any needed repairs are done before the first freeze. If snow accumulates against your fence, clear it to prevent moisture damage.

Landscaping Considerations

Be mindful of landscaping around your fence. Overhanging branches should be trimmed back to prevent damage from falling limbs, and climbing plants should be avoided on wood fences as they can trap moisture and accelerate rot.

Professional Help

While routine maintenance can be done by most homeowners, there may be times when professional help is required, especially for more significant repairs or when dealing with specialized materials.

In Conclusion

A well-maintained fence is not only vital for the security and privacy of your home but also contributes to its curb appeal. Regular inspections, cleaning, and preventive care are essential to prolong the life of your fence in the challenging Chicago climate.

Nevertheless, despite the best maintenance, the time will come when your fence will reach the end of its lifespan. When that happens, it’s crucial to choose a trusted fence contractor for replacement. An experienced contractor will provide quality materials and craftsmanship, ensuring your new fence stands up to the elements and continues to enhance the beauty of your property for years to come.

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