Still on the fence about wood? Following are four things you need to know about selecting and maintaining a beautiful wooden fence.

Choose Your Wood Wisely

All wood is not created equal when it comes to durability and attractiveness, so be sure to choose the wood for your fence carefully. The most durable type of wood is high-grade redwood, but it's also beyond many people's budgets.

Cedar and cypress are good choices because both types of wood have rot-resistant properties. making them good choices for areas that experience significant precipitation or atmospheric humidity. Cedar contains aromatic oils that act as insect and fungal repellents, while cypress has a compound called cypretine that does the same thing. Of the two, cypress tends to be the more expensive, so you might want to consider cedar if you're working with a budget.

Other types of wood often used in fencing are spruce, pine, and fir. All of these woods come with a lower price tag than the ones mentioned above. These are acceptable choices, although you may not get the longevity with these woods that you'd have with redwood, cedar, or cypress. If you decide on using one of these woods, make sure you get the kind that has been treated with insecticidal preservatives in order to minimize potential problems caused by bugs.

As far as the grade of wood is concerned, try to go for construction, select, or premium grade wood. Many people believe that they can get away with using woods of a lower quality for their fencing needs, but doing so will mean that you'll sacrifice durability, longevity, and perhaps even appearance. Get the best you can afford.

Keep Your Fence as Dry as Possible

Limit the use of irrigation near your wooden fence—keep in mind that water causes wood to rot. Instead of overhead sprinklers, install a drip irrigation system to keep plants around your fence watered while the fence stays dry. Even if you've applied a waterproof sealer, it's still best to try to keep your fence as dry as possible—it will receive plenty of exposure to water as a result of precipitation.  

Also, if you can at all avoid it, don't site your fence in a low-lying area that receives a great deal of runoff. This condition may cause even the toughest wood to rot well before its time, especially if you live in a region that gets lots of rain and snow.

Keep Weeds Down

Not only does a fence with lots of weeds surrounding it look unkempt and unattractive, but it may experience damage as a result. Some plants carry compounds in their leaves, stems, and flowers that may cause wood to become discolored or even weakened as a result of surface contact.

Weeds also attract insect pests to the area, and even resilient wood and wood that's been treated with insecticides can be damaged by insects in large numbers. Furthermore, weedy patches prohibit air circulation, which may cause conditions that allow mold and mildew colonies to thrive. In dry areas, they may become a fire hazard.

Keep Kids Off the Fence

A nice wooden fence may seem like an irresistible play structure, but make a hard-and-fast rule against kids crawling on or otherwise using your fence for play purposes. Your fence will be damaged if it's used for a play structure on a regular basis, and you also run the risk of being sued if a neighborhood child becomes injured while playing on your fence.

Please feel free to contact a local fencing company like F & W Fence Company, Inc. for more assistance deciding on the right type of fence for your needs and how to ensure that it lasts for a long time.