Natural wood fences can be a beautiful addition to a country home. However, you may soon realize that you have chosen the wrong wood to construct your fence as rot and other types of damage seem to crop up all along the exterior. This can lead to the need for an expensive replacement. Pests like termites may also be drawn to your home. To avoid these sorts of issues, choose the right type of wood as you initially build the fence. Keep reading to learn about some tips to help you with this.
Pick Out The Right Grade
Wood planks come in different types of grades. These grades will tell you how many defects are likely to be seen across the beams you purchase. For the best quality, make sure to find wood that is marked as either select or first and second grade. Wood at your local hardware store or mill will be separated by grade in most cases and stamps will be used to label the grade type. Abbreviations like FAS, SEL, #1 COM, and #2 COM will be stamped on the end of the wood. Look for FAS or SEL since these abbreviations stand for first and second and select grade. You will want to make sure that the mark indicates that the wood has a low water count as well. Look for an MC mark with a 15 after it. This type of wood will have water content around 15%. Wood can warp and crack as it dries out. If the wood is already dry with a low amount of water, then it is far less likely to crack as it ages.
Once you find the right grade of wood, you should inspect each beam or plank to make sure that imperfections are not large or intrusive. Knots are acceptable as long as they are small. Small knots are about the size of a dime or smaller. A knot in a piece of wood shows where a dead limb has fallen off a tree. The knot is a concentrated area of dead tissue. Healthy tree tissues surround the knot as the tree grows. The knot is a weakness in the wood, but small ones are not a structural concern when it comes to building a fence, especially if a good deal of healthy tissue surrounds it.
Cracks should be considered as well and you should avoid any piece of wood that is cracked in the middle of the lumber. The crack will spread over time and reduce the strength of your fence.
Choose Insect Resistant Woods
Once you understand the grade of wood that is best, you will need to consider the type of wood that you desire. For natural fences, wood that is resistant to rot and insect attacks is best. There are two common types of wood that you should pick, and these include cypress and cedar. Both of these types of wood contain natural oils that repel insects and keep the wood tissues from absorbing water that can lead to rot.
You should understand that the aging process can cause the wood to turn gray over time though. If this is a concern and you want to retain the color of your fence, then you will need to spray a clear sealer across the wood every few years. Choose a product with a UV protectant for the best results. Most of these sealers are oil-based varieties that are waterproof. While a cypress or cedar fence will not need the extra protection against water, the sealant will help to hold the natural oils in the wood. This will help to keep the wood supple and healthy for many years.
If you want to try your hand at building your own natural wood fence, then you will need to pick your wood carefully. Make sure the grade is ideal and the wood is able to resist rot and insect attacks. Fore more information, contact a company like http://www.phoenixfence.com.