The changing of the seasons is a tough time on outdoor metal and wood. Extreme temperature fluctuations can cause the material to expand and contract leaving them weak, damaged or deteriorated over time. Fencing and gates that haven’t been inspected for these impairments can have the potential to not only become an eyesore but jeopardise the safety of your home and belongings.
From the blisteringly hot Australian summer to the extreme wind and rain of winter, seasonal changes and humidity make it imperative to inspect fencing and gates on a regular basis. Opt for a thorough looking over twice a year after the biggest seasonal changes – once at the end of summer and again at the end of winter. Don’t allow your fencing and gates to become run-down or a safety hazard for passers-by and pets. Take the time to inspect them for the following five signs of wear and tear this season:
1. Cracks, rotting and rusting.
After your fencing and gates have been exposed to wet conditions cracks, rotting and rusting can appear. Wood materials are more prone to these issues than others so it can be a wise investment to reconsider the material options.
Moisture is notorious for causing wood rot from the inside and can cause metal to become more fragile over time too. If you love the natural appeal of wood, smartwood can be a great alternative. Whilst it offers the same look to wood, it’s made from coated aluminium so the durability is heightened and less maintenance is required.
2. Gaps and widening between posts.
As cooler months’ cause fencing slats and posts to contract, the summer heat will force them to expand; leaving new or growing gaps. As these variations keep happening, permanent changes to your fencing can be common. There’s also strict regulations with the spacing between fencing posts and whilst these measurements can vary between councils and locations, it can be an issue if the gaps have changed significantly.
As the width between posts worsens, the effectiveness of your fence can be dramatically reduced. From privacy problems and security issues, aluminium and timber fencing can be left weakened and prone to giving way under pressure. For safety considerations and in keeping with your council's regulations, you’ll want to have these corrected as soon as possible.
3. Corroding metal parts.
Even if you have an all-wood fence, corrosion can still occur. Metal locks, hinges, screws and clasps will all weaken with seasonal weather changes and can cause gates to literally fall apart at the seams if left untreated. This will cause the gate to become misaligned with the fence making it easier for intruders to break in or for further damage to occur.
Especially in the gate, metal hinges, screws and clasps are the core detail of its functionality. If these key parts aren’t treated accordingly for changing weather conditions, they will be prone to rust and corrosion causing them to weaken and stiffen easily. Inspect fencing bars for breaks, bends and corrosion too, which can be common in low quality steel fencing and gates.
4. Unstable bases.
To keep your fencing and gate in safe and practical working order, the bases need to be stable. But overtime, consistently wet weather can break down the firmness of the soil and fencing posts will lose their stability. Unstable bases can make it easier for intruders to break in or young children and pets to get out.
As the season changes to wet weather, it’s vital to check the strength of your fencing and gate posts. If they aren’t solid standing in the ground, it’s worth arranging a replacement before the extreme wet weather arrives. Make sure to check the soil around the posts too; you want it to be solid and dry rather than wet or sunken in.
5. Protecting your fencing and gates from the elements.
To avoid deterioration in the future, you need to find the right protection for your fencing and gates. Steel and aluminium can have a protective layer of wax applied to the material to prevent rusting and corrosion. Certain paints on steel, aluminium and iron fencing and gates can boost the appeal and stop air oxidation which can cause corrosion. Speak to a professional fencing contractor about which protection solutions are best for your fencing material.
Timber, which is renowned for needing a lot of maintenance during seasonal changes can be replaced with other alternatives like smartwood to protect it from the elements. Ensure all the hardware for your fencing and gates – screws, hinges and nails are protected from rust. Keep up-to-date with any fencing and gate replacements to ensure the safety of your home and family.
This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who writes for Fencemakers – Perth, Western Australia’s complete range of quality fencing and gates installed by skilled fencing contractors. Catch Jayde on Google+.
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