How Many Years Do Wood Fences Last?

During periods of time when we spend longer stretches at home (the best example of which may be most recently when folks have not had a choice but to spend longer stretches at home!), we obviously have a higher tendency to notice “things”.

Particularly if the weather is nice, we may be working in the yard and subsequently just happen to catch specific “things” that we may not have noticed if we were caught up in the typical hustle and bustle of what, until as of late, would have been considered our normal, busy lives.

By being forced to press the pause button on our usual routines, situations that may have gone unnoticed before are suddenly brought to the forefront.

Once discovered, it is often tough to shake them from our heads.


I have often said to Clients,

if you stare at something long enough, you can make the case in your mind that “something” should be done to it.




Whether it is rotten wood or the paint job on your house, when more time is spent at home, there is a greater chance for something to be added to the “to do” list that was not thought of before.

Sometimes it is not staying at home more, sometimes the weather forces our hand, grabs our attention and forces us to pay attention to things that may not have been seen before (such as the wind causing accelerated damage to something that was hanging on by a thread to begin with).






Sometimes it is a combination of both of these circumstances.



This past week I had this exact type of scenario happen to a Client of ours.

She had been at her house more than usual as her job had asked her to work from her home.

While working from home, there was a day that was quite windy and caused a branch to fall in her yard.

The branch hit her wood fence and knocked two sections of it down.



The fence had been aging for some time and as our Client went about her business day in and day out,

she never really noticed how old it was getting until the branch fell, called her attention to the fence,

and she then, while looking at it, realized how old it had gotten.


She reached out to us to help her out and a question was raised, similar to what many Clients have asked us in the past,

“How many years do wood fences last?”


The answer, as with many home improvement items, is it depends how well it is maintained.



Wood fences tend to be structures that, once erected, are often seldom thought of again until the years pass by and for some reason, as in the case of our Client, their age is at an advanced place where they are rotted to the point where it does not take much for them to fall down.


So then, what is the best way to make sure your wood fence lasts as long as possible?

My favorite way of preserving wood fences to maximize their lifetime is a pretty simple process:








This is with the idea that the intent is for the fence to stay natural looking in its appearance.

I would highly discourage folks from applying a solid stain or a paint system to the fence (only because, this will end up being much more involved from a long-term maintenance perspective as the fence ages).

Another decent possibility would be to stain the fence with some type of light-bodied (a product having very little “solids”) wood-toning stain.

Although this process is a bit more involved from a long-term maintenance perspective than applying the clear coat system I had recommended, it is a lot less involved than having to maintain a solid stain or a paint system in the long run.

If your wood fence is properly cared for, it should last indefinitely, really until the portions of the wood posts located underground that the main sections of the fence are attached to gradually wear out.



If the bottoms of the fence posts do rot out, one can often just replace the post and put the fence back together.


If your wood fence is not properly preserved, however, and is just left to age and rot out over time, it may only take a short number of years for the wood fence to get to the point where it needs to be replaced.


As with anything else, the life of your wood fence will be dictated by how much is put into the care and protection of it as it matures.



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