An exposed wood fence is prone to damages from moisture and the elements. Every few years you will need to have a wood fence repaired and painted. 

Signs of Damage

Recognizing damage in its beginning phases helps to keep major problems from developing in your fence. Faded paint and discoloration, such as from sprinkler overspray, are often the first signs that damage will soon occur. The paint may also peel or even begin to bubble, especially if moisture has already penetrated into the wood.

Other signs of damage may not be as obvious as the finish on the fence. The bottom of fence boards may become covered in moss or mildew or even begin to crack. Another sign of damage developing is if screws or nails begin to pop out or if gates no longer hang quite right. Cracks and holes are also things to keep an eye out for. 

Basic Repairs

Before painting can commence, any damage must first be repaired. Your painting contractor will typically begin by checking all the screws, nails, and other hardware. They will tighten what is loose and replace anything that is missing. 

The next step is to repair and prep the fence pickets themselves for painting. Loose, flaky paint will be scraped or removed with a pressure washer. The fence may also need to be cleaned to remove any mildew or other stains. Finally, boards will be checked for rot. Rotten boards require replacement while those with small cracks and minor damage can be patched with wood putty. 

Painting and Sealing

The protective coating of paint or sealer is what ensures your wood fence will last a long time. If you like the natural color of the wood, a sealer is a good option. You can even get stain and sealer combinations, which will help deepen the color of an older wood fence so it looks beautiful and new again.

Paint is often the best choice if the fence has become badly discolored over time or developed stains that are harmless but unsightly. You may also prefer color simply for the aesthetics of it. White is a popular color option for a wood fence, but any color of outdoor paint can be used -- including bright, eye-catching colors. A couple of coats will be applied to ensure both even coverage and maximum protection. 

Contact a fence painting contractor for more help and information if your fence is beginning to look a bit aged.