Wood left exposed to the elements will split, warp, and crack, if it is not protected. I have seen pressure treated lumber warp in the short time it took us to go to lunch and back. Because pressure treated lumber is used to build almost all of the fences and decks on the east coast, it is 300 to 500 times more likely to warp because of the chemicals it is saturated with to prevent it from rotting.
The two biggest contributors of warping are sun and rain. Most damage occurs on fences and decks from April to October when days are the longest and the sun is the hottest. Rain causes the lumber to absorb water and the sun causes it to dry out. The result from this is expanding and contracting of the wood. When this happens, the lumber is generally damaged and has to be repaired by rebuilding the warped parts.
Graying, twisting, bowing, cracking, and splitting are all symptoms of damage and exposure.
Most homeowners think that pressure-treated wood is protected from the elements, but they are just misinformed. Pressure-treated wood is treated to prevent against rotting and termite damage (for about 15 years). The wood and treatment does not prevent damage from the effects of weather. Fences and decks that are not protected can look horrendous and cost an significant amount of money to repair. Water sealing your asset can extend the life of a your fence and deck by up to 15 years. Repair costs can sometimes be as much as sealing your asset to begin with. So whether you pay someone to do it, or do it yourself.
When should this work be done?
Homeowners get themselves into trouble when they listen to advice to "wait a weeks or several months so the wood can dry out" before staining. An incredible amount of irreversible damage can occur even in the first few weeks after your fence or deck is built. The BEST water sealers in the industry can be applied the SAME DAY that your deck or fence was installed, however it is recommended to wait a few days, until after the best fence company in Raleigh has finished installing your yard enclosure.
Water sealing will help your investment last years longer. (Notice photographs throughout this website.)
Selecting a water sealer or stain.
OK. Your new fence is installed and ready to be sealed. What sealer do you select? How much should you spend for a quality product?
Prices vary, but the best rule of thumb is: "You get what you pay for." If you select a product because it is cheap, you will spending much more in the long run when your fence has to be resealed after only a short period of time. If you are going to spend the money, don't you want to not have to worry about it for a long time?.
We prefer to use Behr® brand solid color water sealers. For fences, they have a 15-30 year lifetime warranty on their solid colors and 7-8 year warranty on their semi-transparent colors, which are a customer favorite. This acrylic latex based sealer is the highest quality product money can purchase. A gallon costs about $27 with tax. Clear coat protectants only last 1-2 years and are a waste of your money.
- Q: I heard that I should wait weeks or even months before applying protection. Is this true?
- A: No. Some products require the lumber to be exposed for months to dry for optimum penetration, Olympic products can be immediately applied after the fence is up. In my many years of experience, in less than a month of exposure, the wood can crack, warp, bow, and permanent damage can already occur. Therefore, we HIGHLY recommend applying protection as soon as possible to prevent this damage from happening and this extending the life of your asset.